‘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.

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Solid, Liquid, & Gas – Triple Venn Diagram Activity

Solid, Liquid, & Gas- Phases & Changes Venn Diagram Sorting Activity (Public)

Updated Dec. 2018

I added a 16th term to the Venn Diagram and new handout to go with it.

Materials:

  • Google Slides (Public) – this slide presentation will show the answers for the activity
  • Handouts: (PDF) Includes blank venn diagram, slips to cut apart, and answer key
  • Optional Videos:
  • Statements: Different ways to use the 16 statements, or facts, about Solids, Liquids, and Gases:
    • give each group 2-4 facts to discuss and place into the Venn Diagram
    • give each group all 16 facts to discuss, then ask each group to place one fact into the diagram
      • this is the versions I use, see below for details
    • give each student or pair of students only 1 fact
    • give every student all 16 facts and have them glue it into their Venn diagram
    • give every student all 16 facts and have them ‘dry fit’ the statements then handwrite them into their Venn diagrams (you can laminate and reuse the statements for each class) (I prefer to have the students write the facts into their Venn diagrams.)

How to use this version of the activity:

Whole class activity

  1. Discuss what we know about Solids, Liquids, and Gases.
  2. Give each student one of the 16 facts. They are not to share their facts with the class until it was their turn to present.
  3. They may or may not know the answer to their fact, and we discussed this first. I told them I would give them clues if they needed help and not to worry too  much about getting the answer ‘wrong’.
  4. After a minute or so to think about it, ask the person with Fact #1 to stand and read their fact to the class. The rest of class will think about the fact and where it might go into the Venn Diagram, but not share their answers.
  5. The person with Fact #1 will guess where the fact fit into the Venn Diagram. Once they give the correct answer, click on the Google Slide and the answer will pop up on the screen.
  6. Everyone will write fact #1 into their notes.
    • Optional:
      • Using a blue colored pen or pencil, the students will fill in the phrases related to the states of matter and their characteristics, such as definite shape or volume.
      • Using a red colored pen or pencil, they can write in the phase changes, such as evaporation. They will notice that all of the phase changes are placed where two states of matter overlap.
        • For example, evaporation is placed where liquids and gases overlap.
  7. Then ask the person with Fact #2 to read their fact to the class, and so on until all 15 facts are posted.
  8. We would discuss each fact and any questions they might have.
  9. If you have more than 16 students, you can have them work with a partner and guess together.

Cooperative Groups

  1. Instead of each student having only one fact, you can have the class work in cooperative groups and give one set of the 16 facts to a group of 4 students.
  2. The students will discuss/share their facts within their group and come to an agreement on where it should go.
  3. They will place the facts on top of the Venn Diagram where they think it is the best fit.
  4. Once each group has had a chance to discuss their facts, you can go over the answers as a class.
  5. Starting with #1, have the first group tell the class where they think it belongs in the Venn diagram and why.
  6. If their answer is correct, show the answer in the Venn diagram and have each student write that fact into their notes.
    • Optional: Using a blue colored pen or pencil, the students will fill in the phrases related to the states of matter and their characteristics, such as definite shape or volume.
    • Using a red colored pen or pencil, they can write in the phase changes, such as evaporation. They will notice that all of the phase changes are placed where two states of matter overlap.For example, evaporation is placed where liquids and gases overlap.
  7. If it in incorrect, go to the next group and have them share where they think it belongs.
  8. Ask the next group for fact #2, and repeat the steps above until all 16 facts have been placed into the Venn diagram and each group has had a chance to place a fact into the Venn Diagram.

Independent Seat Work, or as part of a Station/Center/Review

  1. You can also do this activity where each student will cut out all 16 facts and work independently to figure out where each fact would go in the Venn Diagram. They will then write in the facts as each answer is discussed.
  2. As a station/center activity/review, you can have a blank laminated Venn Diagram, a laminated answer key, and laminated facts. Students can guess where each fact goes into the diagram, then check their work with the answer key and write the answers into their worksheet

Older Version:

solid_liquid_gas_triple_venn_diagram
Phases of Matter Venn Diagram

This is an interactive/SmartBoard activity to show the relationship between the phases of matter and phase change.

