The Data Dilemma© Teacher Resources

The Data Dilemma©


While using The Data Dilemma© your students will experience the problem scientists face when new information indicates the mental model of the object they are researching needs to be modified. As each new data set is introduced and your students form a series of new models — using foam tangram pieces — they will learn that the practice of science is an ongoing process, not a set of facts published in a textbook or online. How many possible models can your students find?

We kindly ask that you NOT post photos of solved Data Dilemma puzzles on any websites or on social media to help prevent savvy students from finding solutions online. Thank you!

The Data Dilemma© Contents

Find information about the contents of The Data Dilemma© 12-Puzzle Set.


The Data Dilemma© Scenarios

Find several different scenarios you can use to facilitate a discussion on how scientific models evolve. Students will model the process of incorporating evidence into a working external representation of the data, as you walk through a scenario.


The Data Dilemma© Printable Puzzle

Find PDFs of The Data Dilemma you and/or your students can download and print. Cut out the tangram pieces to model how scientists incorporate new evidence into a working model of their research topic.


The Data Dilemma© Next Generation Science Standards

Connections to: A Framework for K-12 Science Education Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas*


The Data Dilemma© Teacher Notes

The Data Dilemma© activity is designed to model the practice of science in which scientists must incorporate new evidence into a working model of their research topic. Teams of students will use the 5 tangram pieces progressively to build larger triangle models. When new data won't fit the triangular model, your students will need to change their model into a geometric shape with the fewest possible sides.