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.
A variety of pretreatment procedures are employed at the Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory to ensure we date only material of secure chemical origins.
Below is a list of commonly dated sample types and potential problems.
Radiocarbon dating: radioactive carbon decays to nitrogen with a half-life of 5730 years.
In dead material, the decayed 14C is not replaced and its concentration in the object decreases slowly.
For students, understanding the general architecture of the atom and the roles played by the main constituents of the atom in determining the properties of materials now becomes relevant.
By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that all matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.They should also understand that the atoms of any element are alike but are different from atoms of other elements.Atoms may stick together in well-defined molecules or they could be packed together in large arrays.If you require detailed information about a specific pretreatment method or have questions about a particular sample type, please contact us.All samples are closely inspected to isolate the most reliable fraction for dating.Welcome to the K12 section of the Radiocarbon WEBinfo site.