Course Material 1D: Black Box
As an introduction to scientific inquiry through modeling, students observe what happens when various amounts of water are poured into a "black box" and propose models to explain their observations. While any "black box" would serve the purpose of this activity, our students make observations of a box (24"x12"x8") that has a funnel in the top inlet tube and a long outlet tube at the bottom. When water is poured into the funnel, students observe that sometimes, water emerges through the outlet tube and sometimes it does not. Also, the amount of water that does emerge is not constant.
A typical pattern of data would be:
The focus of student work during this material (which typically takes two weeks to complete) is data collection, pattern recognition, and model building. Supplemental student activities, such as a pattern recognition activity and a model reading, are used to provide explicit instruction about individual components of model building and assessment. Successful completion of this material involves:
Throughout this material, each student completes several activities and homework assignments (see Student Activities). Additionally, each group prepares and presents a poster of their final black box models.