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Above Image: Students predict the results of a science experiment © DragonImages,

What is it?

The Prediction Guide learning strategy is used to assist students in accessing their prior knowledge in order to make predictions related to questions presented to them. A good Prediction Guide provokes critical thinking and reveals students level of understanding.

Why use it?

  • To have students activate their prior knowledge and conceptions related to events and phenomena to inform their predictions.
  • To provide students the opportunity to make predictions in order to learn about objects and phenomena in the natural world and human-made environments.
  • To help bring to light misconceptions students may have.

How do I use it?

  • Before using this strategy, introduce its purpose to the students and provide a structured example to teach and model expected behaviours (e.g., using a discrepant event).
  • Develop an inquiry question which you will use to create predictions.
  • Create predictions for the Prediction Guide based on an upcoming inquiry or exploration. Ensure it includes both predictions that might occur as well as ones that are not likely to occur.
  • Provide students with the Prediction Guide and ask students to complete the first part of the Prediction Guide BEFORE engaging in the inquiry or exploration.
  • Students read each of the predictions and decide whether they believe each prediction will happen (YES) or not happen (NO). Students circle YES or NO in the BEFORE column on the Prediction Guide for each prediction.
  • Once every student has decided whether they believe the predictions will occur, then they conduct the inquiry or engage in the exploration.
  • AFTER conducting the inquiry or participating in the exploration, students reread each of the predictions on the Prediction Guide and decide based on what they have learned or experienced whether the predictions are what happened or not and mark their response in the AFTER column by circling YES or NO.
  • Students should be asked to explain what information, observations etc., made them decide on the response both BEFORE and AFTER the inquiry or exploration.

Tips for success

  • This strategy works well with inquiries and explorations of objects and phenomena that students are not familiar with or may have potential misconceptions about.
  • Ensure students are provided their own quiet time to think about whether or not the predictions are true or false.
  • When creating the prediction statements, ensure that they:
    • are based on students’ prior knowledge;
    • can be answered by participating in the inquiry or exploration; and
    • challenge students’ beliefs and current level of understanding.
  • Information gathered from a Prediction Guide can be used as a diagnostic assessment and inform further teaching and learning experiences.


  • Pictures/images can be used instead of written predictions.
  • Students can be paired with others who have differing BEFORE responses and then they can share their ideas about their predictions with each other before doing the inquiry or exploration.

Tools and Templates

Seed Investigation Prediction Guide pdf doc

Prediction Guide - Template pdf doc