Modelling Scientific Exploration and Discovery - July 2010, Stage 3&4

This month our problems and games model the process of scientific exploration and discovery. When you first begin tackling a problem, you might make some observations which could lead to a tentative, incomplete theory or hypothesis. You might try something rather random to test your hypothesis, which you subsequently modify. Then you will become more systematic in your testing and your hypothesis will be reconstructed based on your new insight. At any time, the theory you have is the one that best fits the evidence you have gathered so far.

Problems

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Reaction Timer

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

This problem offers you two ways to test reactions - use them to investigate your ideas about speeds of reaction.

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Four Coloured Lights

Age 11 to 14 Challenge Level:

Imagine a machine with four coloured lights which respond to different rules. Can you find the smallest possible number which will make all four colours light up?

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Charlie's Delightful Machine

Age 11 to 16 Challenge Level:

Here is a machine with four coloured lights. Can you develop a strategy to work out the rules controlling each light?

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A Little Light Thinking

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Here is a machine with four coloured lights. Can you make two lights switch on at once? Three lights? All four lights?

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How Do You React?

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

To investigate the relationship between the distance the ruler drops and the time taken, we need to do some mathematical modelling...

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Guessing the Graph

Age 14 to 16 Challenge Level:

Can you suggest a curve to fit some experimental data? Can you work out where the data might have come from?