Fact or Inference? Learn the Difference Activity

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Updated on Oct 9, 2012

Inferences? For a fifth grader, identifying these ideas may sound confusing. Giving your child a news article and asking him to identify first, the conclusion and then, the supporting statements will help him organize his thoughts. Then identifying inferences will be easier and less painful.

What You Need:

  • Newspaper or access to an online news source, the local newspaper, msnbc.com or cnn.com
  • Chart paper or poster board
  • Pencil
  • Markers

What You Do:

  1. Pick an article out of the local newspaper or from an on-line news source about the environment, such as global warming. Have your child read the article.
  2. Discuss the article with your child and ask him to formulate a conclusion. Ask him what statements in the article led him to his conclusion. Was it the expert quote? The supporting chart? The in-depth analysis?
  3. Have your child create a web chart to display his ideas. Ask him to write his conclusion in the center of the chart. For example, he might write, “Polar bears are threatened with extinction because of global warming.” Then ask him to write the statements that support the conclusion in ovals surrounding the conclusion. For example, “Every year, there is less and less ice, causing bears to have to swim far distances to hunt and sometimes drowning from exhaustion.” Have him link the ovals to the statement.
  4. Discuss the meaning of inferences with your child. Remind him an inference is an idea that is suggested, but not stated as a fact. Ask him to draw a couple of inferences from the article about global warming. Then have him write those on the chart. Have him draw a box around each inference and link it to the conclusion.
  5. Ask your child to give an oral presentation about the article to family members using his web chart, and explaining how he reached his conclusion using inferences.
Sally is an experienced educator, with over 14 years of teaching experience. Over the last ten years she has created educational materials, including ancillary, textbook, and test items, for Grades K-8 for major educational publishers.