Teaching kids to infer: A lesson plan in looking for clues

Summary of lesson plan:

In this lesson, students use an interactive website as detectives to solve a number of simple cases. The website also reads what is on the page, ensuring that all children can play. It is a simple, yet fun lesson in learning about inference.

Australian Curriculum Links:

Lesson plan sequence:

  • Explain to the children that today we are going to look at a strategy in reading that is called ‘INFERRING’.
  • Explain that inference is simply trying to work out something from the text when it hasn’t been explained. You need to use the clues to help you solve them.
  • If you have some magnifying glasses, it would be great to hand these out to get the kids thinking about being detectives.
  • Explain to the kids that good readers use the clues in the text, along with their thinking skills (schema) to make great predictions about what is happening in the text.
  • Create an anchor chart for your students to refer to. There are heaps here for you to refer to as well:
  • At this point, you may like to show a picture like this and ask a bunch of questions:

  • Ask things like:
    • What time of the year is this? And ask them to explain why they think that.
    • Who would win the water fight and why?
    • Where are they and why?
  • To reinforce with the kids, explain to them that they are inferring all these answers based on what they have seen and their own knowledge.
  • You may like to show a couple more pictures at this point to reinforce the skill.
  • When you are satisfied that your students ‘get it’, explain to them that they are going to put on their detective hats now and play a game online.
  • Model how to use the first case of:
  • Model how to record your ability to infer by creating an Inference / Schema table (E.g. Inference will be ‘the table was bumped’ and schema will be ‘therefore I know a vase may wobble off it and fall to the ground, causing it to break’. Or use the one attached below.


  • Bring all students back on the floor/mat and discuss their tables.
  • Go back through the Detective Game and ask students to verbally tell you the inference and schema to check how well they picked it up.
  • Relate what they have done in class to something in the outside world, e.g. A policeman would have to use lots of clues. Or, an ambulance officer would need to use clues when they turn up at a house.


  • Collect Inference/Schema Tables to use as evidence.
  • Anecdotal notes on student discussions and additions while on computers.





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