The example used here contrasts sharply with the way conventional scientific dating methods are characterized by some critics (for example, refer to discussion in "Common Creationist Criticisms of Mainstream Dating Methods" in the Age of the Earth FAQ and Isochron Dating FAQ).A common form of criticism is to cite geologically complicated situations where the application of radiometric dating is very challenging.Ice cores showed the age of a military plane buried in the artic as thousands of years old.Similarly, dendrochronology measures the tree rings in trees and assumes they represent years.
Teaching about Earth's history is a challenge for all teachers.
As an example of how they are used, radiometric dates from geologically simple, fossiliferous Cretaceous rocks in western North America are compared to the geological time scale.
To get to that point, there is also a historical discussion and description of non-radiometric dating methods.
In this activity, students begin a sequencing activity with familiar items letters written on cards.
Once they are able to manipulate the cards into the correct sequence, they are asked to do a similar sequencing activity using fossil pictures printed on "rock layer" cards.