Exploring Radiometric Dating with Dice
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Feb 25, 2006
Students create a standard decay curve for a fictional element (Cascadium), calculate the half-life of this element, and, using the information their graph, "date" rocks that contain the new element.
- Have practiced generating, collecting, graphing and analyzing data
- Understand relevant terminology such as half-life, parent, daughter, isotope
- Be able to make simple calculations to determine the age of a rock
- See some errors in data they collected and correct for them
Context for Use
You will need:
- 50 dice per student or group
- a container to keep them in
- graph paper
Description and Teaching Materials
Data Table (Microsoft Word 56kB Feb16 05) is the data table students will need to fill out to complete the exercise
Student questions (Microsoft Word 26kB Feb16 05) is the list of questions we ask students to get them to analyze the data they have generated.