Mystery Conductors Day 2

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Students will be able to use their current knowledge of circuitry to detect a hidden wire.

Big Idea

Today's lesson will allow students to show what they know about circuits without having all of the materials given to them. They will have to define a problem and solve it as a group, using their prior knowledge.


3 minutes

In our previous lesson, Mystery Conductors Day 1, the students investigated how to detect a hidden wire by creating a circuit.  Many students were challenged with planning an open circuit that could be "completed" by the mystery box, which is a piece of cardboard folded in half.  There are 4 brads placed in the cardboard and are labeled A, B, C, and D.  Inside of the cardboard at least one wire is connected between two of the brads. 

I use the FOSS kits in my classroom, so these were supplied to me.  However, you could easily make them.  I suggest cardboard or poster board, so the wires are not easily felt. 

The students are prompted to consider what went well and what was a challenge in the prior session. Then, they are to discuss with their team how they will approach and solve the challenge, "How can we detect a hidden wire using what we know about circuitry?"



Mini Lesson

5 minutes

My mini lesson today is short because this session is a continuation of yesterday.  I simply remind the students that as scientists, they may run into situations that do not work.  This is a gift, as it will supply them with necessary information. 

I also remind them that they should draw schematics, discuss ideas prior to beginning, or rebuild what they had yesterday and revise if necessary. 

Then, I send them off to their workstations to begin their investigations. 

Active Engagement

20 minutes

As the students worked, I realized quickly that they were much more organized and efficient today, after yesterday's "planning and exploring" time. 

This group of students realized they had two hidden wires and were able to prove to me where they were located. After listening to them, I prompted them to draw their schematic and trade with another group. 

This team of boys had an interesting way of proving how they knew their circuit was a workable tool in detecting their wire.  They were also able to explain where the wire was. 

Following their explanation, one of the boys drew the schematic with their findings on the whiteboard for me. While looking at his drawing with him, I was able to help him revise his drawing and then use it to describe his findings. 


5 minutes

To close, I wrote the numbers of each Mystery Board on the whiteboard and asked students to report out where they detected the mystery wire.  While doing this, we were looking for validation of results as well as sharing detection strategies. 

My students love to share their thinking by agreeing and disagreeing. In this conversation, however, they were prompted to share their strategies, along with the results, which were obviously the same for each team. 

I also asked the students to share what they did differently today and what they learned about electricity.  Listen to how these students dissect their learning.