|Frosty the Snowman Meets His Demise: An Analogy to Carbon Dating|
This lesson develops the idea that carbon dating is based on gathering evidence in the present and extrapolating it to the past. Students will use a simple graph to extrapolate data to its starting point. This lesson is the third in a three-part series about the nucleus, isotopes, and radioactive decay. Students will be asked to consider the case of when Frosty the Snowman met his demise (began to melt). The exercise they will go through of working backwards from measurements to age should help them understand how scientists use carbon dating to try to determine the age of fossils and other materials. To be able to do this lesson and understand the idea of half-life, students should understand ratios and the multiplication of fractions, and be somewhat comfortable with probability.
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Copyright AAAS 2002. All rights reserved.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-005-577
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