Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Free FUN!! Lesson on the Nature of Science and Inquiry--a.k.a. "CUBE OF SCIENCE!"

Cube of Science!
This is one of my favorite activities to do with my newest science students at the beginning of the school year.  I usually do this with my 6th graders, because I teach all three middle grades, and it is a great way to introduce the idea of SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY (also known as the scientific method, sometimes)--tons of fun!
Click here to download the PDF, with color and blackline masters of the cubes.
Click here to download the SMART Notebook file (interactive die) that has the same PDF as an attachment.

I didn't write this lesson, it is a lesson from a book called Teaching Evolution and the Nature of Science by the National Academy of Sciences.  I have used this lesson for TWELVE years in various iterations, and I am always pleased with the results.  

Ways that I have modified the lesson from it's current format:
1. I make a large number cube out of a cardboard box instead of giving out small ones.  We do the first part as a large group--I display the cube on a stool from a lab bench so the students cannot see the bottom.
2. I do not put anything on the bottom of the cube--no "accidents" that knock the cube down will reveal the answer...this drives the kids nuts, but (and?) it models the real 'no answer key' nature of science inquiry.  After all, there is no big book of science answers anywhere that tells the scientists if they got it right...
3. Generally, I don't let the kids use the mirrors or tongue depressors as "technology" models.    In fact, the students can't touch the cubes at all...they have to ask their classmates what is on the other side--they can't turn it themselves.  This models information sharing across the lab, state, country or globe that goes on with scientists around the world.


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