PBL Pathways

Content Area

College Algebra, Precalculus

Time Frame

2 to 3 weeks


December 4, 2009


Exponential decay, exponential equations

Project Title

Potassium-Argon Dating


David Graser, Yavapai College, Prescott, AZ (David_Graser@yc.edu)


This contrived project helps students to understand the various methods used to date artifacts and rocks. In this project, each students is given the half-life of Potassium 40 and the amount of Potassium 40 and Argon 40 in a sample (every student gets an amount based on the number of letters in their name). Using this information, they find the age of the sample.

Project Content

Project Letter DOC | PDF

Scaffolding Resources

Technology Assignment: Exponential Equations DOC | PDF | VIDEO - This technology helps students to solve an exponential equation using the Method of Intersection in Excel.

Handout DOC | PDF - This document explains how Carbon 14 dating works and can act as a template for the project.



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