Activity 8 3 absolute dating of rocks and fossils

Assessment: Have students explain in their own words the concept of half-life in radioactive decay, demonstrate how the rate of radioactive decay and the buildup of the resulting decay product are used in radiometric dating of rocks, and compare and contrast individual statistical data results to the class average of various statistical data results to determine reliability and predictability of the two groups.

Elaboration Have students research a radioactive isotope of their choice and find the following information: Math Connections: During the engagement activity students observe what occurs in a population of M&Ms over time due to random chance.

Therefore, the teacher should state and enforce a no throwing rule of materials.

The small beads and M&Ms could be choking hazards or a projectile hazard.Using a graph that relates percentages of parent isotope levels to number of half-lives students will determine the approximate age of the fossil.Example data set: Potassium-40 = 12 isotopes Argon-40 = 88 isotopes Half-life = 1.25 billion years Answer: Using the graph from the Exploration activity, this radioactive isotope has undergone three half-lives thus making the fossil (1.25 * 3 =) 5.25 billion years old.This lesson is geared to help take the "mystery" out of scientific dating of rocks and fossils.Engagement Have students work in groups of 2-3 per group.

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Go over the "proper use of materials for their intended purpose" policy to remind students of the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviours in class.

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