Task # 5.1

Making Inferences


Scientists gather evidence and evaluate observations and make conclusions about the world around us.  Nobody I have known has ever touched or seen a straight up real dinosaur and no human has ever made it to Mars.  Yet we know so much about the Tyrannosaurus and the possibility of finding water and life on Mars.

Scientists make inferences and so do you, like all the time!

As readers we all become detectives. As we read we are constantly using clues to figure out what the author is NOT saying.


Use the cartoon above to complete the text box below:

Inference is what we do when we make conclusions based on information that has been implied (hinted at) rather than directly written in the text.  It is an essential skill in reading comprehension.  I depend on it every time I tell an awesome joke!  When I have to explain the joke so that you ‘get it’, it means I have failed to have you make an inference.

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Why is this (or isn’t this) cartoon funny?

Making an inference involves you using clues from the text, tapping into what you already know and using this to figure out what the author is trying to say.

The ‘already know’ part was very important to the joke in the cartoon above. Van Gogh was a famous painter who went a little crazy from drinking too much, he cut off his ear and sent it to his lady friend.  Now revisit the cartoon.  Did it change the way you inferred?  Here is some of Van Gogh’s famous work.

People make inferences every day, both in oral and written communication. This is so automatic that most of us don’t even realize the information wasn’t included in the conversation or text. For example, read the following sentences:

All of the sudden we hear a loud ’THWAKKK’ and the ball sails over the fence. Everybody goes wild.  We put our chins down and quickly head for the exit.

You can assume a great deal of information from these sentences:

  • they are at a baseball game
  • somebody just hit a home run
  • the game just ended
  • there is a lot of people happy
  • the ‘we’ are not all that happy about it
  • they feel uncomfortable/sad/flighty


This information was not clearly stated in the sentences, but you can use what was written to conclude or infer much more than what was said. Most of the information we get from reading comes from what is implied rather than direct statements, as you can see from the amount of information available by reading between the lines. It is through inferences that words take on meaning.

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It is your turn to make some inferences.  Read the numbered texts below and use the following text boxes to make your conclusions:

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MATH time.  Watch this video to set the mood:

You have studied in great depth the material world in Science class with Mr.Gibbs.  The material world is made up of all the beautiful things that tickle our senses.  The things we see, hear, smell, task and feel.

The material word is all about GEOMETRY.  What does that mean?  Make a connection between your science class and our measurement investigations:

Use my home movie to complete the following 4 practice questions:

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All car engines have cylinders.  The volume of these cylinders determines how many horses you have (horsepower).  In other words: how much power your engine has.


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You are done!  See you next time.