Lesson plan

Fact or Assumption

Distinguishing between facts and assumptions is an important life skill. In this lesson, students will articulate the difference between assumptions and facts through class discussion and a poster activity.
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Students will be able to define and understand the difference between the terms "assumption" and "fact."

(10 minutes)
  • Ask students to join into a circle, either seated in chairs or on the floor.
  • Explain to the class that today, they will be exploring the terms "judgement" and "fact."
  • Before they begin, have students take a moment to sit upright and come to as much stillness as they can.
  • Guide the class to close their eyes or look down, and to become aware of the sounds they hear outside. Have students pause for a moment so they can really listen. Then, have the them place their attention to what they hear outside of the windows. Once again, pause for a moment so they can really listen.
  • Ask the class if they notice thoughts that may judge the sound. For example, they may have thoughts saying "I don't like that sound," or "I like the sound of the fan in the room." Ask them to notice these thoughts and judgements, and mention that it is totally okay to have these thoughts. Then, gently bring their attention back to the sounds.
  • Ask the students to take a few deep breaths and gently open their eyes.
  • Ask the class to share what they noticed. Ask, "Did anyone have thoughts that were judging the sounds? Remember it is okay if you did."
  • Ask, "Did you notice anything about the sounds you had not noticed before?"
  • Ask if anyone can name a fact, rather than a judgement, about a sound they heard, such as "I heard a car" or "I heard feet walking."
  • Explain to the class, that just as we can judge sounds (liking or not liking), we can judge other things and people. We can judge without knowing all the facts.
  • Explain to the class that another term for this is "making assumptions."
  • Write "assumption" on the board, and ask the class what the word means. Ask them to look at the root word, "assume." Again, ask what it may mean.
  • Write the following definition of assumption on the board: "A thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof."
  • Ask if anyone can give an example of an assumption they have had about food. Ask students if they've ever judged something before actually experiencing it.
  • Ask, "How can you judge something without having actual proof?" Then, give an example from your own life.
  • Share that it is normal for us to make assumptions. However, we can use mindfulness to become more aware of our assumptions, before actually believing them.
(5 minutes)
  • Write the following statements on the board that represent a fact or judgement:
    • Pitbulls are dogs
    • Pitbulls are dangerous dogs.
  • Use these statements to demonstrate for the class one assumption you may have and one fact that can be proven true.
  • Ask the class to take a moment and notice if they have any thoughts about the statement. Ask if they notice any judgements rising in their minds.
  • Ask the students to turn to a partner and talk about what assumptions they may have, and how those differ from facts.
  • Ask a few pairs to share what they discussed with the whole class.
  • Then, show students a few images (e.g. clouds, pizza, flowers). In the same pairs, ask the class to come up with two statements for each image. One statement should be a fact, and one statement should be a judgement.
  • Display 3–4 more pictures, and ask students to think and pair-share for each picture.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask the class why they think it is important to know the difference between an assumption and a fact. Build upon their answers and ask, "How can this help us in the classroom? How can this help us with our friendships? How can this help us with our interactions with strangers?"
  • Explain to the class that they will go back to their seats to complete the Poster: Fact or Assumption? worksheet with a partner. Their posters will be displayed as reminders of noticing the difference between facts and assumptions, and not always believing assumptions.
  • Show the students an example poster you created that displays the difference between a fact and an assumption.
  • Ask the students if they have questions.
(25 minutes)
  • Divide the class into pairs, and distribute the Poster: Fact or Assumption? worksheet and poster materials.
  • Dismiss the pairs to complete the poster.

Enrichment: Ask advanced students to write a song or rap about not believing assumptions and getting to know the facts.

Support: For extra support, pair struggling students with those who are more advanced to create their posters. Provide a model poster for students who rely on visuals.

(5 minutes)
  • Observe students during the independent working time.
  • Collect posters to assess students' understanding of the difference between facts and assumptions.
(5 minutes)
  • After all students have completed their posters, ask partners to come to the front of the room and share their posters with the class.
  • Guide the class through a "P-Q-S" (Praise-Questions-Suggestions) protocol. Ask students to give praise for the poster, to ask questions, and then offer suggestions for the groups and their posters.
  • After all partners have shared, ask the class how we can be more aware of our judgements and assumptions.
  • Mention that by practicing mindfulness, learning the facts about someone or something, and not always believing our thoughts, we can be more aware of our judgements.

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