Paper Prompts Paper Prompts: Helping Kids Improve Their Observations, Inferences, and Conclusions Using visual images on paper manipulatives prompts student thinking as they make and write observations, inferences, and conclusions in any content area. Take home templates for designing prompts as well as ready-made samples. Workshop Agenda Observations Teaching Observation Skills o Observation Cards o Observation Reference Guides o Observation Rubric Qualitative and Quantitative o T charts o Q $ Q strips o Color-coding o Pictures o Who Am I? o Observation Scavenger Hunt Analogies, Similes, Metaphors o Magazine match-up o Paint cards Inferences Inference vs Observation o Operational definition o Daily situations and pictures o Penny o Boy in the Water o Bright Light Story o Situation Match-ups o Reflections/Using a T chart Conclusions Teaching Strategies o Operational definition o Focus on Evidence – mysteries o Conclusion Cards o Conclusion Rubric Acknowledgement of material used: Rising to the Challenge of the National science Education Standards, The Processes of Science Inquiry by Karen Ostlund and Sheryl Mercier, 1996 Science and Children, National Science Teachers Association, January 2001 Observations All science begins with observation. Students will have no reason to measure, classigy, infer, predict, etc. unless they have had an opportunity to make observations and reflect upon what they have observed. Teachers expect students to make quality observations but may not have taught them how to do it. Productive observations are complete, detailed, accurate statements or pictures that include both qualitative and quantitative information. Students can learn how to make more productive observations and at the same time enhance their communication and thinking skills. Observation Cards can be used to remind students what to look for while making observations. The cards on the following pages are designed to be cut apart, laminated (optional) and placed in baggies or envelopes for students. Suggested uses are: Have a bag of cards for each student to use as “thinking prompts” while making observations. Start with a few cards. Gradually add others as needed or when appropriate for the content. Tailor a card set to each child’s abilities for differential instruction. Enlarge the cards and make them into a Word Wall. Sort the cards that relate to observations made with each of the 5 senses. Sort the cards that relate to qualitative descriptors. (all except count and measure) Sort the cards that relate to quantitative descriptors. (count, measure) Use cards to teach and encourage more descriptive vocabulary in observations. Number cards on back side. Designate which numbers must be used during observation assignments. Not all cards will be applicable in every observation. Use a rubric to evaluate (see rubrics). Have students plan and organize their writing by first putting the cards in the order they plan to use. Have students use card sets to check or evaluate a peer’s observation. Encourage students to make and add cards of their own to the “set” using the blank masters. Observation Reference Guide An Observation Reference Guide can be used with older students. Students spend time at the beginning of the year creating a list of descriptors that becomes a reference page to use anytime they are making observations during the year. Observation Reference Guide Qualitative Observations are descriptions using the five senses: Complete the list with words that could be used while describing pictures, objects, events, interactions between people, organisms, things, or experiments. IT LOOKS … IT FEELS … IT SMELLS … IT SOUNDS … IT TASTES … Bubbly Rough Sweet Loud Sweet Clear Wet Moldy Squeaky Spicy Upside-down Padded Rotten Rhythmic Biter Pitted Silky Burned Silent Salty Like a cave Like sandpaper Like apples Like a train Like peppermint Observation Reference Guide Quantitative Observations are descriptions using the numbers, measurements, and units: MEASURE Complete the list with words that could be used while describing pictures, objects, events, interactions between people, organisms, things, or experiments. MEASURING UNIT USED IN EXAMPLE(S) USING INSTRUMENT OR TOOL MEASURING NUMBER AND UNIT Clock or stopwatch Second, minute, hour 5.4 seconds, 2 minutes ½ hour 2 days, 1 week, 7 months, Calendar Day, week, month, year 40 years Sound meter Decibels 3.7 decibels Observation Rubric Observation Rubric Self or 1 Teacher 2 3 4 Criteria to include in observation Points peer Included in observation few or Check some most many check none Includes counting It looks like … Includes measurement and unit It feels like … Shape It sounds like … Size It smells like … Color It tastes like … Texture Things counted Temperature Things measured Light or Dark Mobile or stationary Total Points Living or non-living Natural or synthetic Type of matter Observation Rubric Solubility 1 2 3 4 Included in observation few or Permeability some most many none Acidic, basic, or neutral It looks like … Sound characteristics It feels like … Odor characteristics It sounds like … Surface reflection characteristics It smells like … Magnetic or non-magnetic It tastes like … Conductor/insulator Things counted Things measured Total points Total Points Qualitative vs. Quantitative The terms Qualitative and Quantitative need to be taught to students and used continually throughout the