In a way this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do.
There are two basic approaches: relative age dating, and absolute age dating.
First, students visualized the concepts of radioactive decay and half-life in an activity using M&Ms™ and marshmallows.
M&Ms™ were shaken in a bag, poured out on the table, and then removed to the decayed pile if they did not show their “m” label.
Unlike people, you can’t really guess the age of a rock from looking at it.
No bones about it, fossils are important age markers. [email protected], ENDRESS, Chira A., Department of Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16801, FURMAN, Tanya, Department of Geosciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, and GUERTIN, Laura, Earth Science, Penn State Brandywine, 25 Yearsley Mill Road, Media, PA 19063Radioactive decay and radiometric dating are fundamental Earth Science principles.Students often have difficulty comprehending these topics and hold a variety of misconceptions.As parent element M&Ms™ were removed through radiometric decay, daughter element marshmallows replaced them.Later, students applied this knowledge to determine the ages of a series of rocks and organic remains represented by bags of Froot Loops™.Relative age dating also means paying attention to crosscutting relationships.