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Here is an easy-to understand analogy for your students: relative age dating is like saying that your grandfather is older than you.Absolute age dating is like saying you are 15 years old and your grandfather is 77 years old.In a way this field, called geochronology, is some of the purest detective work earth scientists do.

Activity: Further discussion: Good overview as relates to the Grand Canyon: age dating: Use with this cross section of the Grand Canyon from the USGS’s teaching page: Canyon Have students reconstruct a simple geologic history — which are the oldest rocks shown? Are there any that you can’t tell using the Rule of Superposition?That’s because zircon is super tough – it resists weathering. Each radioactive isotope works best for particular applications.The half-life of carbon 14, for example, is 5,730 years.For example, which is older, the bricks in a building or the building itself?Are there repairs or cracks in the sidewalk that came after the sidewalk was built?