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This activity will help students to have a better understanding of the basic principles used to determine the age of rocks and fossils. It consists of several parts: to have students determine relative age of a geologically complex area, to familiarize students with the concept of half-life in radioactive decay, to have students see that individual runs of statistical processes are less predictable ... Full description.
Grade level: High (9-12)
Resource type: Lab activity
Subject: Geochemistry, Geologic time, Paleontology
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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Misconceptions: Read (1)
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This lesson shows students that age-dating rocks involves counting atoms and comparing the counts. Students use simulated rock samples, which show a highly magnified selection of 128 atoms, each sample with a different proportion of the atoms of two different elements: a parent radioisotope, and its daughter product. By counting the parent radioactive atoms and knowing the half-life of those atoms, ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Lesson plan
Subject: Geologic time
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
Pedagogical help
Misconceptions: Read (1)
Related resources and collections
This resource is included in the following collections:
DLESE Community Collection (DCC)    Browse collection
Pedagogically Annotated Collection     Browse collection
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In this lab activity using M&M candy, students will explore the concepts of radioactive decay and dating. Students generate a radioactive decay table to simplify the math, use their data to plot a decay graph, develop the concept of half-life, and then use the graph to find the age of a mummified seal in Wright Valley, Antarctica. In a follow-up exercise, students will solve a mysterious Arctic ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Lab activity
Subject: Biology, Geologic time
 
Choosing & Using this resource...
Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
Pedagogical help
Misconceptions: Read (1)
Related resources and collections
This resource is included in the following collections:
DLESE Community Collection (DCC)    Browse collection
Pedagogically Annotated Collection     Browse collection