Black Box Activity:
Scientific Process
Black Box Lab
• Purpose: find out what is inside the box
without opening it.
• Why: Real Science doesn’t have a magic
answer book. The key way to learn science
is by making observations and or
experimenting and collecting data.
A. Investigate the container, but do not open the
box. Record your observations – describe
types of sounds...
B. If you had all the money and scientific
equipment in the world, what other methods
might you use to make more observations?
C. Why is making observations the first step in
solving the question, "what is in the black
A. Make a hypothesis (an explanation that
might be true and can be tested through
experiments) about the contents of the
black box.
B. What evidence (data) did you base your
guess on?
Elements of an Experiment
The Elements of an Experiment:
Once a question or hypothesis has been formed, the scientists
turns their attention to answering the question (testing the
hypothesis) through experiments. An important step in designing an
experiment is identifying the variables involved.
• Variables are things that may be expected to change during the
– Scientists deliberately change the independent variable.
– The Scientists then measures the dependent variable to learn the
effect of changing the independent variable.
– It is also necessary to include control treatments in an experiment. A
control treatment is a treatment in which the independent variable is
either eliminated or set at a standard value.
• The results of the control treatment are compared to the results of
the experimental treatment. Another important part of experimental
design is replication.
• Replicating the experiments means that the scientist repeats the
experiments many times using exactly the same conditions to see if
the results are consistent.
Tomorrow you are going to be given materials
to run an experiment to investigate the contents
of the black box. Develop a procedure for
tomorrow’s experiment.
Materials will include: Use empty box and
provided objects -- string, paper clips...
Step 1)
Step 2)
Step 3)
Step 4)
Describe the results of using the procedure
Trial 1 object(s): ______________
Describe how close to sealed box # __
Trial 2 object(s): ______________
Describe how close to sealed box # __
Continue doing as many trials as necessary…
The hypotheses that
object(s) was/ were inside the black box
was (supported/ disproved) because…
(2-4 additional sentences) Describe how the data collected
comparing the original (control) box against the experimental
test box was similar or different based on objects placed
Each group member must write an
independent conclusion
Discussing before writing 
Same words and Same 2-4 additional sentences 
Suppose the teacher tells you your conclusion
is incorrect or is not completely correct.
List at least 2 reasons why you could have
made an incorrect or not completely
correct conclusion about what was in the
“black box”.
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