Reflection: Student Ownership The Egg in a Flask Mystery (Day 1 of 2) - Section 6: Empirical Investigations & Model Elaboration/Revision


I think that my expectations for this activity were lofty.  After sensing a need for more initial structure and guidance, I modeled the process of how to develop a need to know using temperature as our first measurement.  

I started by saying, "Okay, we know that there was heat involved because the matches were ignited.  How can we see if there was a temperature change in the flask?  

"We can measure the temperature before the matches are ignited (perform task: temperature equals 27.2 C) and we can then measure the temperature after the matches are ignited and dropped into the flask (perform task: drop an ignited match into flask and get a temperature of 29.3 C).  

So we just recorded data that suggests that the matches changed the temperature by 2.1 C.  What else do we need to know?  What about the temperature outside the flask?"  

This was my think aloud that I modeled for them.  I then said that this is what your group conversations should sound like.  I reiterated that all ideas matter and that they will be respected.  I told them that our goal now is to collect evidence that either supports or refutes (doesn't support) our present explanations to help explain (model) how the egg got into the flask.  

I think that starting with temperature is good because students can relate to the concept.

As opposed to performing the next section, I changed the lesson to have students create a "need to know" list.  Here are some of the questions that they came up with:

  • Is there another way to introduce heat without matches that would result in the same outcome? 
  • Does the egg have to be fully peeled to fall in?
  • What if we put the flask on the hot plate--would it still go into flask?
  • How hot is the egg before and after?
  • Would the egg fall through if there were zero matches ignited?

Now that students have their need to know list, their investigations with the simulations tomorrow will have more context.

  Let Students Find Their Way
  Student Ownership: Let Students Find Their Way
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The Egg in a Flask Mystery (Day 1 of 2)

Unit 1: NGSS Science and Engineering Practices and the Nature of Science
Lesson 2 of 11

Objective: SWBAT develop an understanding of the nature of science by developing a model, supported by evidence, to explain how the egg gets into a flask.

Big Idea: Get your kids excited to be in science by presenting the egg challenge lesson. Students will develop important NGSS practices by determining how the egg got into the flask!

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