How quickly can you determine which expression most accurately describes the animated interaction below? (click the play button to start; rewind button to restart)

var flashvars = {
initialURL: escape(document.location)
}
swfobject.embedSWF(
“../stories/2011/Fall/puzzle.swf”,
“puzzle”,
“575”,
“575”,
“9.0.0”,
“expressInstall.swf”,
flashvars
);

But not so fast… (click for more)

Whereas the 1 + 1 = 1 may be the obvious answer in expressing the interaction, 1 + 1 = 2 is equally valid given possible alternative explanations: Does the larger “creature” carry away the smaller creature as its young? Or maybe the smaller creature just flies away at a certain point? Do you have an alternative answer or explanation?

This is an example of how inference and analogy are as important to the acquisition of scientific knowledge as the making of observations—science is a creative endeavor. By incorporating that into the teaching of science it will help promote, according to WSU educational science teacher Judy Morrison, “making school science reflect the scientific endeavor.”

$(‘puzzle-answer’).setStyle(‘opacity’,’0′);
$(‘puzzle-reveal’).addEvent(‘click’, function(){
$(‘puzzle-answer’).fade(‘in’);
});

Based on the “footprint puzzle” used in teaching the nature of science, from the National Academy of Sciences. (from the free PDF version of the 1998 book Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science.)