Mystery Box Project Builds Experimental Design Skills


Eighth-graders put their observation and problem-solving skills to the test this fall as they attempted to discover the mechanism inside a "Mystery Box" in science class. The wooden box featured two tubes and two funnels which allowed it to accept and release water at varying rates. After pouring specific amounts of water into the box, students observed how much water was released then developed hypotheses as to the mechanism inside the box that either held or released the water. This inquiry-based exercise resulted in a number of creative solutions – which students depicted through models and drawings – and taught them the value of explaining their observations when there is more than one correct answer.

This unique project combined everything students have learned about experimental design throughout their time at Langley and synthesized it into a collective inquiry experience that allowed them to think more broadly about how to determine what might be happening when they don't have the full picture.