Radioactive dating practice worksheet

Carbon is naturally in all living organisms and is replenished in the tissues by eating other organisms or by breathing air that contains carbon.At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.Most people today think that geologists have proven the earth and its rocks to be billions of years old by their use of the radioactive dating methods. Given so much time, the ‘impossible’ becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain.Ages of many millions of years for rocks and fossils are glibly presented as fact in many textbooks, the popular media, and museums. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles.”1 Yet few people seem to know how these radiometric dating methods work.Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.

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This half life is a relatively small number, which means that carbon 14 dating is not particularly helpful for very recent deaths and deaths more than 50,000 years ago.

This lesson introduces absolute dating and a few ways in which scientists accomplish it.

The majority of the lesson focuses on radiometric dating, including an activity where students date their own "rocks and fossils".

The nucleus contains protons (tiny particles each with a single positive electric charge) and neutrons (particles without any electric charge).

Orbiting around the nucleus are electrons (tiny particles each with a single electric charge).

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