The following is a summary of today’s lesson which was a continuation of the Nature of Science.

Activity: Observation and the mystery box.

Key words we may use: scientifically, observe, observation, predict, predictions, hypothesis

“Today we are going to work scientifically to observe, make predictions and share our ideas about our scientific thinking.”

Before we started we talked about what “scientifically” meant. Most of us decided that it meant thinking and working like scientists. We discussed what some of the scientific words meant and decided that observe means to “look closely” or “look really carefully” and to “only talk about what we see.” Other words to describe predictions are guess, estimate, hypothesize, or explaining what it might be. We can share our ideas by explaining, talking, discussing, listening, thinking out loud and  working together with our partner or our groups.

Each group chose a box and asked to leave it on the table. Using our eyes only, our question was “What do you see?”

The following are some of the visual observations that were shared as a class.

  • green paper and sellotape
  • a green big cube
  • cube and little holes
  • a cube in the shape of a box with tape
  • a blue box with cut edges
  • Clear sellotape
  • Folded cardboard
  • Black lines with sellotape
  • 3D square
  • Faces of the box joined together
  • Corners and edges
  • Paper

We were then asked to make as many observations as we could using our senses and without opening the box. For example: smell, feel and shake the box to listen to it.

Some observations that were shared:

  • Hear rattling
  • Hear something solid
  • Sounds like a silver coin
  • Smells like lavender
  • Sounds like a marble
  • It feels light
  • Hear a banging noise

Each group/partner were asked to make a prediction about what they thought was in the box.  The predictions were recorded.

The class discussed

How confident were you about your predictions?

  • No very without seeing it
  • Would not bet money on it
  • Kind of but not really
  • Can we open it?

What could you do to be more confident?

  • Discuss ideas with others
  • Open the box
  • Get more information
  • Talk about it some more in your groups
  • We could weigh the boxes
  • Swap boxes

Today in science we observed, predicted and shared our ideas to try to find out what was inside the mystery box.

Group A: We learned that when we talked in our groups we were given more clues. Scientists’ ideas can change when they have more information.

Group B: We learned that scientists talk and discuss their ideas and their ideas can change. Scientists ideas change when they are given more information. Science is always changing.

Group C: We learned that scientists’ ideas change if they are given more information. We can change our minds if we look carefully at the evidence. Scientists are always asking questions and keep looking for answers. Our ideas can change and science is always changing.

Group D: We learned that scientific ideas change. To be sure of our scientific ideas, we need more information or by discussing it with others.

Source: Observation and the mystery box

All the ideas belong to the students and wherever possible, student responses were compared to the work of scientists. As their teacher, I was impressed at how they are beginning to ask more questions and beginning to understand that their ideas can change depending on the information that is presented to them. I also noted that they are looking a lot closer at the evidence and coming to terms with not always needing to have the right answer.

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