Lesson: Making Inferences

David Kujawski Bird Middle East Walpole, MA
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Lesson Objective

YWBAT: Make inferences on observations of the natural world.

Lesson Plan

Do Now: Make an observation about something in the room and record it on your paper.  Have students share their observations.  During the sharing process ask students to raise their hand if they think that the observation is quantitative or qualitative.  This formative assessment will let you know if you need to review the concept from yesterday's class in detail or not.  (5 minutes)


Review HW: Have students read one of their observations and again have students raise their hand if they think it is quanititative or qualitative.  Also, ask students if the observations are accurate and objective.  (5 minutes)


Next: Introduce lesson by reviewing objective and then observe a student in the room that maybe has a sports jersey on and say: "Do you like the Patriots (for example)?"  The student will most likely say yes and repeat for other students.  Maybe observe a book that someone has on their desk and ask:  Do you have math next or did you have it before you came here?


The point of this activity is to demonstrate the connection between observation and inference before you define it to the students. 


Ask: "How did I know that (student name) liked the Patriots and that (student name) might have math class next?"

Field answers: "I used observation skills to do something that is called making an inference."


Define inference on board:

An inference is when you explain or interpret an observation or statement.  We want to make sure that our inferences are reasonable. 


Unreasonable inferences are ones that are exagerrated and are probably not true. (10-15 minutes)


Next: Have students read their observations again to the class and have students think of inferences that they could make about them.  (5 minutes)


Next: Hand out (Student worksheet 1) and have students complete it with their partner or on their own.  Circulate and check in with students of concern.  (8-10 minutes)


Review Student worksheet 1 with class and answer any questions (5-10 minutes)


Next: Have students practice some more by making more observations about items in the room and then make inferences about them .  Review.


Checking for individual understanding:  Have each student write down an observation and then make an inference about it.  Collect before students leave.

Homework: (Homework worksheet)


Reflection: Students get the concept of inferences quickly.  Just make sure that their inferences match their observation.  Students sometimes make an observation about the color of an object but then make an inference about the texture of the object.  Stress the importance of the inference matching the observation.  Also, try to challenge students to avoid only making inferences about someone "liking" something.  Example:  You observe a person looking in a telescope and they make an inference that they like looking at stars.  Although this is correct, it doesn't build your students' ability to make meaningful inferences.






Lesson Resources

Student homework worksheet   Homework
Student worksheet 1   Classwork


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