ALEX Lesson Plan


Inferencing Detective

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Courtney Karr
System: Lawrence County
School: Lawrence County Board Of Education
The event this resource created for:CCRS
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33062


Inferencing Detective


Students will learn to make inferences based on evidence and prior knowledge about their teacher (by looking at objects), classmates (by viewing drawings or PowerPoint), and a reading passage.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 4
1 ) Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. [RL.4.1]

NAEP Framework
Anchor Standard::
Anchor Standard 1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Cognitive Target::
  • Identify textually explicit information and make simple inference with and across texts, such as: definitions, facts, supporting details.
  • Make complex inferences within and across texts to describe problems and solution or cause and effect, determine unstated assumptions in and argument.

NAEP Descriptor::
Recognize explicitly stated reason for character's statement in a story. (Locate and Recall)

NAEP Descriptor::
Interpret reason for character's statement and explain with support from story. (Integrate and Interpret)

NAEP Descriptor::
Recognize paraphrase of explicit details about a main character in a story. (Locate and Recall)

NAEP Descriptor::
Recognize story detail related to main action. (Locate and Recall)

NAEP Descriptor::
Recognize reason explicitly stated in a story. (Locate and Recall)

NAEP Descriptor::
Recognize reason for character's action in a story (explicit). (Locate and Recall)

NAEP Descriptor::
Recognize description of character's action explicitly stated in a story. (Locate and Recall)

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.4.1- Answer who, what, when, and where questions to demonstrate understanding of a story.

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students should be able to:

  • construct an inference by looking at objects 
  • formulate an inference from a reading passage
  • justify an inference by providing text evidence to support the inference

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Bag containing items that tell something about the teacher (Milo's Tea, football, Alabama T-shirt, etc.), passage, highlighter, sticky note

If following option 1, you will need paper and markers or crayons.

Technology Resources Needed:

Digital Timer to help students with time management

(Optional) Interactive Whiteboard and Projector

(Optional) Computers for students with PowerPoint


Teacher: prepare a bag filled with items that describe yourself

Students: It would be helpful for students to have some prior knowledge of providing evidence from a text.


1. Tell students that today we are going to put on our detective thinking hats and do something called inferencing. To make a good inference we have to think like a detective. We have to look at a clue and come up with a thought based on that clue. For example, if I saw a lady reading a book, I could infer that she likes to read. First, I am going to let you infer some things about me. I am going to call some of you up here to choose an item out of this bag. You will then have to think like a detective to make a statement about me. 

2. Allow one student at a time to come up to the front of the classroom and pick an item out of the bag. Students should then make an inference about the teacher based on the item. Record the inferences on an All About (teacher's name) chart.  This chart can be on chart paper, interactive whiteboard, or projector. Continue this until all items are removed from the bag. 

3. Debrief with students. Tell students that while making inferences they took what they saw (the object) and what they knew (prior knowledge about the objects) and developed an inference.

4. (Option 1) Give students a piece of paper and markers or crayons. Tell students they have five minutes to Graffiti, and should draw things that tell about them. Set a digital timer to assist with time management.

(Option 2) Allow students to make a PowerPoint presentation of clip art, Web images, or WordArt that describes them. (You will want to provide suggestions of where to find these images to prevent students from accessing inappropriae material.)

5.  After the five minutes are up (for option 1) or after the PowerPoints are complete, students should peer huddle (get into a group of 4 to 5).  Students are to work together to make inferences based on the drawings or presentation and record them on a piece of paper. Remind students that you are listening and looking for appropriate vocabulary such as I can infer ______, because the evidence suggests ________. 

6. Meet together as a whole group and allow students to share something they inferred about another student and what evidence helped to develop that inference.

7.  Tell students that we are now going to take what we have learned and put it to use on a reading passage. (Websites to find Common Core reading passages are attached.) Remind students that we are still thinking like a detective. 

8. Give students a passage, a highlighter, and a sticky note. 

9. Tell students that good inferences have evidence to support them. Tell students to read the passage and write down an inference made from their reading on the sticky note. The inference must say, "I can infer ____ because ___" Write the stem on the board. Students must highlight text evidence in the passage to support their inference.

10. Students should turn in the sticky note and highlighted passage as an informal assessment.  (You can use this to guide your instruction in future lessons.)

Links to Common Core Reading Passages:

Reading Sage

Read Works

Have Fun Teaching


Assessment Strategies

Students should turn in their sticky note and highlighted passage as an informal assessment that can be used to guide further instruction.


Students can make two or more inferences from the passage.

Students can read additional passages to practice inferencing.

Students can play an online inferencing riddle game.


Provide lower students with picture cards to make inferences from. 

Use a below grade level reading passage to introduce inferring from a passage. (Can be found on the same sites attached as the fourth grade passages)

View the Special Education resources for instructional guidance in providing modifications and adaptations for students with significant cognitive disabilities who qualify for the Alabama Alternate Assessment.