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The chain in my lunchbox
He raupapa kame kei roto i taku pouaka tina.
Year 7 - 8 students
Big Question

What makes my lunch old?

Scientists develop a hypothesis  based on initial research and scientific questioning. The inquiry  is then clearly defined  and data is collected from research and experiments. 

Soil Food Society
Soil Food Society
Soil Food Society
Cartoon mad scientist with a big grin

How to develop a hypothesis

Developing a hypothesis is a process you can learn.


Scientific questioning will help you form a hypothesis and help you think of a scientific question that will test your hypothesis.


Watch the video to see the process in action.

Developing a hypothesis and scientific questions

So, what exactly do you mean when you say "what makes my lunch old"?

Good point. That question is not clear. The word 'makes' and the word 'old' can both be interpreted  in different ways.


Scientists use scientific questions to make their inquiry very clear. Scientific questions can be long so they are very clear.


If you think the big question is about what happens to food that makes it spoil you will have to research that inquiry and develop a hypothesis you can test.


If you think the big question is about what the age of the food is in your lunch you will have to research that inquiry and come up with a hypothesis that you can test.

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Dark haired young lady clip art
Sophisticated man with round specticals - clip art

Does it mean what makes my lunch spoil? I think it's an inquiry into how things go mouldy or rotten.

I think it means what are the items in your lunch that are the oldest. It is research into the age of all of the items in your lunch.

An experiment can be part of your investigation

Getting mouldy

This experiment measures the rate of mould growth in different conditions.

You will need to investigate the topic to decide what conditions you think will affect mould growth. This will form the basis for your hypothesis.

You will then test your hypothesis in an experiment and record the results.

Take care, mould spores  can make you sick. Follow the instructions carefully.

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Sliced fresh brown bread
Click image for help
Food dating

This scientific investigation analyses  the manufacturing dates of the processed foods and estimated age of the fresh food in your lunchbox.

The investigation will provide the age of each item of food in your lunchbox as well as an average age of all the food.

The challenge is to clarify the big question, think of a hypothesis and then analyse and interpret the results of your investigation.


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Two Oreo biscuits close up
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Are you ready to tell the world?

More here about publishing

What to publish
Scientists usually publish their data along with their findings. This way what they say is backed up with evidence.
Scientists often explain their data  so their findings and conclusions become clear to the observer.
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Using a graph to show data can make your findings clearer,
Support the graph or table with a summary of the data and the conclusions you have made. 
Food age bar graph
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