What's Inside? An activity on experiment, hypotheses, and inference

Stephen Shawl
University of Kansas (Emeritus)
Pima Community College (Part-time adjunct)
Author Profile
Initial Publication Date: June 24, 2009


Students learn about the nature of science by experimenting with little black boxes containing a steel ball as a probe of the interior structure of the box. Students make testable hypotheses, text them and modify them, and compare with results found by other students. Further descriptions and activity sheets are attached.

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Learning Goals

  • None beyond a better understanding of the nature of science.

Process of Science Goals

  • Scientific method
  • Experimentation
  • Inference

Context for Use

This activity can be used with all grade levels. Class size limitations come from the number of items purchased, but they can be used in small groups of 2-3 students. It is an excellent introduction to a discussion of the nature of science.

Description and Teaching Materials

Files include a brief description of the equipment, the author's version of the student activity sheet, and a page showing what the insides of the black boxes look like.

Teaching Notes and Tips

See attached documents


References and Resources