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Carbon Dating and Logarithms Topic List

Carbon Dating

1. Given the half-life of a radioactive element, can you come up with an equation which
represents the percent of that radioactive element is left from when the creature (which
has that radioactive element naturally in it’s body) dies?

2. Given the percent of a radioactive element left or lost after a creature died, can you
find the how long that creature has been dead? (Using your calculator.)

3. Can you explain why the exponent in your radioactive decay equation is time/halflife?

Logarithms

1. Do you know what a logarithm means conceptually? In other words, if I said “log base
3 of 9,” how would you explain the meaning of that number to someone in Algebra I –
someone who has never heard of a logarithm before.?

2. Can you convert between the logarithmic form of an equation to the exponential form
of an equation, and vice versa (e.g. rewriting as )?

3. Just like the inverse of cubing a number is taking the cube root of a number, we can
make a similar statement about logarithms. We can say that the inverse of
exponentiation (with base b) is taking the logarithm (with base b). Explain that statement,
using graphs and using algebra.

4. Can you calculate basic “nice” logarithms without a calculator (remember logarithm
war)? (Examples: and .)

5. Can you use the fact that logarithms and exponentiation (with the same base) are
inverse functions to simplify expressions, like and .

6. Can you explain why you cannot take the logarithm of a negative number or 0? Why
does cause your paper to burst into flames?

7. Can you use your calculator to find a good decimal approximation for ? Can
8. Do you know all three logarithm rules, and apply them to either “split apart” or
“combine” logarithm expressions?
(a)
(b)
(c)

9. Can you prove logarithm rules (a) and (c) above?

10. Can you solve logarithmic equations? (Be sure to CHECK BOTH ANSWERS by
plugging your values into the original equation)

11. Can you graph logarithm “base functions” (e.g. and ) by

hand, with 5 key points?

12. Can you write and explain where you got the domain and range for all logarithm
“base functions”?

13. Given a logarithmic equation (e.g. ), can you list the

transformations in the order they need to be performed? Can you actually graph this
equation with the transformations?