Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Day 1- What do plants really need? - Section 4: Explore


Writing Hypotheses

I find my student often struggle with writing hypotheses in science. Often times, they make a guess without really applying any background knowledge in forming it. Or at the end of the investigation, they want to change it based on the outcome of an investigation because they want it to be correct. This is where I have to work with them to help them understand the true meaning and purpose of a hypothesis. I explain that a hypothesis is more than taking a guess or even making an educated guess at that, rather it is a temporary explanation for an observation or phenomenon. It is applying prior knowledge and understanding to make sense of the possible outcome during a science investigation. I continuously work on unraveling their preconceived notion that if their hypothesis is not correct, they are incorrect. I explain that is when learning takes places and that some of the greatest scientific discoveries and theories have been made as a result.

A good hypothesis needs to be clear and testable, meaning an investigation happens so observations and measurements can be made. This data serves as evidence to conclude if a hypothesis was correct or not. One way I help students generate a good hypothesis is using sentence frames. These prompt them to think beyond guessing and engage them in applying higher order thinking skills. I try to have them explain and provide some rationale to their statement.  Some frames I typically use with my students include:

  • I predict _____________ I think this because
  • I hypothesize that ______________ because
  • I think this____________, then (this) _______________will happen.


The process is new to many of my students as they have a limited science background. The sentence stems help structure their thinking when writing a hypothesis.


  Writing Hypotheses
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Writing Hypotheses
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Day 1- What do plants really need?

Unit 3: Ecosystems and Interactions
Lesson 11 of 19

Objective: SWBAT plan and conduct an investigation to determine what plants need to grow.

Big Idea: Students will use evidence to support an argument that plants obtain nutrients mostly from air and water.

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11 teachers like this lesson
plants, Science, Ecosystems, interaction
  60 minutes
collage planting plants
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