Education Technology

Radioactive Dating Game (HS)

Updated on 10/04/2017

Activity Overview

In this lesson, students will simulate radioactive dating at an archeological site.


  • Students will discover that radioactive isotopes decay exponentially.
  • Students will discover that each radioactive isotope has a specific half-life.
  • Students will develop mathematical model for the radioactive decay of C-14 and U-238.
  • Students will estimate the age of various objects using radioactive dating with common radioactive isotopes, such as C-14 in dating living organisms and U-238 in dating geological formations and fossils.


  • radioactive decay
  • radioactive isotope
  • half-life
  • radioactive dating
  • exponential

About the Lesson

Adapted from a PhETTM simulation, this lesson involves students using TI-Nspire technology to simulate radioactive dating at an archeological site.

As a result students will:

  • use the simulation to measure the percent of remaining isotopes for Carbon-14 and Uranium-238 during radioactive decay process
  • develop mathematical models for the radioactive decay and use these to estimate the age of organic and inorganic materials
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