Start Radiocarbon dating activities

Radiocarbon dating activities

Once an organism dies, it stops taking in carbon-14.

There is a small amount of radioactive carbon-14 in all living organisms because it enters the food chain.

Using dice, each one marked with one side that represents a daughter isotope, students can roll their way through the decay cycle of a hypothetical element.

As they record their rolls on a data chart, students create and evaluate the decay curve for the isotope.

After rolling the 100 dice until all of the parents have transformed and studying the rate of decay of the imagined isotope, students can work backwards and deduce the age of a sample created by a friend or family member by correlating available data and comparing it to the decay curve.