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Over time there is a gradual decrease in the amount of Carbon-14 and the ratio of Carbon-14 atoms to other Carbon atoms declines. Therefore half of the Carbon-14 has decayed after 5730 years.

Half of the remaining Carbon-14 then decays over the next 5730 years leaving one fourth of the original amount.

Carbon-14 dating can be used on objects ranging from a few hundred years old to 50,000 years old.

Libby and others (University of Chicago) devised a method of estimating the age of organic material based on the decay rate of carbon-14.

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Question: "Is carbon dating a reliable method for determining the age of things?

Easily modified for different abilities, with my low ability I made all the percentages either 75%, 50% or 25% to make it much easier for them. The worksheets can be used in a number of ways, I used them in two ways, I laminated them both in the same pouch front to back for them to use as a mini whiteboard and write directly on them with a whiteboard pen then rub out the ink for reuse for different questions and classes and to use as group work.

Or, just print the graph for all pupils to use independently....

The Carbon-14 within a living organism is continually decaying, but as the organism is continuously absorbing Carbon-14 throughout its life the ratio of Carbon-14 to Carbon-12 atoms in the organism is the same as the ratio in the atmosphere.

The bodies of living things generally have concentrations of the isotope carbon-14, also known as radiocarbon, identical to concentrations in the atmosphere.

When an organism dies, it stops taking in new carbon-14, and whatever is inside gradually decays into other elements.

This makes the results subject to the researchers’ assumptions about those objects.

If the spear head is dated using animal bones nearby, the accuracy of the results is entirely dependent on the assumed link between the spear head and the animal.

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