year. Use the roots Quality and Quantity to help them see the difference between these two terms. Primary students can use Using Your Senses and Counting and Measuring as comparable terms. Strategies to help students identify and distinguish between qualitative and quantitative observations are: Use the T charts provided (primary and intermediate level) for whole group observations. Use the Q and Q strips activity, write words on index cards for sorting, or write on sentence strips and have students cut them apart. Have them visually check for qualitative and quantitative descriptors in their own written observations by underlining each type in a different color (red for Qualitative and green for Quantitative). This helps them see if they have both kinds in their observation. Use the Picture Cards (or anything observable) to have them list or tell 3 quantitative and 3 qualitative observations from each picture. Use the Who Am I writing assignment and evaluation rubric. Use the Observation Scavenger Hunt or a center with fewer objects for primary level. Play “I SPY” Using Your Senses Counting and Measuring MEASURE QUALITATIVE - Describes QUANTITATIVE – Counts or measures L N E U T M T B E E R R S S MEASURE Cut strips apart. Rotate them among students. They identify which descriptors in the statements are Qualitative and which descriptors are Quantitative. The local weather data was kept for 30 days. The colorful layers of metamorphic rock ranged between 10 and 20 feet thick. The seven sedimentary rocks collected were made of fine, sand-sized particles less than .01 millimeters in diameter. The ivory lace has a unique scalloped pattern made up of 42 different stitches. The violent thunderstorms produced golf ball-sized hail for 30 minutes over a 12 mile area. The sugar maple leaves had turned four colors, yellow, red, gold, then brown. The bread fungus was a grayish-green and had a musty smell. The blue box was 12 cm. long, 10 cm wide and 6 cm high. The expensive wallpaper had maroon and white stripes and came in rolls that covered 60.3 square feet. The humid afternoon temperature reached 102 degrees F, while the evening dipped to a mild 66. Over 12,000 high school students took the ACT and the average female’s score was 23 points. The gusty wind blowing against the 16 foot white sail was recorded at 27 miles per hour at 5 miles away from shore. The boiling point of fresh water is 100 degrees C, at sea level. Student Page Instructions: The underlined words in the story are observations. As you read the story, highlight the Qualitative observations with yellow and highlight the Quantitative observations with blue. The Honeybee The honeybee is somewhat curled up but appears to be about 9 mm. long. Its three body segments are the head, thorax, and abdomen. All of its six are attached to the thorax. It has four wings arranged in two pairs also attached to the thorax on the topside. Most of the body is a teddy bear brown, but the abdomen has several parallel bands of darker chocolate brown on the abdomen segment. The wings are transparent, clear and paper-thin. The barbs on its legs can be felt easily when I rub them gently with my fingertips. The biggest things on the head are the two compound eyes. The freeze-dried bee smells like something decaying. The motionless bee makes no sound and weighs about the same as one paper clip. Teacher Answer Page The Qualitative observations are italicized and the Quantitative observations are bold. The Honeybee The honeybee is somewhat curled up but appears to be about 9 mm. long. Its three body segments are the head, thorax, and abdomen. All of its six are attached to the thorax. It has four wings arranged in two pairs also attached to the thorax on the topside. Most of the body is a teddy bear brown, but the abdomen has several parallel bands of darker chocolate brown on the abdomen segment. The wings are transparent, clear and paper-thin. The barbs on its legs can be felt easily when I rub them gently with my fingertips. The biggest things on the head are the two compound eyes. The freeze-dried bee smells like something decaying. The motionless bee makes no sound and weighs about the same as one paper clip. Who Am I? Think about all the different observations you can make about yourself. Select at least 3 qualitative observations and 3 quantitative observations. In a paragraph use those 6 observations to describe yourself. The teacher may read this paper aloud to the class so do not put anything in that would embarrass you. This is the rubric the teacher will use to evaluate your writing. Please check everything yourself before the teacher does! 1= 2= 3= 4= Who Am I ? Evaluation poor quality fair quality good quality best quality introductory sentence 3 quantitative observations 3 qualitative observations Variety in writing Closing sentence Comments: Total: Observation Scavenger Hunt Walk around the room making observations about objects in the room. Record observations that match the descriptions listed below. The object may be living or non-living. Designate whether the observation is qualitative or quantitative using an X in the appropriate column in the chart. Description Object observed Qualitative Quantitative 1. something green 2. feels bumpy 3. measures 1 foot 4. smells like cinnamon 5. tastes sweet 6. weight equals 10 paper clips 7. feels gritty 8. buzzes or hums 9. measures 1 centimeter