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This lesson shows students that age-dating rocks involves counting atoms and comparing the counts. Students use simulated rock samples, which show a highly magnified selection of 128 atoms, each sample with a different proportion of the atoms of two different elements: a parent radioisotope, and its daughter product. By counting the parent radioactive atoms and knowing the half-life of those atoms, students can figure the number of half-lives since the sample solidified, and therefore the age of the sample.
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