Two wires exit a black box that has three exposed light bulbs connected together in an unknown configuration. The task for students is to determine the circuit configuration without opening the box. In the activity described in this paper, we navigate students through the process of making models, developing and conducting experiments that can support or falsify models, and confronting ways of distinguishing between two different models that make similar predictions. We also describe a twist that forces students to confront new phenomena, requiring revision of their mental model of electric circuits. This activity is designed to mirror the practice of science by actual scientists and expose students to the “messy” side of science, where our simple explanations of reality often require expansion and/or revision based on new evidence. The purpose of this paper is to present a simple classroom activity within the context of electric circuits that supports students as they learn to test hypotheses and refine and revise models based on evidence.

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