wide 10. makes a popping sound when squeezed Observation Scavenger Hunt Walk around the room making observations about objects in the room. Record observations that match the descriptions listed below. The object may be living or non-living. Designate whether the observation is qualitative or quantitative using an X in the appropriate column in the chart. Description Object observed Qualitative Quantitative 1. something green 2. feels bumpy 3. measures 1 foot 4. smells like cinnamon 5. tastes sweet 6. weight equals 10 paper clips 7. feels gritty 8. buzzes or hums 9. measures 1 centimeter wide 10. makes a popping sound when squeezed Analogies, Similes, Metaphors After students have begun to improve their observations, take them to the next level. Use pictures cut from magazines to stimulate their use of analogies. Using an analogy requires students to explain their reasoning about the relationship they see. Analogy example: This shell serves the same function for the oyster as this house in the picture does for people. This requires more thinking on their part and gives you insight into their level of understanding. For primary students use wordless picture books or big books by Tana Hobin. In writing observations students also need to begin using comparison statements to define their descriptors. Round can mean "round like a ball" or "round like a coin". Red can mean "fire engine red" or "red as a rose". Using a common reference point when things can't be measured is also important, Large can mean "as large as my shoe" or "as large as an elephant". By using similes and metaphors the description becomes more accurate and the writing becomes richer. Strategies to help teach analogies, similes and metaphors are: Find interesting looking pictures in almost any magazine. Change pictures often so students will constantly have to look for new connections. Have students bring in pictures to add to the "bank" of picture choices. Let students use paint sample cards from Home Depot or Lowes as a reference for more specific color terms in describing things. Using analogies, similes and metaphors is the creative outlet many students need, Give points for including analogies, similes and metaphors in observations. Inferences Once good observations are underway, the difference between observation and inference can be taught. Students may be more familiar with the terms "fact" vs "non-fact". These can be used interchangeably with "observation" vs "inference". Strategies to help students distinguish between observations and inferences are: Have students write their own operational definitions of observations and inferences (see examples). Discuss observations and inferences that occur daily at school. Encourage students to share their observations and inferences orally during the day. For all grades, use the Picture Card set. Have students write or tell 3 observations and/or 3 inferences from each picture. For grades 2-3 complete and discuss reasons for choices in the Penny activity. For grades 3-4, complete and discuss reasons for choices in BOY in the Water activity. For grades 4-5, complete and discuss reasons for choices in Bright Light Story activity. For grades 3-5, match up two squares that describe the same event in 5a.uares Activity A or 0. Designate which one is the observation and which one is the inference. (can be used as an assessment) Have students reflect on any investigation or event. What results were observations? What results were inferences? How do you know which are which? Operational Definitions to guide students in their thinking about Observations, Inferences, and Conclusions Observations Based upon one or more of your senses, observations are statements about what you see, hear, taste, smell or feel. Observations may involve using tools such as magnifying lenses and microscopes, measuring equipment such as rulers or balances, and communication 5ki115 such as drawing and writing. An observation is an act of recognizing and noting a fact or occurrence. To watch carefully, especially with attention to details, for the purpose of arriving at a decision is an observation. Inferences An inference is when you arrive at a conclusion by reasoning from the evidence and interpreting or explaining what was observed. For example, it is an inference to assume that an insect has released a dark, sticky liquid from its mouth because it is upset and trying to defend itself. However, the statement "released a dark, sticky liquid from its mouth" is an observation. Assuming you know why it happened is an inference. After seeing this event occur many times when the organism is picked up and held tightly, one may conclude that one of the organism's defense mechanisms is to release a dark, sticky liquid. Conclusions Conclusions are statements that explain why something has occurred based on evidence collected from several observations. Conclusions explain the result, outcome, or final part of something. A conclusion is a type of inference in which you have the most confidence after considering all the observed evidence. Jumping to conclusions occurs when you believe you know why something has happened without gathering all the evidence or data first. Penny Observations vs. Inferences (use paper money from math supplies or real coins) There is a face of a person Anyone using the coin on one side of the coin. trusts in God. The people who made The