*Statistical probablity is the only thing we can know exactly.*Often students get bogged down in the fact that they don't "understand" how and why radioactive elements decay and miss the whole point of this exercise.

Showing this plot and asking them questions about the shape and changes in number of isotopes through time may help students to develop some intuition about half-life.

Although most introductory students may not be prepared for the equation for exponential decay, discussion of half-life and radioactive decay prepares entry-level students for the introduction of more mathematical discussion of exponential growth and decay in upper level classes.

Those that decay are called radioactive (or parent) isotopes; those that are generated by decay are called radiogenic (or daughter) isotopes.

The unit that we use to measure time is called half-life and it has to do with the time it takes for half of the radioactive isotopes to decay (see below).

The element itself is defined by the atomic number (i.e., the number of protons).

Only certain isotopes are radioactive and not all radioactive isotopes are appropriate for geological applications -- we have to choose wisely.

In order to determine the age of a geologic material, we must understand the concept of half-life. The definition is: the radioactive isotopes in a system.

The units of half-life are always time (seconds, minutes, years, etc.).

If we know the half-life of an isotope (and we can measure it with special equipment), we can use the number of radiogenic isotopes that have been generated in a rock since its formation to determine the age of formation.

Radiometric dating is the method of obtaining a rock's age by measuring the relative abundance of radioactive and radiogenic isotopes.

## Comments Radioactive dating exercises

## BioMath Carbon Dating - The Biology Project - University of Arizona

In this section we will explore the use of carbon dating to determine the age of fossil remains. Carbon is a key element in biologically important molecules.…

## Radiometric Dating Exercise -

RADIOMETRIC DATING EXERCISE. This project will introduce you to radiometric dating. You will be asked to calculate the absolute ages of three different rocks.…

## Frosty the Snowman Meets His Demise An Analogy to Carbon Dating.

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.…

## Radioactive Dating Game - Radiometric Dating Carbon Dating Half.

Understand how decay and half life work to enable radiometric dating. Play a game that tests your ability to match the percentage of the dating element that.…

## Radiometric Dating Read Earth Science CK-12 Foundation

Feb 24, 2012. How scientists can use radioactive decay to find the age of certain materials.…

## Carbon-14 Radioactive Dating Worked Example Doc Physics.

Apr 19, 2013. I'm thinking about getting back into dating. I'm only going to be seeing bits of cloth and broken plates, so there's no need to tell my wife. Besides.…

## ChemTeam Half-life problems involving carbon-14

Problem #1 A chemist determines that a sample of petrified wood has a carbon-14 decay rate of 6.00 counts per minute per gram. What is the age of the piece of.…

## Exercise-1 - Berkeley City College

Chapter 19 Exercises. Exercise #1. Type of Decay Radiation Nuclear Change___ Type of Nuclide. Radioactive materials decay by first-order rate law.…