Radioactive dating activity pennies
Have students label their lines trial 1, trial 2, trial 3, or use different colors for each. At the end of three trials, there should be three decay curves on the graph.All of the isotopes in the penny element when it is formed are parent elements, which are heads for this activity.
If the age of a layer is known, then the fossils or rock layers are relatively older or younger than that layer based on their position above or below the known layer.Have all of the students toss their penny (or each penny) once. The teacher and students should write the total number of parent isotopes (heads) on the graph for time 1 (the first half life of the element). If heads, then the isotope in the penny element is unchanged and remains a parent isotope. If tails, then the element has changed to its daughter isotope, which is now stable, and cannot toss anymore. Students should do the same on their worksheet.Use the links below to explore available resources covering major concepts associated with the study of the history of the Earth.
Resources in this section pertain to the formation and evolution of the Earth and how it has been discovered through the relative and absolute dating of rocks and fossils.
T1, T2, T3, etc., on the horizontal axis are the number of times the coins are flipped. is the half life of the penny element for this exercise. The teacher should make a graph on the chalkboard or overhead projector to record the class results.