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Living things have about 15 disintegrations per minute per gram of carbon.
Because living things constantly interchange carbon atoms, the amount of carbon-14 remains constant, but when organisms die, no new carbon-14 enters the organism.
Students should answer the questions on their student sheet based on their graphs and the data they collected.
Students can check their answers by going to the Radiometric Dating page by Professor Pamela Gore from the Georgia Perimeter College.
The second lesson, Radioactive Decay: A Sweet Simulation of Half-life, introduces the idea of half-life.
By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that all matter is made up of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a microscope.
The exercise they will go through of working backwards from measurements to age should help them understand how scientists use carbon dating to try to determine the age of fossils and other materials.
Fractionation during the geochemical transfer of carbon in nature produces variation in the equilibrium distribution of the isotopes of carbon (12C, 13C and 14C).
Students should complete the Analysis section of the lab sheet, which will be used as part of their assessment.
Advise students to read through the case first so that they understand what they should do.
However, the carbon-14 that was in the organism at death continues to disintegrate.
By measuring how much carbon is left in a sample as well as its radioactivity, we can calculate when the organism died. In this activity, you will work backwards to solve a puzzle, much like scientists work backwards to find the time that an organism died." Procedure Give each student a copy of The Case of the Melting Ice student sheet.