P201 Menu


Is Seeing Believing?


How do scientists solve problems?

What is the nature of science?

How does science work?


Black boxes, scratch paper, Magnets, Marbles


1. You will be given 2 "black boxes." Explore these containers for five minutes.

You may do anything you wish except open them!

2. Sketch what you think the insides of the boxes look like.

3. Now exchange with someone in the room. Examine each others "black boxes"

for five minutes and review your ideas on what the inside looks like with one

another. Sketch your new and improved ideas as to what the inside looks like.

Summing Up:

1. How did you go about formulating your sketches?

2. Was your first diagram a guess? Why or why not? Generalize what came before

your first sketch.

3. What term do scientists give to their tentative guesses?



Teacher's notes for Seeing -- Believing

As you conduct a class discussion do not use the word hypothesis until later in the discussion,

possibly after the student has done so. You may want to allow the students to work through

their responses to the summing up questions as a group in class and then introduce the term

"hypothesis" as describing their ideas. Have the students define hypothesis (modify their

definition if necessary) prior to going on to "Believing is Seeing."

Construct black boxes by gluing irregular shaped pieces of wood and plastic to the bottom of the

boxes. As a probe use a small ball bearing or "steles." This will allow the student to use a

magnet and make a better guess as to what the inside of the box looks like.

An alternative approach to making 30 different boxes, would be to make 2 sets of 15 identical

boxes. This will increase the likelihood that the students will have similar descriptions of one

another's boxes.