Chapter 6: Making Inferences and Predictions (BMC Book Study)

Inference is a mosaic, a dazzling constellation of thinking processes... 
Inferences result in the creation of personal meaning.

Even though students often make inferences and predictions regularly, they are often subconsciously made. It is important for students to become aware of this process and know when and how to use it (173).

When students infer, they can...
  • draw conclusions
  • make reasonable predictions (link to prior schema yet describes something in the future and can checked)
  • make connections 
  • gain insight to what might not be explicitly stated 
  • make critical and analytical judgments. (172)
One idea presented by Laney Sammons to help students make predictions and inferences is to use a Word Splash. To create a Word Splash when introducing a concept or topic, pick key and important words related to the topic. Then have students make predictions/inferences when discussing how the words are related/connected (187). Record student thinking on an anchor chart so as the unit progresses, students can revisit and revise their inferences and prove/disprove their predictions.

I have used Word Splashes in the past. If possible, I also like to add images. See one here that can be used to introduce 3.MD.2-Measurement to 3rd graders. Click on the image if you think you can use this with your students.
Another idea Sammons talked about was What's the Question? Stretch (189). Give students a short scenario and have them generate questions that can be answered using the information presented in the scenario. Students will have to infer in order to generate these questions. Be sure to have students share their varied questions. This activity offers students the opportunity to extend their thinking and make connections with other mathematical concepts. The beauty of this task is that it is open-ended and there are multiple answers. Take a peek at the football scenario below. What questions come to mind? What might your students have to infer? Grab a copy by clicking on the image if you think you can use it with your students.


Building student fluency in predicting and inferring can help students solve problems. This strategy is definitely not as clear-cut for me in terms of explicitly teaching it in the math classroom. I am always looking for student-friendly ways to bring this strategy to the forefront for my students. I would love to hear any tips and tricks you use in the math classroom to help students in this area.

The next chapter will be on Determining Importance. 

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