Teaching how to write a hypothesis may be one of the trickiest components to teaching students about science. Ultimately, the most important phase of writing a hypothesis is not the actual putting together the sentence that becomes the hypothesis, but determining the testability of a question based on an observation that was made. The question that leads to the hypothesis must be testable and this can be a very discouraging step in the process. In order to write the question and ultimately make the hypothesis, the student must have a clear idea of what was occurring and from that clear idea must have a thought as to why the phenomenon might have occurred. This is can even be a daunting task for well-trained scientists.
So, how can we teach the process of writing a hypothesis without having a clear understanding about the phenomenon that is being studied? First, we must ignore what we don’t know and allow the student to guide us as we guide them in developing a hypothesis that shows his/her ability to make a prediction for outcome about the phenomenon. Second, it is extremely important to reiterate that it is all right to be wrong in your hypothesis. That the hypothesis is just the starting point of science and every experiment is a positive regardless of whether or not the eventual outcome matches the hypothesis.
While there are a number of ways to teach how to write a hypothesis, the most effect method for writing the hypothesis is the “if… then…” statement that gives a directional statement of expectation from the experiment while identifying the dependent (being measured or observed) and independent (being changed or manipulated) variables. Remember that the hypothesis must be detailed and give the possibility for two outcomes of measure, yes or no based on the support of the observational evidence. As was previously used, with the model lesson plan for observations, the lesson will be based on the “explain, explore, expand” model for lessons.