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General Science and Teaching

Hypothesis and Prediction

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I teach my students that a hypothesis needs some observations, research,  and can be tested through experiential methods. I think of a hypothesis more like a claim that I will either provide or test for evidence to support it. A prediction, on the other hand, is a guess that you then follow up with observations or an actual act, such as predicting which card you might turn over in a 52-card deck. I wouldn't hypothesize what card I would turn over. 

Hope this helps you.

Elke Harrell Elke Harrell 10 Points

'Hi William, This thread from that you have posted is incorrect, unfortunately, but does represent a common misconception that pervades student thinking. I think your source, by saying things like hypotheses have no proof to back them up and 'founded on nothing' is contrary to what a hypothesis is. 

'A hypothesis is a tentative explanation that can be tested and is based on observation and/or scientific knowledge such as that which has been gained from doing background research.... Hypotheses are developed to explain observations, such as notable patterns in nature.... Calling a hypothesis a 'guess' [as implied in the source you shared] undermines the explanation that underscores a hypothesis....'

[Keeley, P., Eberle, F., and Dorsey, C. (2008). Uncovering Student Ideas in Science: Another 25 Formative Assessment Probes. NSTA Press. Arlington, VA. p. 102-103]

Hypotheses can lead to predictions, and a good prediction should include hypotheses I would think. 

'The process of formulating and testing hypotheses is one of the core activities of scientists. To be useful, a hypothesis should suggest what evidence would support it and what evidence would refute it. A hypothesis that cannot in principle be put to the test of evidence may be interesting, but it is not likely to be scientifically useful.' 

[American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). (1990). Science for All Americansfive nights at freddy's. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 5]

I just didn't want you to get off track from that resource, but since you posted nearly six months ago, it is possible you have already discovered that the source is in error. 




Mighty thanks for this. Really helpful and extremely important.

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