Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Evidence or Inference? - Section 2: Creating Evidence and Discovering How to Infer

I think that learning to infer, or at least learning what it is to infer is one of the more difficult language related skills that fourth graders can process. We infer all of the time, but we don't talk about it. I liken it to blinking. We blink every few seconds without thought, but if we talk about it, we become more conscious of it and watch others or pay attention to how often we do it. Talking about inferring helps us understand what it is and we become more aware of its importance in decision making especially in the case of science.

These quick activities or short experiments are engaging and simple enough for students to conquer in a few minutes. They are also the bridge that helps them connect what they observe, what they collect as evidence to their conclusions or their inference about the topic. As I coached them, I brought out their thinking by adding to their questioning. This helped them along in the thinking process and led them to understanding they had to prove their inferences through their evidence.

This is a solid and rich activity that hopefully will carry over across all subjects!

Learning to Infer
Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Learning to Infer

Evidence or Inference?

Unit 1: Thinking, Writing, and Observing Like a Scientist
Lesson 4 of 10

Big Idea: Students choose between three different experiments to help them understand the difference between scientific evidence and inference.

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Standards:
Subject(s):
Science, inference, scientific evidence, small experiments, recording data, interactive notebook
55 minutes

Mary Ellen Kanthack

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