Animated lesson with interactive activities, simulations and adaptive test introducing We'll also see how carbon dating can be used to date ancient remains. So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages. Radiometric dating, or radioactive dating as it is sometimes called, is a method used to date rocks and. When an element undergoes radioactive decay, it creates radiation and .. determine the age by examining one frame from the animation.

Learn about half-life and how it is used in different dating methods, such as uranium-lead dating and radiocarbon dating, in this video lesson. Radiometric Dating The aging process in human beings is easy to see.

As we age, our hair turns gray, our skin wrinkles and our gait slows. However, rocks and other objects in nature do not give off such obvious clues about how long they have been around.

So, we rely on radiometric dating to calculate their ages. Radiometric dating, or radioactive dating as it is sometimes called, is a method used to date rocks and other objects based on the known decay rate of radioactive isotopes. Different methods of radiometric dating can be used to estimate the age of a variety of natural and even man-made materials.

Radioactive Decay The methods work because radioactive elements are unstable, and they are always trying to move to a more stable state. So, they do this by giving off radiation.

## Radioactive Decay: A Sweet Simulation of a Half-life

This process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by releasing radiation is called radioactive decay. The thing that makes this decay process so valuable for determining the age of an object is that each radioactive isotope decays at its own fixed rate, which is expressed in terms of its half-life. So, if you know the radioactive isotope found in a substance and the isotope's half-life, you can calculate the age of the substance.

Half-Life So, what exactly is this thing called a half-life? Well, a simple explanation is that it is the time required for a quantity to fall to half of its starting value. So, you might say that the 'full-life' of a radioactive isotope ends when it has given off all of its radiation and reaches a point of being non-radioactive.

### Radioactive Decay: A Sweet Simulation of a Half-life - Science NetLinks

When the isotope is halfway to that point, it has reached its half-life. Uranium-Lead Dating There are different methods of radiometric dating that will vary due to the type of material that is being dated. For example, uranium-lead dating can be used to find the age of a uranium-containing mineral. The first lesson, Isotopes of Penniesintroduces the idea of isotopes.

## Radioactive Dating Game

An Analogy to Carbon Datingis based on gathering evidence in the present and extrapolating it to the past. To do this lesson and understand half-life and rates of radioactive decay, students should understand ratios and the multiplication of fractions, and be somewhat comfortable with probability. Games with manipulative or computer simulations should help them in getting the idea of how a constant proportional rate of decay is consistent with declining measures that only gradually approach zero.

**Radioactivity: Expect the unexpected - Steve Weatherall**

The mathematics of inferring backwards from measurements to age is not appropriate for most students. They need only know that such calculations are possible. Benchmarks for Science Literacy, p. The exercise they will go through of predicting and successively counting the number of remaining "mark-side up" candies should help them understand that rates of decay of unstable nuclei can be measured; that the exact time that a certain nucleus will decay cannot be predicted; and that it takes a very large number of nuclei to find the rate of decay.

This lesson can be done in two, minute class periods. An Analogy to Carbon Dating, which can be done while students are flipping their candies. In your planning, be sure to include time at the end of the lesson for students to post their data and share the class data.

Planning Ahead Before the lesson, you will have to weigh out about 80 candies for each group of students. If you count ten and weigh them, then multiply by 8, you will know how many grams of candy to weigh out for each group. Motivation To help students understand the history of radioactivity, have them go to Radioactivity: As students read about these scientists, ask them to think about the following questions: What important discovery was made by Wilhelm Roentgen? What material did Antoine Becquerel work with in his own investigations of X rays?

What did Becquerel discover through his experiments?

What two elements were discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie? Why is Ernest Rutherford considered the father of nuclear physics? List Rutherford's major achievements.

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- Radiometric Dating

Students can supplement this site with a visit to Isotopes Project. Once to that page, students should then go to the Isotope Discovery History, a graph of the number of known isotopes versus the date, and to the Chart of Aristotle and Plato found at the bottom of the pagewhich the site planners cleverly call "the first chart" of isotopes. Radioactive decay, also known as radioactivity, is the spontaneous emission of radiation from the unstable nucleus of an atom.

In your own words, what do we mean by nuclear decay? What do you think is emitted during radioactive decay? Have students go to the Isotopes Project website to look for more information about radioactive decay. Have students look at the Glossary of Nuclear Science Terms for alpha and beta decay. Ask students to explain the terms in their own words. What is the chance of getting heads on any flip?

What do we mean by random? After students have discussed these questions, tell them: