Radiocarbon Dating

How do we know how long ago a dinosaur lived or an ancient fire pit was used? Scholars learn about the application of carbon dating and half lives to discover things about the past. They adjust the amount of radioactive carbon in the atmosphere, the time period in the past we wish to measure, and the length of the half life.

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Team teach with social studies related to anthropology, ancient cultures, and dating techniques
Classroom Considerations

  • Participants need a free CK-12 account to access the interactive
  • Assumes prior knowledge of carbon decay
Pros

  • Each trial displays the exponential graph of radioactive decay
  • Includes answers to all of the on-level questions on the worksheet
Cons

  • None
Common Core

NGSS