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Conceptual thinking versus plug-and-chug problem solving: Radiocarbon dating and interactive animated spreadsheets Scott A. Sinex and Barbara A. Gage Prince.

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Presentation on theme: "Conceptual thinking versus plug-and-chug problem solving: Radiocarbon dating and interactive animated spreadsheets Scott A. Sinex and Barbara A. Gage Prince."— Presentation transcript:

1 Conceptual thinking versus plug-and-chug problem solving: Radiocarbon dating and interactive animated spreadsheets Scott A. Sinex and Barbara A. Gage Prince Georges Community College Presented at ACS MARM, College Park, MD, May 2011

2 The classic decay equation where P = number of parent nuclei, P o = parent number at t = 0, t = time, and k = rate (decay) constant P D parent daughter So do we just plug-and-chug out some ages?

3 How do the General Chemistry textbooks do? Todays discussion

4 So can we approach the topic of radiocarbon dating from the conceptual thinking direction and in an interactive fashion using spreadsheets?

5 The radioactive decay concept

6 The P o assumption in radiocarbon dating

7 The input-output model

8 Dating and possible uncertainties

9 Assessment… Eight questions – maximum score of 30 points

10 Student Survey Feedback (n = 24 students) Ease of overall use of the Radiometric Dating III: Carbon-14 Method Excelet: real difficult difficult so, so easy real easy 2.5% (3) 8.3% (2) 29.2 (7) 41.7% (10) 8.3% (2) I like the interactive nature of Excelets because it lets me play & experiment discover on my own think all of these dont know 18.5% (5) 22.2% (6) 18.5% (5) 29.6% (8) 7.4% (2)

11 In the end… A more conceptual approach Numerical experimentation Higher-order questions addressed More science process and it appears students liked it

12 More on radiometric dating Sinex, S.A. (2010) Radiometric Dating for Novice Learners: Visualizing, Modeling, and Simulating via Animated Spreadsheets, Spreadsheets in Education 4 (2), Article 5 Radiometric dating – D/P methods Radiocarbon dating Excelets

13 More info… Scott Sinex Barb Gage Thanks for attending!!!

14 excelets


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