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# Writing a good hypothesis worksheet for kids

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## What is a hypothesis?

No. A hypothesis is sometimes described as an educated guess. That’s not the same thing as a guess and not really a good description of a hypothesis either. Let’s try working through an example.

If you put an ice cube on a plate and place it on the table, what will happen? A very young child might guess that it will still be there in a couple of hours. Most people would agree with the hypothesis that:

An ice cube will melt in less than 30 minutes.

You could put sit and watch the ice cube melt and think you’ve proved a hypothesis. But you will have missed some important steps.

For a good science fair project you need to do quite a bit of research before any experimenting. Start by finding some information about how and why water melts. You could read a book, do a bit of Google searching, or even ask an expert. For our example, you could learn about how temperature and air pressure can change the state of water. Don’t forget that elevation above sea level changes air pressure too.

Now, using all your research, try to restate that hypothesis.

An ice cube will melt in less than 30 minutes in a room at sea level with a temperature of 20C or 68F.

But wait a minute. What is the ice made from? What if the ice cube was made from salt water, or you sprinkled salt on a regular ice cube?

Time for some more research. Would adding salt make a difference? Turns out it does. Would other chemicals change the melting time?

Using this new information, let’s try that hypothesis again.

An ice cube made with tap water will melt in less than 30 minutes in a room at sea level with a temperature of 20C or 68F.

Does that seem like an educated guess? No, it sounds like you are stating the obvious.

At this point, it is obvious only because of your research. You haven’t actually done the experiment. Now it’s time to run the experiment to support the hypothesis.

A hypothesis isn’t an educated guess. It is a tentative explanation for an observation, phenomenon, or scientific problem that can be tested by further investigation.

Once you do the experiment and find out if it supports the hypothesis, it becomes part of scientific theory.

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## What is a Hypothesis?

A hypothesis is a tentative, testable answer to a scientific question. Once a scientist has a scientific question she is interested in, the scientist reads up to find out what is already known on the topic. Then she uses that information to form a tentative answer to her scientific question. Sometimes people refer to the tentative answer as “an educated guess.” Keep in mind, though, that the hypothesis also has to be testable since the next step is to do an experiment to determine whether or not the hypothesis is right!

A hypothesis leads to one or more predictions that can be tested by experimenting.

Predictions often take the shape of “If ____then ____” statements, but do not have to. Predictions should include both an independent variable (the factor you change in an experiment) and a dependent variable (the factor you observe or measure in an experiment). A single hypothesis can lead to multiple predictions, but generally, one or two predictions is enough to tackle for a science fair project.

## Examples of Hypotheses and Predictions

How does the size of a dog affect how much food it eats?

Larger animals of the same species expend more energy than smaller animals of the same type. To get the energy their bodies need, the larger animals eat more food.

If I let a 70-pound dog and a 30-pound dog eat as much food as they want, then the 70-pound dog will eat more than the 30-pound dog.

Does fertilizer make a plant grow bigger?

Plants need many types of nutrients to grow. Fertilizer adds those nutrients to the soil, thus allowing plants to grow more.

If I add fertilizer to the soil of some tomato seedlings, but not others, then the seedlings that got fertilizer will grow taller and have more leaves than the non-fertilized ones.

Does an electric motor turn faster if you increase the current?

Electric motors work because they have electromagnets inside them, which push/pull on permanent magnets and make the motor spin. As more current flows through the motor’s electromagnet, the strength of the magnetic field increases, thus turning the motor faster.

If I increase the current supplied to an electric motor, then the RPMs (revolutions per minute) of the motor will increase.

Is a classroom noisier when the teacher leaves the room?

Teachers have rules about when to talk in the classroom. If they leave the classroom, the students feel free to break the rules and talk more, making the room nosier.

If I measure the noise level in a classroom when a teacher is in it and when she leaves the room, then I will see that the noise level is higher when my teacher is not in my classroom.