Note: This lesson is designed to be used with a Triple Beam Balance
I have developed the Mystery Box Investigation as a way to practice both Science Process Skills as well as the use of several science tools. It is a great beginning of the year activity! The tools used include magnets, calculators and a triple beam balance scale. A triple beam balance does work best, however a basic scale could be substituted if needed. Note that if a scale is substituted, you are no longer measuring mass, you will technically be measuring weight. This activity is used only after the science process skills have been taught and reviewed.
Essentially, the students will use process skills along with tools to infer what object is hiding inside a mystery box. This process is repeated over until all mystery boxes the teacher has created have been examined. (I usually have 6 when completing this activity in my room.)
This product contains:
Step-By-Step Teacher Instructions (9 pages)
Mystery Box Labels (for 12 boxes)
Mystery Box Mass of Empty Box Labels (for 12 boxes)
Using a Triple Beam Balance Instructions
Triple Beam Balance Practice Page
Student Investigation Procedure Page
Mystery Box Recording Sheets (for 12 boxes)
The preparation of the mystery boxes does take a bit of time--you wrap up shoe boxes using construction or wrapping paper--but once that task is complete, they mystery boxes can be used with this activity for a significant number of years. Mine are currently 7 years old and still going strong!