Making the "black box" model more transparent
Kaatje Kraft, Mesa Community College,
and Annia Fayon, Merry Wilson, Erin Peters, Nicole LaDue, Christy Briles, Jim McDougall, and Ron Narode. Co-developed at the 2008 Metacognition WorkshopAuthor Profile
Students will work with a "mystery box" to determine it's contents through an inductive reasoning process in order to better understand how models are used for geoscientific ways of knowing.
Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications
This is appropriate for any introductory geology/geoscience class.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Students must be able to communicate in writing and orally
How the activity is situated in the course
This is ideally toward the beginning of the course in which the common thread throughout the class is how geoscientists use models for understanding which then helps them to make meaning of the natural world. This will provide a concrete experience for students to tie this abstract concept for a novice.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Describe how a model is used in the scientific process for geoscientists
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Students will devise hypotheses, interpret observations, use evidence to support claims and draw conclusions.
Other skills goals for this activity
Working in groups
Description of the activity/assignment
Students will interact with a mystery box with "mystery internal contents." Through a general inquiry process, they will attempt to determine it's contents without seeing the materials. The general steps are below:
1) Generate ideas with the mystery box
2) Share out ideas in a Poster Session/Gallery Walk
3) Recreate your box with limited materials
4) Discuss how this represents geologic ways of thinking
Metacognitive components of the activityThere are multiple opportunities for student reflection throughout the activity in order to reflect on their learning and their confidence level.
Metacognitive goals for this activity:Assist students in connecting their own ways of thinking (habits of mind) with those of a geoscientist.
Assessing students' metacognitionStudents who actively engage with content are more likely to be able to visualize the content goals and reflection is an important way for students to clarify their own meaning making process.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Student reflections, student poster presentations, student discussionsMore information about assessment tools and techniques.
Teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment (Microsoft Word 41kB Nov21 08)
- Instructors Notes (Microsoft Word 28kB Nov21 08)
- This activity has supplemental information submitted as part of the InTeGrate Teaching the Methods of Geoscience workshop in June 2012.