Radioactive carbon dating video

Accelerator mass spectrometry is not dependent upon the radioactive decay.

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The amount of carbon-14 gradually decreases through radioactive beta decay with a half-life of 5,730 years.

So, scientists can estimate the age of the fossil by looking at the level of decay in its radioactive carbon.

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.

To be able to do this lesson and understand the idea of half-life, students should understand ratios and the multiplication of fractions, and be somewhat comfortable with probability.

However, it is also used to determine ages of rocks, plants, trees, etc. When the sun’s rays reach them, a few of these particles turn into carbon 14 (a radioactive carbon).