# 2.2: Procedure

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1. Each team should obtain one box. Each box has some unknown item inside. You will be attempting to characterize (i.e., describe) the item without ever seeing it or touching it.

2. Make some preliminary observations (e.g. lift, rotate, shake the box). Form a hypotheses and justify or explain them, (e.g., “I hypothesize that box #4 contains two coins, because those items would be light, as is box #4, and make the kind of ‘clanking’ sounds we hear from the box.”). Your entire group must agree on the contents!

3. Make predictions that follow from your hypotheses (hypothesize and explain) (If there are two coins in the box, slowly tipping the box should produce sounds like one coin sliding, followed by another.) Write it down, being as explicit as possible. What were you looking for and why? Test your predictions.

4. Draw conclusions/interpret the results, i.e., would you reject or fail-to-reject your hypothesis? Make sure you explain your conclusion/interpretation.

5. Interpret the results, i.e., would you reject or fail-to-reject your hypothesis? Make sure you explain your interpretation.

Keeping track of each hypothesis on scratch paper, repeat steps 1 & 2 with each of the other boxes. Remember, your team must agree upon the contents of each box. Further instruction will be given by your instructor.

Importantly, you may never look inside the box. This is an important lesson of this exercise. Scientists often do not get to look “inside the box.” Your sense of this idea will increase during this semester. Thus, good scientists always entertain the notion that what they think is completely wrong. The scientific method is what defines the scientist. Science is a process by which things can be known.

This page titled 2.2: Procedure is shared under a Public Domain license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Alexey Shipunov.