This is an exciting mini-inquiry lab that uses a common everyday classroom supply, pencils! In this inquiry lab activity students read a short newspaper article about a pencil thief who is sneaking into classrooms and breaking pencils. The police are hoping that if they can figure out how the bandit is breaking the pencils it can lead to a break in the case. At this point students get to put their observation and inference skills to work to help the police make observations and inferences about how six pencils were broken.
This lab is easy to modify to fit the level of your students. It is readily adaptable for students who need more support and equally easy to modify for students who are ready for increased rigor.
I usually use this lab to introduce science process skills and scientific thinking at the start of the school year, but it could fit nicely into a variety of science units.
The best science lab activities are safe activities. Use the Activity Behavior Guide to help communicate your behavior expectations during a lab to your students and their parents.
Activity Participation Grade Sheet
Created by Classroom 214
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