Radioactive carbon dating is useful for the past

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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.

For the laboratory portion of this lesson, you will have to set up the ring stands, rings, funnels, and graduated cylinders.

There's a small amount of radioactive carbon-14 in all living organisms.

When they die no new carbon-14 is taken in by the dead organism.

For example, in 1991, two hikers discovered a mummified man, preserved for centuries in the ice on an alpine mountain.

Later called Ötzi the Iceman, small samples from his body were carbon dated by scientists.

Radio carbon dating determines the age of ancient objects by means of measuring the amount of carbon-14 there is left in an object.

The carbon-14 it contained at the time of death decays over a long period of time.

By measuring the amount of carbon-14 left in dead organic material the approximate time since it died can be worked out.

It is incorporated into the carbon cycle, so that all living things, including you, contain radioactive carbon-14.

Living things have about 15 disintegrations per minute per gram of carbon.

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