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Homework question that I must be over-thinking.

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Homework question that I must be over-thinking.

Postby kaylabarber » Wed May 13, 2009 4:10 am

This is probably so simple that I am overlooking it. I am having a problem with hypotheses and predictions. I have read multiple definitions of the 2 and have went through various examples and I feel silly that I am unsure how to identify a hypothesis and a prediction. Here is my question:
Which part of this exorcise is the hypothesis and which part is the prediction.

And here is the excercise:
My cheek cells will be ________ (larger/smaller/same size) compared to grasshopper testis cells. The reason I think this is because _________.

I was thinking that the size of the cheek cells would be the hypothesis and the because part would be the prediction.... however, every example of a hypothesis and prediction I have reviewed is in an entirely different format. I understand that a hypothesis is an educated answer to a question. The questions was : are human cells bigger or smaller than the cells of other animals?

Sorry if this has an obvious answer. I think I am stressing it to much. It also asks:
based on your results, what might your revised hypothesis be? This is the part that confuses me. Why would the teacher care what the revised hypothesis is if it is as simple as changing an answer from larger to smaller, etc. It is this part of the question that makes me think I've got it all wrong.

Thanks for any help. I assure you I did research before trying to figure this question out. Sorry if it is only cell related in a minor sense.
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Re: Homework question that I must be over-thinking.

Postby jonmoulton » Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:30 pm

The model you create, the idea for how you think something works, is the hypothesis. That's the "The reason I think this is because..." part. The prediction is an observable consequence of your hypothesis which you can then test experimentally. In this case, that is the "My cheek cells will be ________ (larger/smaller/same size) compared to grasshopper testis cells" part.

You develop a hypothesis, an idea of how something might work. To test the hypothesis, you need to use that hypothesis to make a prediction about the outcome of an observation. You try to find ways to demonstrate that the hypothesis is wrong. In science is it extremely difficult to prove that a hypothesis is right; some philosophers of science argue that it is impossible to prove a hypothesis correct. However, we can support a hypothesis by challenging it and failing to prove it wrong. As a hypothesis is challenged again and again by different investigators and resists those challenges, it becomes accepted as a reasonable model for the way that some aspect of the world works.

When a hypothesis fails a challenge, that opens the problem of developing a new hypothesis that is consistent with previous observation and offers predictive power so that it can be tested.
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Postby Darby » Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:07 pm

A lot of science is stream-of-consciousness. If you expected the grasshopper cells to be smaller because grasshoppers are smaller, but the cells were the same size, do you leap to the hypothesis that size-of-organism doesn't matter to cell size, or did the teacher pick two cell types that were the same size, although typically they aren't (a lot of science is based on the idea that you aren't really wrong, you just need to look at it differently)?

It is an odd set of parameters - testis cells come in a variety of sizes all by themselves, it's how you tell what stage they're in...
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