Inductive Reasoning Activities for Kids

Instructor: Tawnya Eash

Tawnya has a master's degree in early childhood education and teaches all subjects at an elementary school.

Do you need some fun, engaging activities to teach your students about inductive reasoning? Look at this lesson for ways to teach young students how to use inductive reasoning.

Inductive Reasoning

Inductive reasoning is when you draw a general conclusion based off of certain observations that were made. The conclusion is not certain, but can most likely be true. For example, let's say Billy loves building sand castles, playing in the ocean, and collecting sea shells. With these details, you could use inductive reasoning to conclude that Billy probably enjoys the beach. Your conclusion is pretty likely.

However, some conclusions may not be true. For example, Billy is a boy who likes to play at the beach. Joey is a boy who likes to play at the beach. Using inductive reasoning, one might conclude that all boys enjoy the beach. This might not be true because many boys out there that don't enjoy the beach.

Check out some meaningful, engaging activities that you can use to help your students understand inductive reasoning.

Written in a Picture

In this activity, students get to look at various pictures of real life things and draw a general conclusion based off of the observations they make.


  • Pictures of various animals, sports, scenery, etc.
    • Enlarge the pictures and print them out for display with a projector
  • Writing paper or index cards
  • Pencils


1.) Students work individually or with a partner.

2.) Students make observations based off of pictures they see to come to a general conclusion.

Cat and rodent example:

Image of Cat and Rodent
cat and rodent

Observations: The cat is orange. The cat is about to pounce on the rodent.

General Conclusion: All orange cats pounce on rodents.

3.) Guide students through the first few examples. Then, allow them to make their own observations and conclusions.

4.) Observe students as they are completing this activity. Provide scaffolding as needed to help children collect observations and make a general conclusion.

5.) Share observations and conclusions as a class.

6.) Finally, discuss how the general conclusions may not hold true 100% or all of the time. Explain how with the cat and rodent example, some other colored cats may enjoy pouncing on rodents. Also, some orange colored cats may not be interested in pouncing on rodents at all.

Finish This Sentence

For this activity, students will receive sentence starters, or observations, that they can use to form a general conclusion that goes with the observations.


  • Prepared groups of sentences
    • At least 10 groups of sentences per student or partnership
    • Sentences could be typed, written, or displayed on a screen
  • Writing paper or notebooks
  • Pencils


1.) Have students work individually or with a partner.

2.) Students read groups of sentences that are observations. Then, students use those observations to practice making a general conclusion through inductive reasoning.

Example 1:

Provide students with observation sentences. The last sentence is the conclusion they generalize.

  • This green jellybean tastes like spearmint.
  • This green jellybean tastes like spearmint, too.
  • Therefore...

Example 2:

  • I saw a man on a unicycle in the park last Sunday.
  • I saw a man on a unicycle in the park this Sunday, too.
  • Therefore, next Sunday...

3.) Share all of the conclusions as a class. Discuss.

4.) Have students write a paragraph explaining why some of the general conclusions could be incorrect. Example: There could be many reasons why the man on the unicycle is not going to return on the third Sunday. Maybe he got sick.

Detective Work

In this activity, students get to work like detectives to see first-hand how important it is to base evidence off of facts, not just observations. Students will get to form a hypothesis to help solve a mystery.


  • Prepared sentence strips placed in envelopes for each group
    • Sentences can be written or types and should be phrased as observations not necessarily facts
    • Use at least two different mysteries in each envelope
  • Optional: throw in an extra envelope or two filled with sentence strips that throw off general conclusions
  • Journal/Notebook
  • Pencils


1.) Have students work in groups of 2-3.

2.) Give each group of students one envelope of sentence strips. The entire envelope will have all of the observations for each mystery.

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