Mystery Tubes, Models, and the Importance of Changing Our Minds

Scientific Observation: Mystery Tubes

This week students learned that to become a good scientist, you have to make specific and detailed observations so other people will understand what you have found or tested. We discussed the Scientific Method as a cyclical process and practiced writing and revising hypotheses to take new observations into account. 

For our activity, students had to make observations about what was happening in a sealed PVC ‘mystery tube’ without being able to see inside. Once they made their observations and wrote a hypothesis to explain what they observed, they worked in groups to build their own working models of the mystery tube. We finished up by talking about a real-life example of new data that led to a change in scientific understanding — the evolution in the model of the atom that occurred after the experiments of Ernest Rutherford in the late 1800’s.

This lesson was exciting, challenging and great fun to complete.

Observación: Tubos misteriosos

Hoy los estudiantes aprendieron que para ser un buen científico hay que realizar observaciones muy específicas y detalladas para que otras personas puedan entender lo que has hallado o comprobado.  En la clase introducimos los pasos del Método Científico, aprendimos cómo plantear hipótesis de manera correcta, las comprobamos y finalmente trabajamos reelaborando las observaciones para que coincidieran con las hipótesis.

En la actividad, los estudiantes tuvieron que hacer observaciones sobre qué es lo que pasa dentro de un tubo de PVC sellado (el tubo misterioso). Una vez que hicieron sus observaciones y escribieron una hipótesis para explicar lo que observaron, luego trabajaron en grupos para construir sus propios modelos del tubo misterioso. Finalizamos la clase con una discusión acerca de porqué la mayoría de los científicos utilizan modelos para facilitar la explicación de un fenómeno en sus investigaciones.

Esta clase fue un gran reto y muy divertida de realizar.


Dr. Catherine Sukow

Dr. Sukow's interest in science education began when she was a teenager, with an extended visit to San Francisco's Exploratorium. In college, she had summer jobs in a similar, smaller, museum. She focused her Master's research at NCSU on the structure of metal silicides on silicon, and her Ph. D. work at Brandeis on the structure of crossbridged actin bundles. While volunteering in her childrens' schools, she was reminded how much fun it is to teach science, and is happy to be teaching now with Science from Scientists. In her spare time, she also enjoys yoga, choral and solo singing, and attempting a variety of international cuisines.

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Our Young Pre classroom is for ages. This age group is working