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How to create a hypothesis

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calvinandhobbes toast

Suppose that your car will not start. Create a hypothesis.

“My car does not start because the battery is low.”


* If the headlight switch was left on for a long time, this would result in a battery drain.

* The starter will make a certain type of sound if the battery is dead (many of you will know what I am talking about here.)

  • If the battery is dead, the voltage across the battery terminals will be much lower than normal.

Experiment: Test to see if predictions are verified or refuted

* Check whether the lights were left on.

* Insert the key and turn it; listen to the sound of the engine.

* With the right device, check the voltage of the battery.

Evaluate the results:

If predictions are verified, then our hypothesis was confirmed.

If predictions are refuted then our hypothesis must be rejected.

If that’s the case then we come up with another hypothesis, e.g.  “The starter is broken”, or “Out of gas”, etc.

How to write a hypothesis

Your hypothesis must be something you can test.

“If I do [this], then [that] will happen.”

If I [give flower seeds an organic fertilizer] then [they will sprout faster than those fed a synthetic fertilizer].


BAD – Planets move around the Sun at different speeds, because different angels push them. – This is untestable.

GOOD – Planets move around the Sun at different speeds, because at different distances from the Sun, they experience a different amount of pull from the Sun’s gravity. – This is testable.

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