I go over observations with my students and the five senses we use to explore the world around us. We go over that we aren't using our sense of taste for this activity (no one wants to lick paper anyway) but all others are fair game.
They create a data table in their notebooks as we go over the expectation for writing evidence. They make a prediction about what is inside and work as a "lab group" in whisper voices to try to figure out the objects. They record their thoughts here:
This year, I used a Batman statue, a Princess Peach figurine, a Rubik's cube, an expo marker and a fuzzy cat toy that is shaped like a chicken. Students are given about five minutes per mystery bag and at the end, we reveal some of the objects. I don't reveal all of them because we have the discussion that sometimes scientists work really hard on something for years and don't know the correct answer. That awesome idea came from my colleague across the hall. I love that my grade level shares awesome ideas.
They will be exploring the remaining bags today and making predictions about what is inside!