GROUP SIZE: Large in pairs
TIME: 30 to 45 minutes
TYPE OF ACTIVITY: Student Investigation
TEACHING STRATEGY: Expository and Discovery
CONCEPTS: ESP Telepathy “Fair” Experiments
SKILLS: Identification and Control of Variables
Objectives: To duplicate ESP experiments tried by some of the astronauts; to develop methods of experimental data collection and experimental control.
Materials: ESP cards from study sheet; data recording sheet for each student.
Teacher Background Information: An experiment which took place on one space flight dealt with ESP and Telepathy.
An astronaut tried to “send” thoughts to a person on the ground and visa versa. Quite a bit of scientific work is going on now in both the United States and Russia to test whether or not persons do have some ability to send information by thought wave alone. The following activity uses the same ESP cards the astronauts used in their experiment.
- Run off the cards from the activity sheet on card stock or heavy paper if possible. You will need 5 each of the 5 designs.
- Have students make a data sheet. (See illustration)
- Have the students consider how to set up a “fair” experiment. What variables need to be controlled? How should the data be recorded? How will a record of the actual cards turned be recorded? How should the data be evaluated? What is the probability of a correct response by chance? How many correct responses indicate ESP sensitivity?
- Suggested format…Have two students take a set of twenty five cards out of sight of the other students. Have one student turn the cards over one at a time and think of the card turned. Have the second student record on a response sheet what the card was and say “first card, second card,” etc. until all twenty five have been turned. Have the students record the number of the card under the symbol on their sheet. (see the sample).
- Have the students circle their correct responses as a student reads from the master list.
- Repeat the experiment at least one more time and preferably twice.
- Evaluate the data. If there are students who consistently get more than 9 or 10 correct responses try to test them separately. Some researchers say that about one in five persons has ESP powers. How does your class data stack up against this?
Extensions: Research the findings of the astronauts. Try additional experiments in ESP including: A. Clairvoyance, B. Precognition, C. Psychokinesis.