Monday, September 27, 2010

Inference Folders

One of the skills students need to develop as they learn to think like scientists is inferring. 

This is a simple activity to assemble, and is a good way to reuse old manilla folders and calendars.

Place a calendar picture inside a manilla folder; attach it with a piece of two of tape or a quick swipe of a glue stick.  Then, cut several small windows into the folder at various locations (cut on three sides, so you're left with a flap that can be opened and closed).  Number the windows in the order you'd like the students to open them.  Seal the edges of the folder with tape or glue. 

When students get a folder, they open the first window and observe what's inside.  Based on what they see, they need to infer what's inside.  They will then open the second window and add that information to what they previously gathered and refine their inference.  They will continue in the same manner until they've opened all the windows. 

At this point, your students will want to open the folder.  But, most of the time, scientists can't just "open the folder" - if they could, they wouldn't need to infer.  Scientists have to work with the information they have.  The best they can do is find ways to gather more information. 

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