Radiocarbon dating worksheet

08-Sep-2015 07:38

This lesson is the third in a three-part series about the nucleus, isotopes, and radioactive decay.

The first lesson, Isotopes of Pennies, deals with isotopes and atomic mass.

They should also understand that the atoms of any element are alike but are different from atoms of other elements.

Atoms may stick together in well-defined molecules or they could be packed together in large arrays.

The exercise they will go through of working backwards from measurements to age should help them understand how scientists use carbon dating to try to determine the age of fossils and other materials.

To be able to do this lesson and understand the idea of half-life, students should understand ratios and the multiplication of fractions, and be somewhat comfortable with probability.

The second lesson, Radioactive Decay: A Sweet Simulation of Half-life, introduces the idea of half-life.

Empty the graduated cylinders between classes if the volume is more than about 25 ml."Carbon-14 undergoes beta decay with a half-life of 5720 years.

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