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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.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Lesson plan
Subject:
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geologic time
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright AAAS 2002. All rights reserved.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-005-577
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Change, constancy, and measurement
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
        • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • B - Physical science:
        • Interactions of energy and matter
Related resources:
This resource is referenced by 'Science Netlinks'
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science, Science NetLinks


Publisher: MarcoPolo Education Foundation