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Observation inference activities

Observation inference plan with pictures album

 

A carpenter, a schoolteacher, and scientist were traveling by train through Scotland when they saw a black sheep through the window of the train.

"Aha," said the carpenter with a smile, "I see that Scottish sheep are black."

"Hmm," said the school teacher, "You mean that some Scottish sheep are black."

"No," said the scientist glumly, "All we know is that there is at least one sheep in Scotland, and that at least one side of that one sheep is black."

See activity 1 - front - back view

Pedagogical overview

This page provides images to use to discuss observation, inference, and relative position and motion.

Enjoy!

Let's dig deeper and review how learners might further develop their skill in observation and inference. Two important the science inquiry and process skills.

Disequilibrium occurs when learners expect one thing and observe another. Several of the images will provide this experience, where an initial observation is related to one idea and a closer look provides another idea. Or in some cases an initial inference is changed with one or more follow up images.

Equilibrium might occur with a closer observation or additional observation.

Concepts

Observation

  • Observations are made with five basic senses: see, touch, hear, smell, and taste.
  • People learn with careful observation. 
  • Questions can be answered by looking at objects. 
  • Observations can be compared through communication about the objects and the object's properties. 
  • When people report different observations they can take more observations to try and find agreement.
  • What people expect to observe often affects what they actually do observe. 
  • Strong beliefs about what they expect to happen can prevent them from seeing other results.
  • Unexpected observations can lead to new discoveries and to new investigations.

Inference 

  • Inferences are derived from observations.
  • Inference as a best conclusion based on observational evidence and reasoning.
  • Observation and inference are different
  • Explanations are derived from observations.
  • People can make difference inferences fro the same observations

Outcomes 

  • Describe observation as information from our senses based on real world evidence.
  • Describe inference as a best conclusion based on observational evidence and reasoning.
  • Explain people can have different inferences from the same observations.
  • Describe how observations can be used to change inferences.
  • Describe how inferences can be changed and observationsmade at one specific time don't change. However, the accuracy of an observation can.

Focus question

  • What do you observe in this picture? Describe what you see in this picture.
  • What might you infere about the picture or what is or might happen?
  • Wht observation did you ues to make your inference(s)?

Scoring guides suggestions (rubric)

Shadows and the Sun(scoring guide)

Top level

Lower level

 

Activity 1 - Front view - Back view

Materials

Focus questions:

  1. What do you observe?
  2. What do you infer?

Learning outcomes:

  1. See concepts and outcomes

Suggested procedures overview:

  1. Put learners in pairs, focus their attention with a picture or video.
  2. Ask. What do you observation?
  3. What do you infere?
  4. What observstions do you base your inference on?

Exploration -

  1. Put learners in pairs.
  2. Show picture front.
  3. Ask. What do you observe?
  4. Clarify observations from inferences. Observation - hair, long, male, female, human, non human

Invention -

  1. Show picture back.
  2. Ask. What is the difference between observation and inference?
  3. Why is it important to recognize inferences as tentative?
  4. Discuss how science is like the before and after picture. Make tentative inferences bsaed on observations and change them when new imformation is available.

Discover

Explore more ...

Snow White comic

  1. Display the Snow White comic
  2. After a giggle.
  3. Ask. What are some observations are necessary to understand the comic? S White name on mailbox. Newspaper - Pyton escapes from zoo. Seven bumps in the snake (python).
  4. Ask. What inference? The snake in the comic is the one that escaped from the zoo. The seven dwarfs were home. The snake ate the dwarfs. The Lady is S. White. S. White is Snow White
  5. Which is funnier? The observations or the inference?

 

Activity 2 - Four day observations

Materials

Focus questions:

  1. What do you observe?

Learning outcomes:

  1. Observation can be tricky.
  2. Process concepts and outcomes for observation and inference

Suggested procedures overview:

  1. Put learners in pairs, focus their attention with a picture.
  2. Tell. You will look at a set of three pictures each day for four days.
  3. On the fourth day we will discuss what you observed.
  4. You may record your observations?
  5. On fourth day. Ask. What did you observe?
  6. Discuss importance of observationand notes (or pictures).

Exploration -

  1. Put learners in pairs.
  2. Tell. You will look at a set of three pictures each day for four days.
  3. On the fourth day we will discuss what you observed.
  4. You may record your observations?
  5. Show the designated picture for each day as noted below for 1 minute each.
  6. If learners take out phone, to take a pic, then can decide if that is okay or not. There are benefits either way.
  7. Defer any comments with mentioning, We'll share on the fourth day. Could make up a situational story about how a scientist might make observations in the bush and not have an opportunity to talk about it with anyone till ...

