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Most absolute dating methods measure radioactive elements in some way, so can only be used on rocks that contain these elements.

The stigma of being alone during the holidays has been forgotten.Using the potassium-argon method, Fitch and Miller were the first to measure the age of the tuff.Their result of 212–230 million years did not agree with the age of the fossils (elephant, pig, ape and tools) so they rejected the date.The word ‘absolute’ is a bit confusing when used for dating methods.Absolute dating does not give an exact, single year for a geological event. For example, the end of the Cretaceous period may be written 65.0 ± 0.3 million years ago.So Curtis and others redated the KBS tuff using selected pumice and feldspar samples, and obtained an age of 1.82 million years.This new date agreed with the appearance of the new skull.In another example, investigations of rocks near Whanganui have helped to change global models of past cycles of climate change.Other aspects of the nature of science include the role of discovery in science, choosing the most suitable method for an investigation and the use and understanding of ‘big numbers’.Students also encounter units of geological time that do not have standard lengths, in contrast to more familiar scientific units.Students also have the opportunity to communicate their ideas about science in classroom activities and to use the Science Learning Hub as a research tool.

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