Draw-a-Scientist/Mystery Box Reduxby: Ann Cavallo

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The sequence of activities presented here—Draw-a-Scientist and the Mystery Box Redux—were designed to help students better understand the nature of science (NOS) and engage them in the process of scientific inquiry. As a result, students begin to view themselves as scientists and realize that they already have the skills and thought processes necessary to be successful in the field.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (3)
  • on Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:15 PM

One of my favorite Science & children articles is Draw –a-Scientist/Mystery Boxes. I not only did this with my students,a multiage grade 5/6, I actually used some this in one of the presentations I did for an NSTA conference. Let me tell you about the content of the article. Cavallo does say these activities were successfully implemented with students of grades 4 – 6. This article is a great one to consider using the first day of school so you can see what students aere really thinking before they have the opportunity to try to figure out what you as the teacher would like to see. The students are asked to draw a scientist on one side of the paper and define science on the back. Discussions follow which help to reveal sterotypes . This discussion and the questions that need to be asked are explained in detail in the article. Cavallo then introduces the students to many scientists of different gender, ethnicities. She next has students describe what they wrote in answering the questio

Kathy Renfrew  (Barnet, VT)
Kathy Renfrew (Barnet, VT)

  • on Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:48 PM

I highly recommend this article. I have done the activities with my 5/6th grade students as well as used this in numerous professional development situations. The Draw A Scientist activity allows teachers to get a handle on what students honestly think when they hear the word "scientist". Students have many naive conceptions about who can be scientists and what they do. The drawings initiated dialogue about scientists. Students are expected to explain why they drew the scientists as they did. The next step is to use the mystery containers. After participating in these events students really begin to develop an understanding that scientists do not immediately find answers to their questions. A word of caution...although this is an outstanding activity dealing with the nature of science, both students and adults alike struggle when they realize I am not going to tell them what is in the mystery container. I think all elementary teachers should try these activities with their

Kathy Renfrew  (Barnet, VT)
Kathy Renfrew (Barnet, VT)

  • on Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:46 PM

I am currently going to school to become a teacher and I think this game would be so much fun as an Ice Breaker Game the first few days of school. It is a few way to hear what your classmates have to say and you can get to know you classmates better. I recommend this article and that you try this in your classroom. I think your students will have fun and learn a lot


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