Students infer information from text all the time. Inferring, also known as, "drawing conclusions" is a way to make sense of separate pieces of information that communicate a larger message. Instructors can teach students to draw conclusions using a variety of fun games and activities. Students that successfully learn to draw conclusions grown into literate adults that thrive academically. Teach this important literacy skill with engaging activities that keep students motivated and excited to learn.
Pair, Share, Square
Divide students into pairs and then groups of four. Each person should have a game card with a short scenario on it and two conclusions labeled "A" and "B." Give each pair of students time to pair up, read scenarios and draw conclusions. Then, have all four group members rotate cards until everyone has had a turn reading a scenario and drawing a conclusion. Another variation on this game is to have only one card and four conclusions labeled "A," "B," "C" and "D." Each person in the group must choose one of the four conclusions, then they can pair with a partner to discuss which is the most correct conclusion. After pairing up, the two pairs form a square and decide on the one correct conclusion of all four choices.
Drawing Conclusions from a Photo
Students that struggle with drawing conclusions from written text sometimes have more success with a picture. Ask younger students to describe what they see in a picture, then ask them to discuss what might be going on in the story. For example, a photograph of four people reading a book could initially be described as, "Four people reading a book." The inference is that the four people are related and perhaps their facial expressions reveal that they are reading a funny book. Ask students higher level inference questions that require them to think about the information that is implicit rather than explicit.
One Sentence to Draw Conclusions
Distribute one short sentence to every student in the classroom. Arrange students so they are sitting in two parallel lines of chairs that face each other. Tell them they have one minute to read the sentence with a certain emotion in mind. Then, ask students to take turns reading each sentence in a manner consistent with any emotion they choose. The other partner has to guess the emotion. They can give each other hints about the emotion such as, "It's something you feel when after you win a competition." These hints will help partners to draw conclusions about each reading.
What's in the Bag?
Describe a bag that belongs to a certain person. The class should then describe what the person is like by the contents of the bag. For example, students might guess that an athlete has a bag containing a baseball and bat, a catchers mitt and knee pads. They can then draw conclusions about that athlete based on what they already know about athletes and what they do. As a follow-up activity, students can divide up into smaller groups and create "bags" of their own and draw conclusions about the owners of those bags.
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