Creating mystery around something always is a good thing. Even if students don't totally believe you 100%, they'll play along just because it's different...it's intriguing.
Teaching the scientific method is never going to be on the top of any 11 year old's list of things to learn. That's why I wrapped it inside the Mastodon Matrix project. The school secretary played along with me and came in holding bags of dirt.....sputtering about where did they go and she didn't know because there were just a bunch of numbers on the bag.
Now that we had the bags of soil in our possession spread out all over the floor, writing their ideas down, drawing elaborate diagrams of how their questions could connect.
It took us an entire class period to get ideas onto the post-its and to find categories for big ideas. Once I was into the class by about 5 minutes, I totally knew it was the right decision. In each class, I had at least one student who just drifted towards the board and starting re-arranging the post-its as each person read their idea aloud and added it to the pile.
I asked them to share what they were doing...heck, if they saw a need, it probably would make sense to all the other kids. It did. And they would debate each category. I finally decided I needed to get over myself and just enjoy the process.
It's what I always hoped for but never got everyone to buy into. I get it now. I was in the way and they needed me to clear out so they could work with the ideas until it made sense to them in whatever context they brought to class.
Natural leaders emerged. Kids that I wouldn't have picked. It fantastic to see the personality of each class emerge and tackle the exact same task in different ways.