The exercise they will go through of working backwards from measurements to age should help them understand how scientists use carbon dating to try to determine the age of fossils and other materials.
To be able to do this lesson and understand the idea of half-life, students should understand ratios and the multiplication of fractions, and be somewhat comfortable with probability.
Be sure to include how radiocarbon dating works backwards to solve a puzzle.
Explain to your friend how you and other archaeologists, with the help of chemistry, determine how old your discoveries are.
You can continue to fill the funnels as different classes arrive.
Empty the graduated cylinders between classes if the volume is more than about 25 ml.
Written below is the case as it appears on The Case of the Melting Ice student sheet.
The Case of the Melting Ice Frosty the Snowman lies melting in the funnels at your lab station.
Unlike people, you can’t really guess the age of a rock from looking at it.
Make a data table and, at regular intervals (you decide how long), record the time on the clock and the volume of water in the graduated cylinder.
Stop after about 30 minutes, unless Frosty has completely melted earlier.
Students should complete the Analysis section of the lab sheet, which will be used as part of their assessment.
Advise students to read through the case first so that they understand what they should do.