Nicholas R. Perrone
After each group decides on a focused problem to analyze, they must take some time to do a little more research on that one area (i.e. distance from school to New York City). That research does not need to take much time since it is merely to give the students an idea as to what might be the answer. The possible answer will enable the students to create an “If…, then…” statement (i.e. If we encourage our class to walk, then we will walk a far enough distance to reach New York City from the school). This statement becomes the hypothesis for their project. It will be answered by the data they collect. Every effort must be made to make sure this hypothesis may be adequately proven one way or the other. Again, the teacher must guide students in creating a hypothesis that analyzes only one variable. The following information will help in providing the structure in developing a solid hypothesis.
To introduce variables, it is recommended that the students formulate statements like, “I will change…”, “I will measure…”, “I will not change (so that it is fair)…”, and “I will not measure…” in order to identify the variables of the investigation in a kid-friendly way. The next step is to identify the students’ predictions of the question, “When I change…what will happen to…?” Therefore, the students must answer this statement: “Based upon this question, I predict…”
These sentences clauses might be given to the students in the form of an activity sheet or written on a board for them to answer in science journals.