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Class size can vary, but activity should be done in groups of 2-3.Equipment that is necessary is M&Ms-- a lot because each group needs to begin with 100, and a container with a cover for each group.Once all groups data is on the table, you can calculate the average for each run (1-8) and determine a class average.
As far as mastery of content, this activity is done in our rocks and minerals unit.Once this info is calculated, students create a graph comparing the class average of parent isotopes to the number of half-lives. Students will be able to explain what a half-life of a rock is. Students will have a more in-depth understanding of what radioactive decay is. Students will understand how scientists use half-lives to date the age of rocks. Students then should be able to see the connection of the M&Ms and radioactive elements in rocks, and how scientists can determine the age of rocks by looking at the amount of radioactive material in the rock.Skills: -critical thinking -data analysis -questioning -graphing and data collecting Vocab Words: 1. This activity can be adapted for older students, but is used in an 8th grade earth science classroom.Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work! This dating method is based upon the decay of radioactive potassium-40 to radioactive argon-40 in minerals and rocks; potassium-40 also decays to calcium-40.