Half life and radioactive dating
By evaluating the number of parent and daughter isotopes of an element that are present in an artifact, and by relating that number to the known half-life of the isotope, scientists can date the object.
Students often learn about radiocarbon dating, a form of radiometric dating based on the presence of carbon-14, which has a known rate of decay (or half-life).
Students will need a 100 'marked' dice (a piece of tape on one side of each) to conduct the "How Old Is That Rock?
Roll the Dice & Use Radiometric Dating to Find Out" hands-on geology project.
See the background information on Students will use half-life properties of isotopes to determine the age of different "rocks" and "fossils" made out of bags of beads.Before class begins, prepare five bags filled with about 100 beads each.For each bag, count a specific number of "parent isotope" beads of one color and "daughter isotope" beads of another color.What scale can we use to help evaluate an object's timeline and history?For geologists, paleontologists, archaeologists, and anthropologists, objects of study are often talked about in terms of thousands, millions, or even billions and positioned within the geological timescale of Earth.