How carbon dating works for kids
In this interactive, learn how radiocarbon dating works, what it takes to determine a date in the lab, and why it's challenging to pinpoint a date precisely.
This lesson is the third in a three-part series about the nucleus, isotopes, and radioactive decay.
Atoms may stick together in well-defined molecules or they could be packed together in large arrays.
For students, understanding the general architecture of the atom and the roles played by the main constituents of the atom in determining the properties of materials now becomes relevant.
By measuring how much carbon is left in a sample as well as its radioactivity, we can calculate when the organism died. In this activity, you will work backwards to solve a puzzle, much like scientists work backwards to find the time that an organism died." Procedure Give each student a copy of The Case of the Melting Ice student sheet.
You may group them in any size group, but working in pairs is optimal for this exercise.
The element carbon is an essential element in all living matter.
Carbon-14 is produced constantly as our atmosphere is bombarded by cosmic rays.
Be sure to include how radiocarbon dating works backwards to solve a puzzle.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.The first lesson, Isotopes of Pennies, deals with isotopes and atomic mass.The second lesson, Radioactive Decay: A Sweet Simulation of Half-life, introduces the idea of half-life.
It is incorporated into the carbon cycle, so that all living things, including you, contain radioactive carbon-14.