Middle School Science – Curriculum Overview

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How do scientists determine the age of dinosaur bones?

Love-hungry teenagers and archaeologists agree: But while the difficulties of single life may be intractable, the challenge of determining the age of prehistoric artifacts and fossils is greatly aided by measuring certain radioactive isotopes. Until this century, relative dating was the only technique for identifying the age of a truly ancient object.

Matter in a stable form minimizes the stored energy in the electric and magnetic fields within it; this defines the equilibrium positions and spacing of the atomic nuclei in a molecule or an extended solid and the form of their combined electron charge distributions e.

The first transformation was accomplished by ignoring the implications of a long standing distinction between observing and experimenting. To experiment is to isolate, prepare, and manipulate things in hopes of producing epistemically useful evidence. It had been customary to think of observing as noticing and attending to interesting details of things perceived under more or less natural conditions, or by extension, things perceived during the course of an experiment.

To look at a berry on a vine and attend to its color and shape would be to observe it. To extract its juice and apply reagents to test for the presence of copper compounds would be to perform an experiment. Contrivance and manipulation influence epistemically significant features of observable experimental results to such an extent that epistemologists ignore them at their peril.

The logical empiricists tended to ignore it. A second transformation, characteristic of the linguistic turn in philosophy, was to shift attention away from things observed in natural or experimental settings and concentrate instead on the logic of observation reports. The shift developed from the assumption that a scientific theory is a system of sentences or sentence like structures propositions, statements, claims, and so on to be tested by comparison to observational evidence.

Secondly it was assumed that the comparisons must be understood in terms of inferential relations. If inferential relations hold only between sentence like structures, it follows that theories must be tested, not against observations or things observed, but against sentences, propositions, etc.


After reading this section you will be able to do the following: Describe why carbon can be found in all living organisms. Explain how carbon can help determine the age of some objects. As you learned in the previous page, carbon dating uses the half-life of Carbon to find the approximate age of certain objects that are 40, years old or younger. In the following section we are going to go more in-depth about carbon dating in order to help you get a better understanding of how it works.

A freshly killed seal, dated using Carbon , showed it had died years ago.

Astronomy Many independent measurements have established that the Earth and the universe are billions of years old. Geologists have found annual layers in ice that are easily counted to multiple tens of thousands of years, and when combined with radio isotope dating, we find hundreds of thousands of years of ice layers. Using the known rate of change in radio-active elements radiometric dating , some Earth rocks have been shown to be billions of years old, while the oldest solar system rocks are dated at 4.

Astronomers use the distance to galaxies and the speed of light to calculate that the light has been traveling for billions of years. The expansion of the universe gives an age for the universe as a whole: Introduction Astronomers and geologists have determined that the universe and Earth are billions of years old. This conclusion is not based on just one measurement or one calculation, but on many types of evidence. Here we will describe just two types of evidence for an old Earth and two types of evidence for an old universe; more types can be found under further reading.

These methods are largely independent of each other, based on separate observations and arguments, yet all point to a history much longer than 10, years. In years of drought, the tree grows less quickly so the ring is narrower; in good growing seasons the ring is thicker. By comparing the pattern of thick and thin rings to weather records, scientists can verify that the method is accurate.

This method can even be used on dead trees that fell in a forest long ago. For example, the last rings in the dead tree might match up with rings early in the life of the living tree, so the two trees together can count back many years.

High School Earth Science/Fossils

Roman poet Lucretius, intellectual heir to the Greek atomists, believed its formation must have been relatively recent, given that there were no records going back beyond the Trojan War. The Talmudic rabbis, Martin Luther and others used the biblical account to extrapolate back from known history and came up with rather similar estimates for when the earth came into being.

Within decades observation began overtaking such thinking.

Its usefulness is limited to distinguishing modern from prehistoric and prehistoric from Pleistocene like that.

Skeptical Inquirer Volume But a closer look at the evidence suggests otherwise. As long as there are lonely hearts there will be a market for matchmakers. The emergence of the Internet has of course revolutionized many things, and the search for compatible mates is no exception. Online dating is a huge business, with dozens of websites offering people the chance to find love in cyberspace.

Like many services for which there is competition, online dating sites struggle to distinguish their services from all the others. After all, the premise is pretty basic:

Cool examples of radiometric dating?

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The CM model employs several central ideas.

We often express time in hours or days, and 10 or 20 years certainly feels like a long time. Imagine if you needed to think about one million, million, or even several billion years. These exceptional lengths of time seem unbelievable, but they are exactly the spans of times that scientists use to describe the Earth. Have places like the Grand Canyon and the Mississippi River been around for all of those years, or were they formed more recently? When did the giant Rocky Mountains form and when did dinosaurs walk the Earth?

To answer these questions, you have to think about times that were millions or billions of years ago. Historical geologists are scientists who study the Earth’s past. They study clues left on the Earth to learn two main things: For example, they have learned that the Mississippi River formed many millions of years after the Grand Canyon began forming. They have also concluded that dinosaurs lived on the Earth for about million years.


A indicates alpha decay; B indicates beta decay. We can calculate the half-lives of all of these elements. All the intermediate nuclides between U and Pb are highly unstable, with short half-lives. Then any excess of Pb must be the result of the decay of U When we know how much excess Pb there is, and we know the current quantity of U , we can calculate how long the U in our sample has been decaying, and therefore how long ago the rock formed.

These are the only unobservables that are epistemically unavailable.

Dating techniques are procedures used by scientists to determine the age of an object or a series of events. The two main types of dating methods are relative and absolute. Absolute age dating is based upon the decay of radioactive unstable isotopes. The Law of Superposition, which states that older layers will be deeper in a site than more recent layers, was the summary outcome of ‘relative different types of absolute dating as observed in geology from the 17th century to the early 20th century.

The Law of Superposition, which states that older layers will be deeper in a site than more recent layers, was the summary outcome of ‘relative dating‘ as observed in geology from the 17th century to the early 20th century. Relative dating methods are used to determine only if. Different types of absolute dating Earth Science: A Measure of Time Determine the age of the mineral. Concepts Deep time Geological history of Earth Geological time units. One of the most widely used and well-known absolute dating techniques is carbon or radiocarbon dating, which is used to date organic remains.

International Journal of Chemical Kinetics.

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January Fossils provide a record of the history of life. Smith is known as the Father of English Geology. Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods. Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better.

To find epistemically significant differences, one must carefully consider what sorts of data they use, where it comes from, and how it is employed.

Top 10 unbelievable historical concurrencies Science is a broad grouping of disciplines containing many different areas that are all linked together by a single concept: The scientific method represents an investigative method based on observation, deduction, hypothesizing, and experimentation that can be applied to all areas of life. Though there are many ways to look at science, one of the most common is to divide it into three broad categories, each of which contains numerous subdisciplines: Formal science represents those disciplines that deal with symbols and theoretical ideas and their applications in the real world.

Its inclusion as a science is often contested, but aspects of it are used in all other scientific disciplines. Formal science includes computer science, mathematics, and statistics. Natural science is the science that people usually think of when they hear the term. Those studying it use the scientific method to understand nature and the physical world.