Materials:

Part 1 – Discussion and Categorizing: Students will work in collaborative groups to determine where each statement will go into the Venn diagram. In their notes, they will pencil in an ‘S’ for solid, ‘L’ for liquid, ‘SL’ if it goes between Solid/Liquid, etc… next to each statement on their list.

Part 2 – SMART Board: Each group will have a turn to make a guess to place one of the statements into the Venn diagram. If the group is correct, it stays in the Venn diagram and each student writes the statement into their Venn diagram handout and crosses it off the list. If the statement is incorrectly placed into the diagram, the statement is returned to the list outside of the diagram. The next group chooses a statement, and so on, until all of the statements have been placed correctly into the Venn diagram.

Using a blue colored pencil, the students will fill in the phrases related to the states of matter and their characteristics, such as definite shape or volume. Using a red colored pencil, they can write in the phase changes, such as evaporation. They will notice that all of the phase changes are placed where two states of matter overlap. For example, evaporation is placed where liquids and gases overlap.

For more lessons about phases of matter, please see my Properties of Matter page. Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MSScienceBlog

Quiz, Quiz, Trade – Apollo Missions

Recently, I tried the “Quiz, Quiz, Trade” (QQT) method of review to help my students study for their Apollo Missions assessment. How does it work? See the video below:

Materials:

Procedures:

Before starting the activity, I modeled how to ask, answer, and trade using student volunteers. We also discussed ‘quizzing etiquette’. What do you do if your partner is stuck? How can you give clues to help jog their memories? What are some things that you should or should NOT say if someone can’t answer the question, even with hints? After you go over the answer with your partner, are there any tips to help your partner remember the answer? I stressed the importance of helping each other learn. It is not just about getting the answers right or wrong and no one ‘wins’ if they answered the most questions correctly.

Each student was given one question to start the activity. Because I had more questions than students in my class, after a student makes 3 trades, I had the students hand in/trade their cards with me to introduce new questions into the mix as needed. Some students will answer more questions than others, and that is ok. The students quizzed/traded with each other for about 20 minutes. While they were quizzing each other, they kept track of which questions they answered correctly, and which ones they needed to work on using this handout: Quiz, Quiz, Trade Numbers  (pdf)

Sample Question Card
Sample Question Card

For the second half of the review activity, I divided the class into two teams. I would randomly pick one question to ask each team. Before I asked the question, I announced the number of the question I was going to ask them. The students on each team then looked at their sheets to see who had that answered that numbered question correctly and chose one person to come up to answer the question. If no one had the numbered question answered correctly (or did not have a chance to answer it during QQT), they would volunteer a ‘tribute’ to try to answer the question. If the first team answers correctly after I read the question to the class, they earned a point. If answered incorrectly, the other team had a chance to steal and earn the point. We really enjoyed playing QQT and I plan on using it again in a variety of ways.

This is also a great way to practice vocabulary words. Using index cards, students can write the vocab word on one side and the definition on the other. You can also use it for identification skills – show a picture on one side, and the identification on the other. For example, one side can have a picture of a beaker, and the other side will have the word ‘beaker’ to practice identifying lab equipment. Other ideas include: plant identification, constellation identification, cloud identification, metric conversions or abbreviations, etc…

Science Scramble Puzzles

Science Scramble Puzzles

You can access them as a Shared Google Drive Folder (Click for link)

I always like to have puzzles handy for students to work on when they have finished their classwork, or if they completed a test and are waiting for other students to finish, or just for fun!

I have 72 science themed scramble puzzles (Scrabble-like) based on Physical and Earth Science vocabulary words. There is a Master List that shows all the words and which number puzzle it is. Each file is saved as the answer, too. Students can make 3, 4, 5, and 6 letter words and calculate their scores based on the letter values within each word they find. There is one 7 letter science word answer for each puzzle.

Have fun!