Tag Archives: scientific process

Developing a hypothesis: Mystery tubes

Finally I know why I’ve been collecting empty toilet paper and kitchen paper rolls for ages: To build mystery tubes!


Mystery tube

I only built a prototype, but it works just fine.

So here is what you do with it:

And now it’s your turn. How does the mystery tube work?

I can’t wait to use mystery tubes to introduce students to the scientific method. Obviously I would make sure to tape off the open ends of the roll so nobody can have a peek inside! The students can play with the tube and then start developing hypotheses on how the mystery tube works. Ideally, I would bring all kinds of materials for them to build their own tubes to test their hypotheses.

For this exercises to be as close to real-life science as possible, I think it is important to never reveal the solution and not have them check it out, either. Building a model and not knowing whether it is an exact replica of the real world or if it only worked fine for all cases we tried it on, but would break down on a different case, is part of the game after all!

P.S.: I got the idea here.

P.P.S.: Kristin, what do you think?