GSuite, Science

Observation vs. Inference: A learning adventure

Over spring break, I have been doing a lot of relaxing AND a lot of fun work. For me, creating and planning is fun, so I don’t always mind it when I’m on a break. That being said, I constantly check in with myself to see if this is something I want to be doing or I feel like I should be doing. As soon as this fun work feels like a burden, then I stop and find something different to do–it is a break, after all! Lots of making observations and inferences on the personal level.

I designed this lesson while sitting on my patio furniture (I bought myself new cushions, a little physical distancing gift to myself), enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Throughout spring break, I’ve been thinking about what types of skill-building activities I can do with my students when we begin distance learning. In the past, I haven’t done a great job of teaching observations and inferences, so I decided to dig in and create a better lesson I can use with my students in the coming weeks. As I was creating this lesson, I had both in-person and distance learning in mind.

5E Lesson Model

The 5E lesson model is frequently used in science classes, and has application for all content areas. Lessons are broken down into five phases: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. A 5E lesson could take a single class period or span a couple days or weeks. You can read more about the 5E model of instruction here.

For this particular lesson, I chose to use Google Slides because it makes each distinct lesson phase its own slide. I have found this helps to keep my students focused when the activities are chunked into smaller pieces. Here’s a 5E Slides template I created. Or, if you prefer Google Docs, there are some amazing 5E Hyperdocs templates here.

Observations vs. Inferences Lesson

First, check out the Observation vs. Inference lesson. If you like it, click “use template” in the top right corner. If you don’t like it, click “use template,” make changes, then share it back to me. I always appreciate the feedback!

For distance learning: I plan to send out these Slides to my students on Monday, check in with them mid-week, and have everything completed by Friday. Students can choose to complete one slide per day, or do it all in one sitting. Either way, the focus is on building skills rather than new knowledge.

For in-person learning: I predict this lesson will take an entire 100 minute block, and potentially need to extend into another period. I would also see the value of including a peer-review cycle using Google Forms and/or TAG feedback. However, I will not have the opportunity to try this live with my students until next school year! Sad face.

When you try this with your students, let me know how it goes! Leave a comment or send me an email 🙂



5 thoughts on “Observation vs. Inference: A learning adventure”

  1. I love this lesson! I just started teaching inferencing with my Grade 5s this week! I am wondering if you made the pear deck app yourself or was it a ready made lesson? I don’t want pear deck app to take over my whole google slide lesson – so I am so curious how you embedded the observation and senses journey slides into your actual lesson. I would love to try to replicate this and I have a lot to learn about tech things – but I am trying very hard and would love to know how you did the pear deck lesson inside your google slide lesson and where you got the 5 senses little lesson as well. Thank you so much! Melissa


    1. Melissa, I used Pear Deck on one set of Google Slides, and that student-paced Pear Deck lesson was linked within the larger overall lesson. Pear Deck is an awesome tool and worth checking out! They have lots of online resources and webinars to get you started. Everything that is linked in my post, I created 🙂


  2. This is amazing! It really takes advantage of many online learning tools, I so appreciate you sharing! Thank you so much! Immensely helpful! xo


  3. I am so relieved to have found this!!! I teach gen-ed math and science with push in language based resource students and I have been struggling to modify. This is exactly what I needed!!


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