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Radiocarbon dates do not tell archaeologists exactly how old an artifact is, but they can date the sample within a few hundred years of the age.
The rate of decay is a fixed rate called a half-life.
The half-life of a radioactive isotope refers to the amount of time required for half of a quantity of a radioactive isotope to decay.
Tell students to design their own experiment, using paper, M&M’s®, Pennies, other 2 sided material or Licorice as a radioactive material undergoing decay to discover the nature of the half-life of that material.
You might suggest that the students experiment with their graphing results to see if trends begin to form.
A child mummy is found high in the Andes and the archaeologist says the child lived more than 2,000 years ago.
How do scientists know how old an object or human remains are?Carbon-14 has a half-life of 5730 years, which means that if you take one gram of carbon-14, half of it will decay in 5730 years. The ratio of the amounts of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in a human is the same as in every other living thing.After death, the carbon-14 decays and is not replaced.This experiment is best used by student working in pairs.Grade Level: 5-12 grade Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) 3-5ETS1-2, MS-ESS1-4, HS-ESS1-6 Time for Teacher Preparation 40-60 minutes – To gather materials Activity Time: 40-60 minutes (1 Class Period) Materials: Objectives Students try to model radioactive decay by using the scientific thought process of creating a hypothesis, then testing it through inference.All three isotopes have the same atomic number of 6, but have different numbers of neutrons.Carbon-14 has 2 more neutrons than carbon-12 and 1 more than carbon-13, both of which are stable.What methods do they use and how do these methods work?In this article, we will examine the methods by which scientists use radioactivity to determine the age of objects, most notably carbon-14 dating.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.