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Observation vs. Inference

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Presentation on theme: "Observation vs. Inference"— Presentation transcript:

1 Observation vs. Inference
Starring Homer J. Simpson

2 Observation Ohh… This liquid is green and it is leaking from a brown can. I also smell it. Observation: made when studying something to describe only facts that you can see, touch, taste, smell and hear. You are not making any guesses. THIS IS NOT AN OPINION!!

3 Qualitative Observations
Qualitative observations describe what we observe. “Qualitative” = quality (descriptive) These observations use adjectives to describe something. Example: The flower has white and pink petals. Example: Mrs. H has blue eyes.

4 Quantitative Observations
Quantitative observations measures what we observe. “Quantitative” = quantity (numerical) These observations use numbers to measure something in a quantitative way. Example: The flower has 12 petals. Example: Mrs. H has two eyes.

5 Which is better? Qualitative or Quantitative
Both types of observations are valuable in science. In an experiment though, quantitative observations can be precisely and objectively compared. Qualitative: The road is long. (describes) Quantitative: The road is 5 km long. (measures) Some things are easier to quantify than others. Scientists use innovative ways of turning qualitative into quantitative.

6 Words Worth Knowing Observation Inference Qualitative Quantitative

Inference Based on my observations, I think that this can is old and is leaking a toxic substance. Inference: using your observations to make an explanation about an object or an outcome THIS CAN BE A SCIENTIFIC OPINION

8 Inferences They are based on your past experiences and prior knowledge. Inferences are often changed when new observations are made. Again, observations are information we gather directly through our five senses….inferences help explain those observations!

9 Examples Observation: The grass on the school’s front lawn is wet.
Possible inferences: It rained. The sprinkler was on. There is dew on the grass from the morning. A dog urinated on the grass! All of these inferences could possibly explain why the grass is wet. They are all based on prior experiences. We have all seen rain, sprinklers, morning dew, and dogs going to the bathroom.

10 Group Practice Please Make some observations and inferences about the following picture.

11 Group Practice What are 2 observations and 2 inferences about the following picture?

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