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Definition: The skill of making conclusions involves connecting the data gathered in an inquiry back to the question and hypothesis that formed the basis of the inquiry. In the process of concluding results are analyzed, the hypothesis is validated or refuted, procedures are evaluated, and the inquiry question is answered.

Concluding is important because…

  • making conclusions helps students develop critical thinking skills, including interpretation, reflection, evaluation, inference, and explanation
  • making conclusions provides opportunities for students to interpret and synthesize information gained through observations and reflect on the inquiry process
  • making conclusions is interconnected with skills such as summarizing, discussing, justifying, explaining and evaluating

Teaching and Learning the skill of Concluding



Compare the results of an inquiry with the hypothesis and identify whether the results support or do not support the hypothesis

Encourage students to explicitly refer to their hypotheses and identify whether the information they have amassed from observations and data supports the hypothesis.

See the Inquiry Summary and the Conclusions-Evidence-Reasoning learning strategies

Answer the inquiry question

Model how to make use a conclusion to answer an inquiry question (e.g., question: Which brand of battery lasts the longest? Conclusion: After testing Brand A batteries and Brand B batteries in the same devices, we found that Brand A lasted the longest, etc.).

See the Inquiry Summary and the Conclusions-Evidence-Reasoning learning strategies

Reflect on their inquiry data including providing potential explanations for uncertainties and errors

Ensure students reflect on their investigations and provide adequate time to do so. Prompt with questions like: Were the results as expected? Can the results be explained and accounted for? Were there any circumstances beyond your control that might have impacted your inquiry? Students should also be given time to revise their conclusions if necessary.

Explicitly teach students about Bias and Sources of Error in the Processes of Science section.

Examine and evaluate inquiry methods, including proposing improvements to the methods and quality of data collected

Prompt students to make suggestions for improvements to their investigation methods. For example, students could include this information within the discussion section of an inquiry report, using the Inquiry Summary learning strategy.

Justify conclusions by constructing evidence-based arguments using appropriate scientific language, conventions, and representations

Provide supports and scaffolds for constructing evidence–based conclusions. For example, have students use a Conclusions-Evidence-Reasoning learning strategy to help develop skills in composing and writing evidence-based conclusions.