Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Scientists Infer - Section 2: Explore


Students often have a hard time looking at evidence first and then making an inference. They want to jump to inferring, then trying to find evidence to fit into their reasoning. Most of the time, this happens because they are so used to making inferences or jumping to conclusions without really thinking about how they got there. I even found myself doing this the first few times I taught this lesson.

I have found that this can be prevented by having the student first collect as much evidence as they can as part of a brainstorming session. Then, without going back to the evidence collection phase, they write out the inferences they can make, drawing a line from the evidence and pointing to the inference to show the natural path our brain takes when inferring. This will help students in all subject areas, as it helps them to read, observe, measure, etc more thoroughly before using this information to infer and hypothesize. This is a strategy I use for students who are having trouble starting with observing and data collection.

  Which comes first - the inference or the evidence?
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Which comes first - the inference or the evidence?
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Scientists Infer

Unit 1: What Do Scientists Do?
Lesson 7 of 8

Objective: SWBAT differentiate between evidence and inference, understand that evidence is drawn from observations and data collection made during scientific research, and construct inferences based on observations and data as their evidence.

Big Idea: Scientists make inferences based on evidence that is collected throughout the scientific process. Inferences and evidence are two very different things, but are both essential to the scientific process.

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Science, Nature of Science
  60 minutes
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