‘The Goat by the Water’ : Observation vs Inference (Originally named ‘The Boy in the Water’)

goat_boy_water_observations
Image Source: Project Archaeology

Materials: (Updated July 28, 2017)

  • Updated worksheet for students to use for this activity (Public Google Doc)
    • Changed it from “The Boy in the Water” to the “The Goat by the Water”
    • Changed references from ‘boy’ to ‘kid’ and his/her for gender
    • my students alway bring up that we infer that it is a boy, but it could be a girl, too, and they are right!!
    • also remind them that a ‘kid’ is a baby goat, the goat in the picture has horns 😉
  • I also created Google Slides for this activity (Public)
    • improved answer key
    • also added a ‘make your own inference’ slide at the end
  • The original worksheet(pdf) for this activity is from Project Archaeology (link)

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 might say: “The kid fell into the water because the branch broke.”  

Instead, they should say “there is a kid in the water” and “there is a broken branch” as two separate observations. There is no “why” in the statement. Another student may say: “The goat pushed the kid into the water when he/she was trying to pick up his/her sailboat.” This is not an easy habit to break and takes some practice.

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.

Observations:

  • There is a kid is in the water
  • There is a goat is standing next to the water
  • There is a broken tree branch
  • There is a sailboat is floating in the water

Inferences:

  • The branch broke when the kid was sitting on it, and s/he fell into the water.
  • The goat butted the kid into the water when s/he was picking up her/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.

On your worksheet, use the picture of the kid in the water to determine if the 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.

Photographs by Lewis Hine – Child Labor in America

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Breaker boys working in Ewen Breaker of Pennsylvania Coal Co. Source: Library of Congress. Photo by Lewis Hine

Updated August 2016

As part our Mining and Minerals unit, we discuss the impact of obtaining natural resources and their effects on the environment. We look back at the Second Industrial Revolution and the impact it had not only on the environment, but on society as well. Children were working in mines, factories, and farms under dangerous conditions. Because they were working long hours in order to earn money for their families, they were not able to attend school. We then discuss the factors that lead to child labor, do they still exist today? Unfortunately, child labor still exists in many countries for the same reasons it did at the start of the 20th century, when Lewis Hine took these photographs.

Lewis Hine Photography – Child Labor

Purpose

  • To analyze primary sources (photographs) related to child labor
  • To learn how Lewis Hine brought awareness to the issue of child labor
  • To explore the factors that contributed to child labor
  • To write a piece of historical fiction inspired by one of Lewis Hine’s photographs

Resources

Google Slides

  • Students will select 1-2 photographs for their assigned category
  • Students will analyze each photograph using the Photo Analysis Sheet
  • Each group will create one presentation containing their slides and photographs
  • Groups will share their presentations & story excerpts with the class

Subject: Coal Mining  http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=lewis+hine+%2B+mine&st=gallery

  • Student 1 – pictures of a solitary child (if 3 people in group, combine topic with Student 4)
  • Student 2 – pictures of groups of children
  • Student 3 – pictures of boys and men mining
  • Student 4 – pictures of buildings, machinery, tools, or animals at the mine

Photographs by Lewis Hine - Examples 2016

“I miss Poland and my old life there. I went to school and learned to read and write. I could even struggle through a few English words. After school, I would race down the dusty gravel road to my small yard. My father built a tree house out of scrap wood he brought back from the shop. We hung a tire swing from it. My dad would push me everyday, I miss him so much.”

Subject: Factory Workers or Urban Setting  http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=lewis%20hine%20%2B%20factory&st=gallery

  • Student 1 – pictures of a solitary child (if 3 people in group, combine topic with Student 4)
  • Student 2 – pictures of groups of children
  • Student 3 – pictures of adults and children working side by side
  • Student 4 – pictures of buildings, industrial settings,  & machinery

Photographs by Lewis Hine - Examples 2016 (1)

“… ‘Am I payin’ you too much?! Because I can change that.’

‘No sir, we are working.’

‘OK good, because I ain’t be wastin’ my time on hirin’ someone new’…”

Subject: Farm Labor or Food Industry http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=lewis%20hine%20%2B%20farm&st=gallery

  • Student 1 – pictures of a solitary child (if 3 people in group, combine topic with Student 4)
  • Student 2 – pictures of groups of children
  • Student 3 – pictures of adults and children working side by side
  • Student 4 – pictures of buildings, machinery, & farm animals

Photographs by Lewis Hine - Examples 2016 (2)

“It gets darker and darker every day, but we are holding up. Sometimes I wish that we never left Ireland. It was so much easier there. Ah,well…thinking about everything back home will only make me sad.”

Subject: Family Life http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=family&co=nclc&st=gallery

  • Student 1 – pictures of a siblings working together
  • Student 2 – pictures of a child/siblings working with parent(s)
  • Student 3 – pictures of families at home
  • Student 4 – pictures of families working in a factory, farming, or using machinery

Photographs by Lewis Hine - Examples 2016 (3).jpg

“Day 5: Family. I am the youngest of nine children. We are all one year apart. In 1918 we sailed over from Italy.”

Extension

Students will write a journal entry or personal letter (¾ to 1 page) based on one of the photographs they have chosen. They will share their stories along with the photograph they chose for their slide. Samples of writing above are from the Class of 2017.