Deductive Reasoning Lesson for Kids

Instructor: April DeBord

April has taught Spanish and English as a Second Language and she has her Ed. S. in Foreign Language Education.

Reasoning is a good way to convince someone to do something. There are two basic kinds of reasoning deductive and inductive. In this lesson we're going to look at deductive reasoning and how it can help you win an argument and be a better scientist.

Deductive Reasoning

Deductive reasoning means we can draw a conclusion based on at least two true statements, or premises. Because the statements are true, we know that the conclusion we make based on those two statements is also true. Sherlock Holmes, the detective character from books and movies, is a great example of someone who uses deductive reasoning all of the time. He draws conclusions by observing the situation, and he uses these observations to find the criminal and solve the crime.

Example #1

Let's look at an everyday example of deductive reasoning.

Mark only owns blue and green shirts. Today Mark is wearing a shirt. So, today Mark is wearing either a blue or a green shirt. We know this because the first two statements are true. There is no way that Mark could not be wearing a blue or green shirt because he only owns blue and green shirts, and he is wearing one today.

Example #2

Naomi has a Science Olympiad meeting on either Wednesday or Friday. She just found out that the meeting is not on Wednesday, so the meeting must be on Friday. If both things are true, there is no way that the meeting could be on another day. We are certain, so this is deductive reasoning.

Example #3

We can also use deductive reasoning in science. Let's take this example:

1. All Mammals are warm-blooded. They drink their mother's milk, they have fur, and they have a backbone.

2. People are warm-blooded. They drink their mother's milk, they have fur, and they have a backbone.

Therefore, we can deductively reason and say that people are mammals.

Example #4

You can also use deductive reasoning with your parents when you try to convince them of something. Let's say you really want to get a trampoline for Christmas. However, your parents are not so sure. They think trampolines are dangerous, and they don't want you to get hurt. You decide to do some research to see if they are dangerous. You find some reliable information online, and you make some statements based on the research to support your reasoning.

1. When one responsible person at a time uses a trampoline, the risks of injury are minimized.

2. You are a responsible kid.

The conclusion you can make to your parents is because you are a responsible kid, you will always make sure only one person uses the trampoline at a time. This will minimize the risk.

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