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Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second [Teacher] So in a moment, I’m gonna show you three pictures and we’re going to be looking for the similarities and difference between the three images. So what can you see that they have in common? And what can you see that are different about the images? So you need your eyes on the board ready to look at the images and then I’ll give you a few moments in your groups to try and list what are the things that you think are similar, what did you think of the things that are different. [Pupil] Feet. I think it’s more like so. I think that they all have legs because they don’t have legs Yes. But they’re all different.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds Yes, but these two are on the ground. And I got an idea, and I got an idea. These two have a body and these two have a bone. Okay, this This creature has The similarities are [Teacher] Right, I’m really interested to find out what you’ve been talking about, what similarities and differences that you could find. I’m gonna come around to each table in a moment, okay? And remember, there’s no right or wrong answers, so anything that you’ve discussed, it’s all right, cuz what’s important is that you’ve discussed it and you’ve had a discussion about it, okay? So we’re gonna start over here with this table. So if May, would you like to do the talking?

Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds What similarities and differences did you discuss about the animals? [Pupil] Okay, we have the difference is a crustacean. [Teacher] A crustacean, yep. [Pupil] And caterpillar is an insect, a baby insect. And then I guess, the monkey thing, it’s a mammal, and they all breathe. [Teacher] So these are the differences you have, that they all belong to different animal groups, okay. [Pupil] Mm-hm. [Teacher] And the similarities were? [Pupil] Similarities, they’re all wild. [Teacher] Okay, they’re all wild animals, okay, what else? Is there anything else that you discovered? [Pupil] They all live in different habitats as well. [Teacher] Okay, yep, right, moving over to this table, yes, Julia. [Pupil] So the crab, it walks sideways, but the caterpillar walks forward.

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 seconds And the monkey swings to the tree to another tree. [Teacher] So they all move in different ways, interesting. [Pupil] The crab, actually when you go near it, it pinches you, when the others don’t, they don’t attack you. [Teacher] Okay, so the crab is dangerous, it could be dangerous to humans or other animals whereas the others don’t have pincers. So we could talk about maybe their defense. [Teacher] Okay? [Pupil] They can’t live in very cold places and hot places. [Teacher] Okay, so none of them live in a very cold place is what you think, okay. Anything else that table would like to add, Amana? [Pupil] The different heights and weights. [Teacher] Okay, so they all have different heights and different weights.

Skip to 3 minutes and 26 seconds So which one do you think weighs the most? [Pupil] Maybe the monkey? [Teacher] Okay, and which one do you think weighs the least? [Pupil] Caterpillar? [Teacher] Okay, possibly, yeah, and they’re all different sizes as well, well done. All right, so what we’re going to do next is take it a step further. Now, you to start to think about all the different ways it could be similar and different. Your task in your group is to come up as a group and decide which one do you think is the odd one out? And again, you have to justify your answer.

Skip to 3 minutes and 55 seconds So that means, you have to give a reason for why you picked that one image out of the three and choose it to be the odd one out. Remember, there’s no right or wrong answers, but what we’re looking for is your justification of which one could be the odd one out. Off you go. [Pupil] I think the crab is the odd one. Yeah, because it lives in the water. Yeah. The caterpillar and the monkey guy, it lives more in the open. Yeah. Yeah, but it can be the caterpillar because- It crawls. It’s all the Yeah, it could be.

Skip to 4 minutes and 38 seconds I think it will be the monkey cuz of the amount of bones And the monkey lives in a tree, so that’s in the air. Yeah, but the caterpillar. We all think all of them I think- Yeah, that’s what- Yeah, the monkey has a skeleton as well and then those Yeah, they are That’s- They all have really different things about. Yeah. And they all seems odd for like- Yeah, and that’s ten legs, five for each and then that’s- This is the only one that has- A tail A tail, yeah. And it has Yeah, it’s a hard This more live in the water more, but these are more like, it’s trees, on the ground, or- And those sometimes Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Skip to 5 minutes and 24 seconds There is no- Let’s just see what we think But there is no right or wrong answer. That’s always something different Yeah. I think that the crab is the odd one out because it has his skeleton outside and the flesh is in the inside We have flesh in the outside while we have bones in the inside. [Teacher] Hopefully you’ve come up with a decision about which one do you think is the odd one out. And maybe some of the people in your groups disagreed with you, maybe they agreed with you, but remember there’s no wrong answers, so it’s all fine. [Pupil] I think it’s the caterpillar. [Teacher] Why do you think it’s the caterpillar? [Pupil] Because it’s an odd one.

Skip to 6 minutes and 7 seconds So it changes into a butterfly. [Teacher] Okay, so that’s the only one that’s different. How is that different to the other two? [Pupil] And even these two, when they are small, and they change into bigger, and they lay eggs, the crab. [Teacher] Okay, Amrit, did you want to say something? [Pupil] The lemur and the crab has legs. [Teacher] Okay, cuz it doesn’t have legs as the other two, from what you can see, do have legs. Okay, well done. And now, Joe, did you want to add something else? [Pupil] I wanted to say I disagree with Amrit because if you look closely, it does have legs.

