Scientific Method Challenge

Scientific Method Challenge
Do you think your group has
what it takes to solve this
problem correctly?
• It was a dark and dreadful night when we
discovered the disappearance of the
priceless Lighthouse Diamond. We all
thought it was safe and sound in our super
secure vault in the basement of the "You
Gotta Have It - Jewelry Store". But alas,
the only thing we found was a note and a
bag of white powder left in the vault. The
thief left them there to tease and taunt us ...
how humiliating this has been! We have
called you in because we need your
professional help in solving this mystery.
• After analyzing the evidence that was left
by the crook, by using the scientific method
and studying the profiles of the suspects
that have been named, your team of police
scientists will present your report to the
panel of Honorable Judges for possible
sentencing of our criminal. We hope we
have called in the right scientific team ...
YOU! Good Luck!!
• The Task
• Your ultimate goal is to find out who is the
mean and nasty culprit who committed this
crime. However ...
• First,
• you'll need to brush up on how do make a
Scientific Investigation. We don't want any
mess-ups and destroy all the evidence. You'll
investigate 6 different white powders, looking
at their different properties and reactions to
a few simple tests.
• Next,
• you'll need to investigate the evidence in the
bag that was left by using the Scientific
Method to determine what the white powder
is. (It could also be a combination of
different white powders; so be careful,
this crook is tricky!)
• Then,
• you'll want to compare the note (with clues)
that the thief left with the results of your
findings about the mysterious white powder
to see if you can find out who our criminal is.
• Finally,
• your scientific team must submit your
Scientific Method Sheet, Mystery Powder
Analysis Chart, Student Rubric, and your
Accusation Affidavit of who you think
committed this crime to the panel of
Honorable Judges.
• The Process
• Each member of your scientific team should
visit the web sites shown below to remember all
the steps to the Scientific Method. Use the
Scientific Method Sheet to help organize
• The Scientific Method Can be Used to Solve
Any Problem!
• Introduction to the Scientific Method
• The Scientific Method
• Then each member should become an expert in
one of the following areas and investigate their
"cool" topic. Use the Mystery Powder Analysis
Chart to see if you can find out what reacts to
each of the white powders.
The Sugar Expert:
• Monitor Sugar Company: White Sugar
Storage, Shipping, and Packing
• How Sugar is Made
• Crystallization of White Sugar
• Some Interesting Facts about Sugar
The Salt and Flour Expert:
• Some Interesting Facts About Salt and
The Baking Soda and Corn Starch
• What is Baking Soda?
• Vinegar and Baking Soda
• Some Interesting Facts About Baking
Soda and Corn Starch
The Plaster of Paris Expert:
• Plaster of Paris
• Westroc Plaster of Paris - Specification
• Some Interesting Facts About Plaster of
• Now get to work...
• Work together using the Internet to to fully
understand the Scientific Method.
• Decide which of the four Experts each team
member wants to be and have each explore
their field on the Internet with the help of the
"Mystery Powder Analysis Chart". You will
want a copy for each member so they can find
information, properties, and what reacts with
their white powder. Each expert will need to
take notes about their subject and turn these
notes in to the Honorable Judges at the end of
this case.
• Using teamwork and a lot of care,
analyze the reactions of white sugar,
powdered sugar, flour, salt, baking soda,
and Plaster of Paris by following the
special "Mystery Powder Instruction
Sheet - Part I".
• Using teamwork and a lot of care,
analyze the sample of white powder left
by the "Lighthouse Diamond Theft"
following the special "Mystery Powder
Instruction Sheet - Part II".
• Compare "The Note" that was left by the
Lighthouse Diamond Theft to the
"Suspect List" telling about each suspect.
Now, knowing what the mystery powder
is, you can solve this case.
• Present your findings (Notes from each of
the four "Expert Fields", "The Scientific
Method Sheet", "Mystery Powder
Analysis Chart", "Final Accusation
Affidavit", and the "Scientific Team
Rubric") to the panel of Honorable
Judges for their decision on your job.
(Sorry you had to work like a dog, but
don't worry, your check will be in the
mail for all your hard work and
dedication .... arff ... arff...)
• Evaluation
• Your team will be judged on how well you work
as a scientific team. This will include all the
work you turn in; including each expert's notes,
"The Scientific Method Sheet, the "Mystery
Powder Analysis Chart" the "Final Accusation
Affidavit" and the "Scientific Team Rubric".
The Honorable Judges may decide to give
everyone in your scientific team the same grade
(if you all work the same amount) or you may
find they will give you different grades (if
someone in your group doesn't do their share of
the work).
• Scoring rubric
• Conclusion
• By the time your group reaches the end of
this quest, your team of scientific experts will
be able to use The Scientific Method to solve
a crime! Your group will also be great at
analyzing white powders to determine what
they are and some of their properties and
reaction qualities to a few simple tests.
• Wouldn't it be interesting to see what real
tests are done by a real police laboratory and
see what kind of cases they have to solve?