This is a great way to introduce the process of engineering and S.T.E.M. curriculum in an engaging and affordable way. Students will enjoy the process of figuring out how the Mystery Tube works. Their eagerness will lead them to launch into the process before they have gathered all the necessary information, but their failure to build a working model will not discourage them. Instead it will send them back to the drawing board over and over until they get it right. In the process they will learn about the research, design, building, testing, evaluation, and improvement cycle.
This activity is appropriate for students in upper elementary grades or can be adapted for middle school and high school students using the options listed in the procedure.