Step 2: Formulate a Hypothesis & Make Predictions

What do you want to find out about your study site’s water quality, how will I measure it and what are your predictions?

Check Your Thinking: Scenario: There is an abandoned mine dump within 5 meters of your study site stream. How might contaminants in the mine waste be impacting your stream? When would be the best time of year/day to collect water monitoring data that could help answer this question? What tests should you conduct?


Using your recorded observations and information compiled in the first step, the next step is to come up with a testable question. You can use the previously mentioned question (Based on what I know about the pH, DO, temperature and turbidity of my site, is the water of a good enough quality to support aquatic life?) as it relates to the limitations of the World Water Monitoring Day kit, or come up with one of your own.

What results do you predict? For example, your hypothesis may be “I believe the pH, DO, temperature and turbidity of the water at my study site are of good enough quality to support aquatic life because there are no visible impacts to water quality upstream or on the site.” Once you’ve formulated your question, begin planning the experiment or, in this case, the water monitoring you will conduct.


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The MSP project is funded by an ESEA, Title II Part B Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant through the Montana Office of Public Instruction. MSP was developed by the Clark Fork Watershed Education Program and faculty from Montana Tech of The University of Montana and Montana State University, with support from other Montana University System Faculty.