Skip to 6 minutes and 44 seconds If you look closely and how it’s moving, it’s moving forwards, and it can’t move forward- [Teacher] Okay, well done. [Teacher] You know when you look down a microscope, and sometimes you can see things which are really, really big, but when you actually look at them, they’re not that big, all right? This is a zoom in and zoom out one. So it’s going to be a picture where they’ve zoomed right in, and you’re going to try and work out what it’s a picture of. I want you to think of three things it could be, right, and that could be on your tables or in your talk partners. Three things it could be and the reason why you think that.

Skip to 7 minutes and 21 seconds And it’s okay, cuz we might all change our minds. [Teacher] So there is the picture. What can we see? What do we think it could possibly be? I’m going to let you talk about it, but I’m only going to let you have one minute to come up with three different things. Off you go. [Pupil] Yeah? I think it might be the scale of a fish because it looks like the only one have it and at the end. And the looks of it is it makes me imagine that if I touch it in real life, it would feel a fish skin. And it looks also it has someone’s fingernails stuff to his skin.

Skip to 8 minutes and 17 seconds [Teacher] I’m going to ask for three different ideas and I want to know your reasons why you think that, Demi. [Pupil] So at the table, when we looked at the picture, we thought it might be like a type of fish. Maybe fish, the scales or something on a fish, or maybe a worm, a really zoomed in worm, or a snake. Maybe the designs on a snake or something or the color of a snake. [Teacher] Right, so you think the skin of something. Right, I know that there will be a few nods agreeing with you that it could possibly be one of those because I heard them down there.

Skip to 8 minutes and 51 seconds Right, what we’re going to do is we’re going to zoom out just a little bit. And what I want you in your table to do is say are those three things still possible? If they’re not possible, can you have another possibility? Now, you’ve heard some of the other ideas, you might want to change your mind because that’s okay, all right? But what do you think it is now we zoom out a little bit. [Pupil] It could be a scale of reptile. I think I agree with it might a top of jellyfish’s head. Yeah, it might be. Cuz it looks a bit round a little bit It looks a little round to me. Yeah, it might be an octopus.

Skip to 9 minutes and 39 seconds Lying in the water. It might be a top of jellyfish’s head maybe, no one knows. Or it might not be an animal, it could be something that- [Teacher] And looking this way. Now, what I’m going to do is I’m going to ask Yuvraj because although he gave us an idea, I want to see whether he has changed his mind or not. So Yuvraj, what do you now think? [Pupil] I’ve changed my mind to thinking it’s a pufferfish. [Teacher] Right, so you still think it’s a creature that lives under the sea, but you think it’s a different type of creature. And again, just by looking at that, right. I think we need to zoom out again.

Skip to 10 minutes and 10 seconds [Pupil] What do you think is that? [Teacher] What do you think, Luqman? [Pupil] Miss, I think it’s got trap in that top left, it looks like it traps it. [Teacher] So the plant, the Venus flytrap. So you’re looking at the curved edges of that. Yeah, go on. [Pupil] It’s a human’s ear? [Teacher] Right, so you think it might be part of a human and particularly their ear. Right, one more, has anybody totally changed their mind? Mana, have you? [Pupil] Yeah, I’ve totally changed my mind. We were discussing as a group, first, we thought it was scales, but I think now it’s a sea coral. [Teacher] Right, so you’re actually looking at the different texture it now is.

Skip to 11 minutes and 4 seconds All right, what do you think it is now, right? So think about what we were zoomed in on, though, and can you tell me what you now think it is, right, yes? [Pupil] I think it’s a tongue. [Teacher] The tongue of what, though? Can you work out what? Go on. [Pupil] A tiger. [Teacher] Right, why do you think it might be the tongue of a tiger? What there might give you the clue that it is that? [Pupil] Because it has whiskers and it has sharp teeth. [Teacher] So we’re all getting to an agreement that it’s some sort of creature. Do we want to go zoom right out now, then? [Pupil] It’s a raccoon. It’s a raccoon. It’s a cat.

Skip to 11 minutes and 58 seconds It is a cat. [Teacher] How many people did change their minds? Right, how many people now think they know what the name of the creature is? One, two, three. [Pupil] Cat. [Teacher] Yep, it’s a cat. I think is it okay to change your mind when you’ve got more evidence? [Pupil] Yeah. [Teacher] It is, and you know what, that’s what scientists do all the while. Once they’ve got new evidence, they sometimes change their minds, and that’s okay.

Thinking and reasoning in the classroom

To help children develop their thinking and reasoning skills we need to give them time to think and chances to respond.

Researcher Mary Budd Rowe investigated the effects of the amount of wait time after a teacher asked a class a question. She found that the average teacher waited only 0.9 seconds between asking a question and getting an answer. She concluded that by waiting only 3 seconds between question and answer there would be:

  • Answer accuracy increased
  • Less children said “I don’t know”
  • Children gave longer answers
  • More children participated.

Sharing ideas through talk is also an essential part of children developing their thinking and reasoning. Children are able to evaluate and justify their thinking through discussion and scientific argument. Without this, children would never have a chance to identify their misconceptions and modify their ideas.

In the video you will see two teachers working with their classes on activities that have been specially developed to allow children time to explore their thinking processes. They work collaboratively with their peers to talk about their ideas allowing them a chance to justify and modify their thoughts if need be.


As you watch the video consider how the activities develop the children’s thinking and reasoning skills. Write your thoughts in the discussion below.

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching Primary Science: Getting Started

National STEM Learning Centre