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Take students on a neighborhood walk and see what you can observe about age dates around you.

Chart of a few different isotope half lifes: In reality, geologists tend to mix and match relative and absolute age dates to piece together a geologic history.

Activity: Further discussion: Good overview as relates to the Grand Canyon: age dating: Use with this cross section of the Grand Canyon from the USGS’s teaching page: Canyon Have students reconstruct a simple geologic history — which are the oldest rocks shown? Are there any that you can’t tell using the Rule of Superposition?

I also like this simple exercise, a spin-off from an activity described on the USGS site above.

The half-life of carbon 14, for example, is 5,730 years.

On the other hand, the half-life of the isotope potassium 40 as it decays to argon is 1.26 billion years.

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