Activity 8 3 absolute dating of rocks and fossils

Using a graph that relates percentages of parent isotope levels to number of half-lives students will determine the approximate age of the fossil.Example data set: Potassium-40 = 12 isotopes Argon-40 = 88 isotopes Half-life = 1.25 billion years Answer: Using the graph from the Exploration activity, this radioactive isotope has undergone three half-lives thus making the fossil (1.25 * 3 =) 5.25 billion years old.Therefore, the teacher should state and enforce a no throwing rule of materials.The M&Ms can be eaten by the students at the end of the activity.This is not to be confused with the statistical probability of the change in the population over time as demonstrated with an individual group's data during the M&Ms activity.Note that the average of all of the groups' data more closely resembles the statistical probability of the change over time not the individual group's data.At the end of the lesson each student will be presented with his/her own fossil.

The amount of each type of bead for each bag is found in the directions on the website. Each team shares their data from the activity worksheets.This lesson is geared to help take the "mystery" out of scientific dating of rocks and fossils.Engagement Have students work in groups of 2-3 per group.Before the lesson, the teacher should copy the data tables found in Figures 2 and 3 (on the website) and paste the tables to a student worksheet so that the students have a place to record their data.On the back of the worksheet the teacher should copy and paste the three after-activity questions found next to Figure 3 on the website.

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