By Alfred L. Musson Jr. and Janice Carlton


One of the key components of doing science is to make and record observations. Simply put, observation is using one of your five senses (sight, touch, taste, hearing, and smell), to gather information about the world. Feeling the rough surface of a rock, hearing the thunder and seeing the thunderclouds form in the summer sky, tasting salty sea water, or smelling the unpleasant odor of vinegar are all observations. Observations lead to questions from which scientific discoveries are made.


The student will be able to list basic observations without making inferences.


Student collected rock samples.


  1. Students gather two rock samples from outside and return to classroom.
  2. Working individually or in groups, students need to examine the characteristics of each sample.
  3. List various characteristics.
  4. At close of given time, student will share their characteristics with the class. Characteristics will be classified as an observation or an inference.
  5. Students will complete conclusion question.


Define the following terms: observation and inference.