Have the students rotate in groups from station to station until they have figured out the age of all five fossils.

radiometric dating problems worksheet-40

Next, label each bag with a number (1-5), put it at a separate station around the room, and make a sign that identifies the parent isotope type and color, daughter isotope type and color, and half-life.

For instance, your five bags might be set-up something like: When class begins, tell the students that in this activity they will use their knowledge of ratioactive decay and half-life properties to figure out the age of five different "fossils" at different stations around the room.

For each bag, count a specific number of "parent isotope" beads of one color and "daughter isotope" beads of another color.

Once you have a set of parent and daughter isotope beads in the bag, fill up the bag with a mixture of all the other colors.

After all, textbooks, media, and museums glibly present ages of millions of years as fact.

Yet few people know how radiometric dating works or bother to ask what assumptions drive the conclusions. This figure wasn’t established by radiometric dating of the earth itself. Radiohalos shouldn’t exist, according to conventional wisdom!

The atom's nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons, which are much more massive than electrons.

When an element has atoms that differ in the number of neutrons, these atoms are called different isotopes of the element.

Each atom has a positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons.

The electric force between the nucleus and electrons holds the atom together.

See the background information on Students will use half-life properties of isotopes to determine the age of different "rocks" and "fossils" made out of bags of beads.