Reflection: Grappling with Complexity In the Heat of the Summer: Density Test - Section 5: Application


So many times in science education, in the pursuit of coverage we give students labs that have a pre-determined outcome. I think this is a dangerous phenomenon for a couple of reasons. First, it inaccurately portrays the scientific endeavor as a process by which we get a nice neat correct answer, when in fact, noting could be further from the truth. Often times scientists discover something that is then wildly debated and contested for decades before a consensus is reached. While labs that have a clearly defined answer are appropriate tools to introduce or reinforce scientific ideas, labs that do not have a clear cut answer forces students to grapple with the uncertainty that is a hallmark of the scientific endeavor. Data is often inconclusive and often raises more questions than it answers. This lab does that. 

  Getting the "right" answer
  Grappling with Complexity: Getting the "right" answer
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In the Heat of the Summer: Density Test

Unit 2: Forensics
Lesson 1 of 6

Objective: Students will be able to conduct a density test as they work towards building a body of evidence in an attempted murder mystery.

Big Idea: Density is a tool that forensic scientists use to match glass samples to the scene of a crime.

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  60 minutes
broken window
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