face on the coin is an the coin love liberty. important person. The words "In God We Trust" OBSERVATIONS are printed on the coin. On one side of the coin INFERENCES is a picture of a building. The boy is in the water. The weather is cold. The tree branch is broken. A goat is standing by the The branch will fall on the The boy fell off the branch. pond. boy's head. There is a sailboat in the The sailboat belongs to the The boy fell off the rocks. water. boy. The goat will soon leave the The tree by the pond has no There are three rocks in the pond. leaves on it. pond. If it rains leaves will grow on The tree by the pond is dead. the tree. OBSERVATIONS If the boy crawled out of the The goat butted the boy into water the goat would butt him. the pond. INFERENCES The Bright Light Story The farmer was crossing the field at dusk when a bright light was sighted in the sky. Upon reaching the farmhouse, Olson made a telephone call to the sheriff. The farmer grabbed a camera and dashed outdoors to get pictures. The next day the big news report in the local paper was an alleged UFO sighting. 1. Olson called the sheriff to report a UFO 9. The farmer crossed his field at dusk. sighting. 2. The farmer called the sheriff after he 10. The sheriff received a call from a sighted a light in the sky. farmer who saw a light in the sky. 11. The story mentions two people: farmer 3. Olson took pictures of the UFO. Olson and the sheriff. 12. A farmer was crossing the field on his 4. The farmer took pictures a h r calling tractor when a bright light was sighted the sheriff. in the sky. 13. The local newspaper reported an 5. The farmer's report of his UFO sighting alleged UFO sighting. made the headlines in the local paper. 6. The local paper reported a UFO sighting near the Olson farm. TRUE 7. When Olson took the pictures it was dark outside. FALSE 8. A farmer saw a light in the sky as he crossed the field at dusk. UNDECIDED TEACHER PAGE The Bright Light Story Response Key The farmer was crossing the field at dusk when a bright light was sighted in the sky. Upon reaching the farmhouse, Olson made a telephone call to the sheriff. The farmer grabbed a camera and dashed outdoors to get pictures. The next day the big news report in the local paper was an alleged UFO sighting. 1. Olson called the sheriff to report a UFO 8. A farmer saw a light in the sky as he sighting. crossed the field at dusk. This is ? as Olson could have called about the This is ? Does it say that the farmer saw sighting but the story provides no evidence the light? of this. 2. The farmer called the sheriff after he 9. The farmer crossed his field at dusk. sighted a light in the sky. This is ? because we don’t know whether This is ? Does it say that the farmer was a or not the farmer and Olson are the same man or was crossing his own field? person 10. The sheriff received a call from a farmer 3. Olson took pictures of the UFO. who saw a light in the sky. This is ? because we don’t know what Olson was taking pictures of. It could have This is ? Again, are the farmer and Olson been what he thought was a UFO or the same person? something else. 4. The farmer took pictures a h r calling the 11. The story mentions two people: farmer sheriff. Olson and the sheriff. This is ? Again, if the farmer and Olson This is ? Are the farmer and Olson the are different persons, then there are three same person? people. 12. A farmer was crossing the field on his 5. The farmer's report of his UFO sighting tractor when a bright light was sighted in made the headlines in the local paper. the sky. This is ? It could have been the farmer’s This is ? The farmer could have been on a report, but there is not sufficient evidence tractor, however, we don’t know that for to be conclusive. sure. 6. The local paper reported a UFO sighting 13. The local newspaper reported an alleged near the Olson farm. UFO sighting. This is ? It could have been the same sighting, yet there is not a statement in the A true statement. story to support that. 7. When Olson took the pictures it was dark outside. This is ? Again, are Olson and the farmer the same person? The farmer grabbed the camera to take pictures,; we don’t know if the farmer took pictures. You are in your After waking up room studying for a The students are one morning you test. Your brother is A horse is covered taking a test or They just played a walk over to the in the living room. in dirt & mud doing individual game of basketball window & touch it. You hear some assignments. It feels cold. scary music &then a scream. You wake up. You Sitting at a red light The assistant sit on the edge of you notice the car principal comes to your bed & stretch. next to you. It is a your classroom. He It must be cold You walk over to candy apple red asks that two boys She got a haircut. outside. the window & sports car. It is very come into the hall notice that shiny but has water so that he may talk everything looks droplets all over it. to them. wet. A dog is walking The horse must down the street. It There is a fire on have rolled on the is a sunny summer There has been an The car was just the other side of the ground or was in a day. Not a cloud in accident. washed. door. somewhat wet the sky. The dog is place. wet. You smell smoke. You are an office There is a scary You walk over & aide delivering a movie on TV or They are in trouble, touch the door. It message to a It rained last