Some English students have a hard time expressing complex ideas in short sentences. They don’t know how to summarize or synthesize information. This short lesson helps students overcome that barrier by teaching them how to construct a hypothesis with an easy to learn sentence pattern.
By the end of this lesson, students should be able to:
- define hypothesis
- use it to communicate and synthesize complex ideas
Student Level: intermediate +
Lesson time: 50-75 minutes
Extra resource: pdf file with images and suggested answers for class review.
Part 1. Overview: Hypothesis Sentence Pattern (10 minutes)
A hypothesis is a sentence which shows us how two different things are connected. There are many ways to write a hypothesis. This lessons focuses on one sentence pattern because it is easy to understand and use.
Here are some examples:
- The more water a plant gets, the faster the plant will grow.
- The more I study, the more I learn.
- The richer the country, the more waste is produced.
- The hotter the temperature, the more ice cream people buy.
When writing a hypothesis sentence, it is important to remember this:
- The things you are looking at must be measurable. These are called variables.
- That means, we have to be able to count or measure quantify the variables we are trying to connect.
Now look at the key words in the 4 hypothesis sentences above. How can we measure these different things?
Check this file for a few possible answers.
Part 2: Practice #1 (10 minutes)
In this short task, students apply their new found knowledge of the hypothesis sentence pattern. The task uses a famous video clip with Steve Jobs.
Step 1: Introduce video clip. It is a small part of a speech made by Steve Jobs at a university convocation.
Step 2: Students listen to the video and summarize the main idea in the form of a hypothesis sentence pattern.
Step 3: Play video 2-3 times.
Step 4: Students to work in pairs and create one hypothesis sentence that summarizes the speaker’s main idea.
Step 5: Review answers in class.
Part 3: Practice #2 (10 minutes)
Another practice round where students summarize data by creating hypothesis sentences. The suggested teaching approach is a pair work fluency drill.
Step 1: Put students in pairs or small groups.
Step 2: Introduce task. Students look at an image for one minute. They write one sentence hypothesis sentence that summarizes the data.
Step 3: Show the first image as a group practice effort.
Step 4: Give students 1 to 2 minutes to study the image and write a hypothesis sentence with their partner.
Step 5: After time has passed, review answers in class.
Step 6: Begin the drill. Show each image for 1 – 2 minutes, or enough time for students to think about, create and write down one hypothesis statement.
Step 7: After all images have been examined, review sentences on whiteboard with whole class.
Here are some images and data sets for the drill:
Check this file to few the graphs and show some possible answers.
Part 4: World History Video Summary (20-40 minutes)
This video shows the history of Earth. 200 years of change in 4 minutes. It is a unique presentation that will help build your students’ vocabulary and listening skills. The video is also a good example of telling a great story with hypothesis sentences.
Step 1. Watch the video one time.
Step 2. Make notes and answer these questions with a partner.
- What is the variable for each axis on the graph?
- How is each variable counted or measured?
- Write one hypothesis sentence using the data from the video.
Step 3. Discuss answers with whole class.
Step 4. Write a paragraph or more to explain the cause and effect relationship in the hypothesis.
Optional Step: Vocabulary Preview
Depending on the needs of your class, it might be a good idea to preview some vocabulary before students watch the video. Here are some words and phrases critical to video comprehension.
- life expectancy
- income per person
- Middle East
- industrial revolution
- Great Depression
- to catch up
Enjoy the lesson. Cheers!
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