Carbon dating science project
A small amount of that carbon is in the form of a radioactive isotope called in the remains of an organism or artifact, plug that value into a generalized equation, and calculate the age of those remains. These and many similar questions can be answered by carbon dating, a method used by archaeologists and other scientists to discover the age of ancient remains and artifacts. All living organisms on this planet are composed partially of carbon.So, objects older than that do not contain enough of the isotope to be dated.Conversely, the method doesn't work on objects that are too young.By extension, this experiment is a useful analogy to radioactive decay and carbon dating.Students use M&M’s (or pennies and puzzle pieces) to demonstrate the idea of radioactive decay.All three isotopes have the same atomic number of 6, but have different numbers of neutrons.
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Seeing this connection will help students to understand how scientists can determine the age of a sample by looking at the amount of radioactive material in the sample.
If two nuclei have different masses, but the same atomic number, those nuclei are considered to be isotopes.
Students should begin to see the pattern that each time they “take a half-life,” about half of the surrogate radioactive material becomes stable.
Students then should be able to see the connection between the M&M’s and Puzzle Pieces and radioactive elements in archaeological samples.
Description: With the Half-Life Laboratory, students gain a better understanding of radioactive dating and half-lives.