# ACTIVITY 1 Introducing Inquiry and the Nature of Science

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4 CHAPTER 6 69 Activities for Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science For the remainder of the second class period you should introduce the story of an actual scientific discovery. Historic examples such as Charles Darwin would be ideal. You could also assign students to prepare brief reports that they present. Elaborate The main purpose of the second cube is to extend the concepts and skills introduced in the earlier activities and to introduce the role of prediction, experiment, and the use of technology in scientific inquiry. The problem is the same as the first cube: What is on the bottom of the cube? Divide the class into groups of three and instruct them to make observations and propose an answer about the bottom of the cube. Student groups should record their factual statements about the second cube. Let students identify and organize their observations. If the students are becoming too frustrated, provide helpful suggestions. Essential data from the cube include the following (see black-line master): Names and numbers are in black. Exposed sides have either a male or female name. Opposing sides have a male name on one side and a female name on the other. Names on opposite sides begin with the same letters. The number in the upper-right corner of each side corresponds to the number of letters in the name on that side. The number in the lower-left corner of each side corresponds to the number of the first letter that the names on opposite sides have in common. The number of letters in the names on the five exposed sides progresses from three (Rob) to seven (Roberta). Four names, all female, could be on the bottom of the cube: Fran, Frances, Francene, and Francine. Because there are no data to show the exact name, groups might have different hypotheses. Tell the student groups that scientists use patterns in data to make predictions and then design an experiment to assess the accuracy of their prediction. This process also produces new data. Tell groups to use their observations (the data) to make a prediction of the number in the upperright corner of the bottom. The predictions will most likely be 4, 7, or 8. Have the team decide which corner of the bottom they wish to inspect and why they wish to inspect it. The students might find it difficult to determine which corner they should inspect. Let them struggle with this and even make a mistake this is part of science! Have one student obtain a utensil, such as a tweezers, probe, or tongue depressor, and a mirror. The student may lift the designated corner less than one inch and use the mirror to look under the corner. This simulates the use of technology in a scientific investigation. The groups should describe the data they gained by the experiment. Note that the students used technology to expand their observations and understanding about the cube, even if they did not identify the corner that revealed the most productive evidence. If students observe the corner with the most productive information, they will discover an 8 on the bottom. This observation will confirm or refute the students working hypotheses. Francine or Francene are the two possible names on the bottom. The students propose their answer to the question and design another experiment to answer the question. Put the cube away without revealing the bottom. Have each of the student groups present brief reports on their investigation. Evaluate The final cube is an evaluation. There are two parts to the evaluation. First, in groups of three, students must create a cube that will be used as the evaluation exercise for other groups. After a class period to develop a cube, the student groups should exchange cubes. The groups should address the same question: What is on the bottom of the cube? They should follow the same rules for example, they cannot pick up the cube. The groups should prepare a written report on the cube developed by their peers. (You may have the students present oral reports using the same format.) The report should include the following: title, the question they pursued, observation data, experiment new data,

5 Teaching About 70 Evolution and the Nature of Science proposed answer and supporting data, a diagram of the bottom of the cube, and suggested additional experiments. Due to the multiple sources of data (information), this cube may be difficult for students. It may take more than one class period, and you may have to provide resources or help with some information. Remember that this activity is an evaluation. You may give some helpful hints, especially for information, but since the evaluation is for inquiry and the nature of science you should limit the information you provide on those topics. Student groups should complete and hand in their reports. If student groups cannot agree, you may wish to make provisions for individual or minority reports. You may wish to have groups present oral reports (a scientific conference). You have two opportunities to evaluate students on this activity: you can evaluate their understanding of inquiry and the nature of science as they design a cube, and you can assess their abilities and understandings as they figure out the unknown cube.

6 CHAPTER 6 71 Activities for Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science Cube #1 Bottom

7 Teaching About 72 Evolution and the Nature of Science ALFRED Cube #2 3 ROBERTA 6 5 FRANK ROB 3 ALMA 2 8 FRANCENE Bottom 4

8 CHAPTER 6 73 Activities for Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science Cube #3

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