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# Resource Type: Activities Show all Resource Type: Activities

## Activities > Classroom Activity

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M & M Decay
Rebecca Teed, Wright State University-Main Campus
This is a simulation of radioactive decay which illustrates what a half-life is and explains some of the challenges involved with radiometric dating. Pennies or other cheap coins can be substituted for M&Ms if ...

Teaching radioactive decay & radiometric dating: an analog activity based on fluid dynamics
Erika Grundstrom, Vanderbilt University
Radiometric dating/geochronology is a difficult concept for students. Using the (rather messy) medium of shampoo, students watch it flow through holes of different sizes, determine the exponential decay equation, ...

Relative vs. Numerical Dating and Geochronology with Beads
Karen Viskupic, Boise State University
Students use relative dating principles to interpret the ages of rocks in a block diagram. They then "date" samples from these rocks to test their relative age hypotheses. Sample dating is done by ...

Determining Earthquake Recurrence Intervals from Trench Logs
Trench logs of the San Andreas Fault at Pallett Creek, CA are the data base for a lab or homework assignment that teaches about relative dating, radiometric dating, fault recurrence intervals and the reasons for uncertainty in predicting geologic phenomena. Students are given a trench log that includes several fault strands and dated stratigraphic horizons. They estimate the times of faulting based on bracketing ages of faulted and unfaulted strata. They compile a table with the faulting events from the trench log and additional events recognized in nearby trenches, then calculate maximum, minimum and average earthquake recurrence intervals for the San Andreas Fault in this area. They conclude by making their own prediction for the timing of the next earthquake.

Roping Geologic Time
Randall Richardson, The University of Arizona
After having talked about the geologic time scale, I ask for two volunteers from the class to hold a rope that is 50 feet long. I say that one end is the beginning of the Earth (4.6 billion years ago), and the other is today. I then give out 16 clothes pins and ask various students to put a cloths pin on the 'time line' at various 'geologic events'. Throughout the activity I have a quiz going on where the students calculate percentages of Earth History for major geologic events, and compare it to their own ages. On their time scale, the dinosaurs died only about two 'months' ago! The exercise is very effective at letting them get a sense of how long geologic time is, and how 'recently' some major geologic events happened when you consider a time scale that is the age of the earth.

Timeline of the Early Earth
Selby Cull
Students assemble timelines of the early evolution of Earth's atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere by examining data from Archean rocks and minerals.

Ocean Crust Ages Lecture Tutorial
Karen Kortz, Community College of Rhode Island; Jessica Smay, San Jose City College
Students work on this Lecture Tutorial worksheet on ocean crust ages in groups during lecture. It directly confronts misconceptions students have about the patterns of ages of the ocean crust, and interpretations that can be made.

"ZirChron" Virtual Zircon Analysis App
Mark Schmitz, Boise State University
This web-based app is designed to help students evaluate a radioisotopic age and its uncertainty based upon the collection of data, the application of statistics, and the interpretation of geological and analytical ...