Kids learn radiocarbon dating

Isotopes have the same chemical properties, but different physical properties.An example of isotopes is carbon, which has three main isotopes, carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14.Carbon-14 is radioactive and undergoes radioactive decay.Radioactive materials contain some nuclei that are stable and other nuclei that are unstable.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.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.

Students are able to visualize and model what is meant by the half-life of a reaction.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.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.NGSS Guided Inquiry Explain about radiation and half-lives of isotopes.

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When isotopes are unstable they emit energy in the form of radiation.

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