Day 1 - Person - | - Bear - | - Stone man

Day 2 - Person - | - Bear - | - Stone man

Day 3 - Person - | - Bear - | - Stone man

Day 4 - Person - | - Bear - | - Stone man

Invention -

  1. On fourth day. Ask. What did you observe?
  2. Hopefully they will have discovered the optical illusion for the person (old or young) and the necklace or theeth change from day 1 -3 and back to day 1 on day 4.
  3. Discuss importance of observation and notes (or pictures).

Discover

May want to explore other optical illusions.

Activity 3 - What is Up?

Materials

Focus questions:

  1. What is up?
  2. What is down?

Learning outcomes:

  1. Describe up and down as relative to a reference object.
  2. Process concepts and outcomes for observation and reference point or object.

Suggested procedures overview:

  1. Put learners in pairs.
  2. Ask. What is up?
  3. Share definitions.
  4. Try them out on the photos.
  5. Discuss up and down for Earth. Does it work for all places on Earth? Up in space? On the Moon, Sun, other planets, their moons?

Exploration -

  1. Put learners in pairs.
  2. Ask. What is up?
  3. Share definitions.
  4. Write definitions on board.
  5. Try them out on the photos.

Invention -

  1. Modify definitions as needed.
  2. Try current defintions for.
  3. Person standing in your classroom.
  4. Discuss up and down for Earth.
  5. Ask. What is a reference point?
  6. Try current defintion for ...
    • All places on Earth? North pole, south pole, places in between, Above the surface of the Earth, Underground to the middle of the Earth, out the other side?
    • Up in space? Plane, satellite orbiting the Earth?
    • On the Moon,
    • Sun,
    • Other planets, their moons?
  7. Write a definition that works anywhere in the Universe.
  8. What is the reference point in the definition?

Discover

Explore relative position and motion ...

 

Lab notes 1 - Front view - Back view

Materials

  • Picture front and back
  • Lab notes

Focus questions:

  • What do you observe and infer?

 

Challenge

Observation back

 

 

 

 

Inference from observation of back

 

 

 

Observation front

 

 

 

 

Inference from observation of front

 

Lab notes 2 - Four day observations

Materials

  • Pictures displayed by teacher
  • Lab notes

Focus questions:

  • What do you observe each day?

Challenge

Observe a set of three pictures (1 minute each pic) each day for four days and record what your observations.

Pic 1

Day 1

 

 

Day 2

 

 

Day 3

 

 

Day 4

 

 

Pic 2

Day 1

 

 

Day 2

 

 

Day 3

 

 

Day 4

 

 

Pic 3

Day 1

 

 

Day 2

 

 

Day 3

 

 

Day 4

 

 

 

Lab notes 3 - Up & down

Materials

  • Pictures displayed by teacher
  • Lab notes

Focus questions:

  • What is up?

Challenge

Observe the pictures below and determine what is up and down.

Pic Person in room

Person in room image

 

Pic Hersheys bottle

Hersheys bottle image

 

 

Pic Orange pop

Orange Nehi pop image

 

Pic Snoopy balloon

Snoopy balloon image

 

Write an operational definition for up.

 

 

 

Will your definition work anywhere on Earth? If not, edit it.

 

Will it work any place in space? If not, edit it.

 

 

Support materials

Image back view

 

Two images back

 

 

Image front view

 

Two images front

 

Bear

Bear

 

Bear image

 

Doll House 1

Sitting room

 

Bear image

 

Doll House 2

Office

 

Bear image

 

Queen Mary's Dollhouse

Dollhouse with hand

 

Bear image

 

Giant necklace

Necklace

 

Giant necklace image

 

Herseys Squirt bottle

Hersheys bottle

 

Hersheys bottle image

 

Jet breaking sound barrier

Jet

 

Jet breaking sound barrier image

 

Person 1

Person

 

Lady 1 image

 

Person 2

Person

 

Lady 2 image

 

Person 3

Person

 

Lady 3 image

 

Person 4

Person

 

Lady 4 image

 

Person In Room Up Down

Person in room

 

Person in room image

 

Orange Nehi Pop

Orange pop

 

Bear image

 

Polar bear jpg

Polar bear

 

Bear image

 

Railroad and house

Railroad tracks

 

Bear image

 

Snoopy balloon in parade

Snoopy balloon

 

Snoopy balloon image

 

 

Snow White comic

Snow White

 

Snow White comic image

 

Stone Man

Stone

 

Stone man image

 

Waterspout

Waterspout

 

Water spout image

 

 

 

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Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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