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Investigating the Magic Hooey Stick

John Banister-Marx

Name:_______________________________ #____
Period:__________       Date:_____________

After attempting to master the psychic forces of the Magic Hooey Stick, answer the following questions:

  1. Were you able to make the Magic Hooey Stick respond to your commands?

  2. Explain the difference between a scientific explanation and a supernatural explanation. Is one explanation "better" than the other? Explain your position.

  3. Why is a supernatural explanation for the motion of the Magic Hooey Stick not acceptable in a science class?

  4. Why would some cultures actually prefer one type of explanation over another?

  5. What is your scientific explanation? How sure are you that your explanation is the correct explanation? What else could you do to increase the confidence in your explanation?

  6. If someone were unable to collect scientific evidence to explain how the Hooey Stick works, does this absence of evidence provide "proof" for the claim that the Hooey Stick operates under influence of psychic powers? Explain why or why not?

  7. If someone were able to develop and verify a scientific explanation for how the Hooey Stick works, does this necessarily eliminate the possibility of a supernatural cause for your teacher's ability to make the stick move? Explain.

  • Extension: In a prescientific age an appropriate explanation for the Magic Hooey Stick might have focused on its mythical origin and some moral lesson or theistic power. Develop a one paragraph myth that is relevant to some culture (real or fictitious) and does not attempt to be scientific, but is emotionally pleasing, morally instructive, and socially reassuring.

Making Hooey Sticks     Answers     Teacher Notes     Letter

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