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What's in the Mystery Box? (Marissa Staller)


Marissa Staller

Principle(s) Illustrated

  1. There is uncertainty inherent in scientific enterprise.
  2. Scientific explanations are less certain when based on indirect information.
  3. Scientific certainty can be increased through experimentation and collaboration.


        Students will:
  • Communicate the logical connection among hypotheses, science concepts, tests conducted, data collected, and conclusions drawn from the scientific evidence. 
  • Recognize whether evidence is consistent with a proposed explanation. 

  • Draw conclusions from scientific evidence and indicate whether further information is needed to support a specific conclusion. 

Questioning Script

Prior knowledge & experience:

Students know that if water is poured through a tube, water should come out. 

Root question:

What is happening inside the box? Draw your hypothesis for each time the teacher pours water into the box. This process will continue, and students will be amazed as different things happen when the teacher pours the water inside the box.

Target response:

The students will not know the correct answer! Science often involves the indirect observations of unseeable objects, such as an atom or a black hole. Because what is happening inside the box cannot be seen, the process involves predicting, observing, reflecting,  hypothesizing, testing, and concluding (without ever being certain of the "correct" answer).

Common Misconceptions:

Most students will believe that when the teacher pours water inside of the box, water will come out. Students will not know that the position of the funnel is changing. 


    Instructions for how to build the Mystery Box can be found in the .pdf file below. 

Marissa Staller,
Oct 5, 2011, 11:22 AM