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Perhaps the most widely used evidence for the theory of evolution through natural selection is the fossil record.

The fossil record may be incomplete and may never fully completed, but there are still many clues to evolution and how it happens within the fossil record.

This experiment is best used by student working in pairs.

Grade Level: 5-12 grade Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) 3-5ETS1-2, MS-ESS1-4, HS-ESS1-6 Time for Teacher Preparation 40-60 minutes – To gather materials Activity Time: 40-60 minutes (1 Class Period) Materials: Objectives Students try to model radioactive decay by using the scientific thought process of creating a hypothesis, then testing it through inference.

Seeing this connection will help students to understand how scientists can determine the age of a sample by looking at the amount of radioactive material in the sample.

An example of isotopes is carbon, which has three main isotopes, carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14.One way that helps scientists place fossils into the correct era on the geologic time scale is by using radiometric dating.Also called absolute dating, scientists use the decay of radioactive elements within the fossils or the rocks around the fossils to determine the age of the organism that was preserved.The best radioactive element to use to date human fossils is Carbon-14.There are several reasons why, but the main reasons is that Carbon-14 is a naturally occurring isotope in all forms of life and its half-life is about 5730 years, so we are able to use it to date more "recent" forms of life relative to the geologic time scale.

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In other words, half (50%) of the Carbon-14 you started with has decayed into the daughter isotope Nitrogen-14.

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