night something scary is did something feels hot. The classroom. When while you were about to happen or wrong, got caught. doorknob is also you walk in all the asleep. it already did hot. You hear a students are quietly happen. crackling noise. looking at a paper. Your brother & You are in line at He was playing in a your dad walk into the grocery store. She did not get the sprinkler. He was Someone just the house. They are The man in front of part that she had swimming in the scored a touchdown sweating, dirty & you is buying 2 tried out for. lake or pool. He has are carrying a large bags of dog just had a bath. basketball. food. At the football You are driving game you leave Your best friend He must have a lot Your friend comes down the interstate. your seat to get a walks out of the of dogs, or maybe to school & her hair Traffic slows down. snack. While drama room he has one large is short. It was long You can see getting your order, looking sad. dog. last week. flashing lights & a you hear the crowd police car. roar. People in the gym There are a lot of are blowing up cars in front of you. Clear, colorless, balloons, putting up They are slowing It must be cold The water is odorless liquid streamers & down & stopping. outside. warmer than the air. bringing in sound There are red lights equipment. flashing. Someone came in People are wearing You smell smoke. lat to class with long sleeved shirts Sirens are There is an gauze in their & coats. They have It is raining outside. sounding. People argument or fight. mouth & a wet on long pants & are screaming & chin. gloves. running. There are footprints in the mud outside While outside you the window. You see a lot of dark We are going to The team won the There is going to be did not see anyone. clouds moving in. have a school football game. a strong rainstorm. The prints are large The wind becomes dance. & deep. The mud is more intense. still a little wet. A man walks into A large group of the room. He is students are There is a train You are on a bridge wearing a yellow Water gathered in a circle. coming, or a train & steam is coming raincoat. His coat They are making a has already passed. off the lake. has droplets of clear lot of noise. liquid on it. You did not get to Your best friend the game in time. They just came comes to school You drive up as the There must have from the dentist’s late & sits down There is a fire. players are getting been a party. office & had some next to you. Her on the bus. They teeth pulled. eyes are halfway are yelling & closed. laughing. You walk into the house. There are Your best friend Not long ago a She was up late & cups everywhere, Your friend was out comes back to large heavy person did not get enough spilled food, in the sun. school after spring walked by. sleep. popcorn all over & break very tan. balloons here & there. Conclusions When students become better observers they begin to see patterns, make generalizations and draw more productive conclusions. Use several whole group sessions for some of these strategies to allow students plenty of modeling and practice. Strategies to help students draw and write conclusions are: Have students write their own operational definitions of conclusions and explain how they are related to inferences (see examples). Discuss the types of evidence that are useful in proving something or making a persuasive argument. (data of all types) Use mystery activities to focus on evidence as a basis for drawing a conclusion. MysteryNet.com and TheCase.com Use the Conclusion Cards. Have a bag of cards for each student to use as "thinking prompts" while writing conclusions. o Start with one or two cards. Gradually add others as needed or when appropriate for the content. o Tailor a card set to each child's abilities for differentiated instruction. o Use the cards to teach and encourage analysis of data. o Designate which letters must be used on an investigation assignment. Not all cards will be applicable in every investigation. Use a rubric to evaluate. o Have students plan and organize their writing by first putting cards in the order they want to use. o Have students use card sets to evaluate a peer's conclusion. o Encourage students to make and add cards of their own to their "set". o Save copies of student conclusions (names removed) to use for evaluation samples with a different class or year of students. Use the Conclusion Rubric Conclusion Cards A. B. C. Briefly tell how the data Could there have been How could your testing be was collected. errors in measurement or useful to someone? data collecting? D. E. F. Tell specific data from How many trials were Look for connections or your results that either done? relationships in the data. supports or contradicts Tell about them. your hypothesis. G. H. I. Look for a pattern in the Was the data from several Connect your conclusions data. Tell about it. trials averaged? back t o the problem. J. K. L. Are there highs and lows Were your results verified Could other conditions in the data? Tell about it. by testing from other during the testing have groups? affected your results? M. N. O. Did some data seem What would you do Make at least 3 true unreasonable? Did you differently next time? statements about your use it or discard it? data. P. Q. R. Does the graphed data What new questions could show a trend? Could you be explored? make future predictions based upon it? S. T. U.