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Mystery Boxes: Uncertainty and Collaboration
This lesson teaches students that scientific knowledge is fundamentally uncertain. Students manipulate sealed mystery boxes and attempt to determine the inner structure of the boxes which contain a moving ball and a fixed barrier or two. The nature and sources of uncertainty inherent in the process of problem-solving are experienced. The uncertainty of the conclusions is reduced by student collaboration.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Lesson plan
Subject:
  • History and philosophy of science
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 1999 ENSI (Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes) This material may be copied only for noncommercial classroom teaching purposes, and only if this source is clearly cited.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-004-641
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Understanding about scientific inquiry
      • G - History and nature of science:
        • Nature of science
        • Science as a human endeavor
    • 9-12:
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • G - History and nature of science:
        • Nature of scientific knowledge
        • Science as a human endeavor
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes


Author: Dr Jean Beard
San Jose State University, Department of Biological Sciences