Lab #1: Shoebox Observations Aim: After completing the lesson, students will be able to: 1. Distinguish between an observation and an inference 2. Distinguish between quantitative and qualitative observations of a scientific experiment 3. Record and organize data collected during an experiment. Key Question: "How do scientists describe the world we live in?" Overview: Students are asked to describe the objects hidden inside the box. This leads to an introduction of how a scientific experiment is performed through moving a box with unknown objects. The student is required to make a hypothesis and record quantitative and qualitative data in an organized manner. The lesson ends with an examination of the importance of observation in science, and the difference between an observation and an inference. Time Required: 1-2 class sessions. Materials: Cardboard box with several common objects sealed inside Meter Stick, Double Pan Balance, Known Mass Set. Procedure: 1. Using the small ruler measure the dimensions of the box. You are NOT permitted to look inside the box! 2. Using the double pan balance measure the mass of the box. 3. Tilt the box until one or more of the objects begins to move to move? 4. Repeat the process of tilting the box and record your observations and corresponding inferences. 5. After a class discussion of observations and inferences, re-examine the box and refine your observations and inferences. Teacher will reveal a single item in the box. 6. Repeat the process of tilting the box and refine your observations and corresponding inferences based on the new information provided by the teacher. 7. Repeat step 4 and 5 until all objects are revealed. Key questions: 1) How do you identify an observation from an inference? 2) Describe how your sense helps you investigate the unknown objects in the box. 3) How did you know the shape of the object hidden by the box? 4) How did you know the relative mass of the objects? 5) After the teacher revealed one of the objects, how did you refine your inferences?
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