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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, ...

What can zircons tell us about the Early Earth?
Aaron Cavosie, University of Puerto Rico; Julie Baldwin, University of Montana-Missoula, The; Darrell Henry, Louisiana State University
This image shows an array of Jack Hill zircons arranged on a piece of tape prior to casting in epoxy. Details Students create U-Pb concordia plots in Excel to experience the methods used to date the worlds oldest ...

Be the Block: Working the Geologic Block Diagram as an Inquiry Tool
Eric Pyle, James Madison University
Working with data, students develop 3-D understandings of Earth structures using inference to construct a block diagram from a collection of 2-D information.

Geologic and Navajo Time Line
Margaret Mayer, Dine College
Students develop a time line using registrar tape and correlating marking off divisions of geologic eras. Above this they develop a Navajo time line of creation. Each week they focusing on the topic (era/period) of ...

Using Melting Ice to Teach Radiometric Dating
Developed by Donald Wise, Franklin and Marshall College. Taken from Wise, 1990 . Related Links Radioactive Decay
Students are challenged to a Sherlock Holmes-style mystery in which they construct their own decay curves of melting ice to determine time-zero.

Determining Earthquake Recurrence Intervals from Trench Logs
Patricia Cashman, University of Nevada-Reno
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.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Describe and Interpret Images: Folded Strata
Rebecca Teed, Wright State University-Main Campus; Heather Macdonald, College of William and Mary
In class, have students make a simple sketch of an outcrop shown in a slide (or computer projection) then discuss possible interpretations. -

Understanding Radioactivity in Geology: The Basics of Decay
Christina StringerUniversity of South Florida, Tampa FL 33620 This activity was developed for Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum . National Science Foundation, DUE 0442629.
PowerPoint module leading students through creation and manipulation of spreadsheet to forward model an example of exponential decaythe number of remaining unpopped kernels of popcorn in a bag of popping popcorn.

The Cosmic Calendar
Erika Grundstrom, Vanderbilt University
In this activity, one takes ALL of time, from the beginning of time (i.e., the Big Bang) all the way up to today, but one compresses it into one year. One can do this for all levels of students depending on how ...

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Earth History Timeline
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question The Earth is about 4.6 billion years old. Let's try to get a perspective on how long that really is. A roll of good quality toilet paper has 1000 squares. If the roll of toilet paper represents the ...


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