Using a “Mystery Box” for Inquiry

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One of the strategies that we can use for promoting inquiry is a mystery box.  A mystery box is a great way to introduce any concept and grab students’ interest and attention. This strategy can be used over and over again.

In exploring the unit of inquiry on “How the world works”, students were introduced to a mystery box filled with 10 to 15 objects. The unit of inquiry has the central idea, “machines bring efficiency and convenience in people’s lives.”

In making use of the mystery box, examples of simple machines like rolling pin, a pair of scissors, and a paper hole punch machine were in it.  Students were then asked to grab one object from the box with their eyes closed. Afterwards, they guessed the object and described it through their sense of touch.

The learning engagement was integrated with language. Students used adjectives to describe the object that they got from the mystery box as shown in the following example.

1
“I feel it is smooth. I think it is made of wood and I can feel one part is moving.”
2
It is a wooden rolling pin. It is hard and smooth. If the rolling pin was not invented, my hands will hurt”.

After using a few adjectives to describe what they had touched, the students were then asked to open their eyes to talk more about the object as presented below.

blog3
It is a wooden rolling pin. It is hard and smooth. If the rolling pin was not invented, my hands will hurt”.
blog4.jpg
The paper punch machine is heavy and hard. It looks shiny.  If the paper punch machine was not invented, we cannot fix the papers in the folder and we might miss the papers.”

During the learning engagement, students talked about the name and use of the object as well as what would happen if the tool was not invented. Students gave responses such as, “It will be difficult to knead the dough flat. We will feel tired if we have to use our hands” and “It would be difficult to cut vegetables and fruits if the knife was not invented.”

Apart from using their senses, the mystery box learning engagement helped the students practice on their language skills, learn new vocabulary, and enhanced their thinking skills. After the learning engagement, students reflected and collected their thoughts using a concept map, which they used for writing a descriptive text.

Students found the mystery box learning engagement interesting and they were able to make a connection with their daily life. Students also better understood the importance of machines.

By: Rajeswari Chandrasekar

Grade 1 Class Teacher

BINUS SCHOOL SIMPRUG
raji@binus.edu

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One thought on “Using a “Mystery Box” for Inquiry

    Naila shahid said:
    February 28, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    It is really interesting and worked alot for me too as i was also starting this unit

    Like

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