Hypothesis based lessons 

Many of us discuss hypotheses only as part of fieldwork and internal assessment (or course work) and the skills based sections of exams. But the humble hypothesis can be used in regular lessons quite easily using the resources on this site. This approach is best suited to teaching case studies.

Introduce the issue 

Introduce the issue to students. For example, if you have previously studied urban land use models, you might ask the students to consider how they fit the reality of a town or city. 

Introduce the hypothesis 

It’s likely that hypotheses have been covered before in science and maths, as well as geography lessons. Ask students to come up with criteria for a good hypothesis. Share these together as a class.

Create a hypothesis 

Now ask students to consider the case study area. What do they predict they will find?

It’s vital to check the hypotheses they produce before they begin the investigation. Ideally have them do the hypothesis creation and the investigation in separate spaces so you can literally act as a gate keeper to the ‘fieldwork site’.


This is the ‘meat’ of the lesson, and your opportunity to be creative and provide a memorable learning experience.

Print out the graphics or paragraphs that you think are relevant to the overall issue. Remember to warn students that not all the data is necessarily directly relevant to their hypothesis. Stick the print outs around the walls of the classroom, corridor, or whatever space you’re using. Students then progress at their own pace around the ‘fieldwork site’ finding the evidence relevant to their hypothesis. Sometimes they might need reminding that even evidence that goes against their hypothesis must be recorded.

Think carefully about the space. For example, if you’re studying the difference in participation in sports between the USA and China, could you use English and Chinese classrooms?

Feeding back 

Graphical understanding needs to be taught. Gather the students back  together and go through the evidence, making sure everyone has understood. 

Responding to the hypothesis 

In the initial introduction to hypotheses, you will have discussed how hypotheses should be accepted or rejected. Ask the students to write a ten minute explanation of their decision to accept or reject, using evidence from their fieldwork. If you have time, try peer assessing the writing using criteria from your exam board.

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