Radioactive carbon dating game
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Students are able to visualize and model what is meant by the half-life of a reaction.To determine the relative age of different rocks, geologists start with the assumption that unless something has happened, in a sequence of sedimentary rock layers, the newer rock layers will be on top of older ones. This rule is common sense, but it serves as a powerful reference point.Geologists draw on it and other basic principles ( to determine the relative ages of rocks or features such as faults.This experiment is best used by student working in pairs.Grade Level: 5-12 grade Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) 3-5ETS1-2, MS-ESS1-4, HS-ESS1-6 Time for Teacher Preparation 40-60 minutes – To gather materials Activity Time: 40-60 minutes (1 Class Period) Materials: Objectives Students try to model radioactive decay by using the scientific thought process of creating a hypothesis, then testing it through inference.It is a great introduction to the scientific process of deducing, forming scientific theories, and communicating with peers.
It is also useful in the mathematics classroom by the process of graphing the data.
Relative age dating also means paying attention to crosscutting relationships.
Say for example that a volcanic dike, or a fault, cuts across several sedimentary layers, or maybe through another volcanic rock type.
In a stratigraphical context objects closer to the surface are more recent in time relative to items deeper in the ground.
Although relative dating can work well in certain areas, several problems arise.
By extension, this experiment is a useful analogy to radioactive decay and carbon dating.