- The original worksheet(pdf) for this activity is from Project Archaeology (link)
- I also created Google Slides for this activity (Public)
Students often have difficulty distinguishing between observations and inferences, they often combine the two into one statement. For example, when asked to make an observation using the image above some students may say: “The boy fell into the water because the branch broke.” Another student may say: “The goat pushed the boy into the water when he was trying to pick up his sailboat.”
We then discuss the difference between the facts and the “story” that goes with it. The facts are our observations and the story is how we piece the facts together, or our inference.
- a boy is in the water
- a goat standing next to the water
- a broken tree branch
- a sailboat is floating in the water
- The branch broke when the boy was sitting on it, and he fell into the water.
- The goat butted the boy into the water when he was picking up his sailboat.
After defining and discussing the differences between observations and inferences, students will have a chance to work with their partner to practice identifying and classifying the statements related to the image of the boy in the water. Once everyone is done, as a class, we then discuss each statement and confirm each as either an observation or inference.
Use the picture of the boy in the water to determine if the following statements are observations or if the statements are inferences. Place an “Inf” in the blank for inference and an “Obs” in the blank for observation.
- ____ The boy is in the water
- ____ The weather is cold
- ____ The tree branch is broken
- ____ If the boy crawled out of the water, the goat would push him
- ____ The boy fell off the branch
- ____ The goat is standing by the pond
- ____ The branch will fall on the boy’s head
- ____ The boy fell off the rocks
- ____ There is a sailboat in the water
- ____ The sailboat belongs to the boy
- ____ The goat will soon leave the pond
- ____ The tree by the pond has no leaves
- ____ There are three rocks in the pond
- ____ The tree by the pond is dead
- ____ If it rains, leaves will grow on the tree
- ____ The goat pushed the boy into the pond