for the Journey North Teacher
in on Hypotheses
are tentative explanations that scientists make after observing objects
or events. They are based on their observations, current scientific understanding,
and previous knowledge or experiences, and they typically lead to investigations.
Use these approaches to help students connect to this important aspect
of science inquiry.
When youngsters read about student or professional scientists,
or view their video clips, have them ponder and respond to these types
is the team's hypothesis?
do you think they had already observed or known that led to that hypothesis?
other hypothesis or explanation do you think could be valid, and why?
could it be tested? How did the data support (or disprove) the hypothesis?
new questions did it raise?
it Looks Like
After observing that monarchs roosted on the same tree and branch
that a larger group had roosted on nights before, scientist Bill
Calvert hypothesized that scent attracted the second batch of
butterflies to roost. (He knew from his previous work and general
science knowledge that insects have aromatic chemicals called pheromones
that attract others of their species.) He then conducted an investigation
to test his hypotheses. In this case, his hypothesis turned out
to be incorrect so he considered other potential explanations for
As students observe a phenomenon in schoolyard, examine migration
data, or view video clips of the migratory animals they're tracking,
ask them to put forth hypotheses to explain what they've seen (e.g.,
Hummingbirds migrate when red flowers start to open). Then ask,
What have you observed or learned already that lead you to pose that
explanation? How could we go about testing it?
Science Investigations Links