Radiometric dating activity pennies

29 Dec

After the first 27 minute, we would find that we were left with some bismuth 214 as well as lead-214.

In this science project, each coin represents an atom.

In talking about problems like population growth, we needed to learn about the exponential function.

This function is useful for describing many very different observations in science.

the chance that an atom will decay in the next second is unaffected by the fact that it did not decay a second ago.

Clearly the number of atoms decaying in one second depends on the number of atoms you start with, but the chance of any individual atom decaying in a given time period is always the same.

Before working on this lesson, students should be familiar with the periodic table and should have had some basic instruction in the following concepts: isotopes, mass number, and atomic number.

Students should be able to describe an atom and its basic structure.

For example, were we to examine lead-214, we would find a half life of 27 minutes.

Students will use their graph (or a class data set graph) to calculate the age of some hypothetical unknowns to develop a better understanding of how rocks are dated using absolute age dating methods. In relative dating, the position of a fossil or the layer in rock in which a fossil occurs is determined to be relatively older or younger than another layer by its position.

Materials How can scientists tell the age of a fossil? In any stacking of undisturbed, horizontally bedded sedimentary rock units, the oldest strata are at the bottom of the stack and the youngest are at the top of the stack.

On the information level, the student will be using concrete, hands on model to demonstrate the meaning of half –life in the process of radioactive decay.

The chances that a single atom of uranium -238 will decay during a one minute period are indeed very low.