This article describes an exemplary robot exercise which was conducted in a class for mechatronics students. The goal of this exercise was to engage students in scientific thinking and reasoning, activities which do not always play an important role in their curriculum. The robotic platform presented here is simple in its construction and is customizable to the needs of the teacher. Therefore, it can be used for exercises in many different fields of science, not necessarily related to robotics. Here we present a situation where the robot is used like an alien creature from which we want to understand its behavior, resembling an ethological research activity. This robot exercise is suited for a wide range of courses, from general introduction to science, to hardware oriented lectures.