10 Fun Inference Activities For Middle School Students

As I hold this magical cuboid in my hand that lets me talk to everyone I have ever known, brings all the knowledge of the world in my palm, has become my alarm clock, my gaming system, and even my music system, I marvel at how far we have come from the time where the most marvelous invention was that of the round stone wheel that helped bulls pull a cart.

When you read that sentence, did you automatically infer I was talking about my mobile phone? How did you come to that conclusion? Did you match the information given in the sentence to the knowledge you have about the functions a phone performs, that is calls, texts, plays music, games, etc.? 

If so, then you just used the method of inference to deduce, compute and understand what was being talked about. We use inference in our daily life without even realizing it. Inference is also an important skill in understanding various literature, including stories, poems, plays, etc. This blog enlists various activities that can help middle school children practice and polish their inference skills.

Learning to infer through activities

As several life quotes suggest that inference is a skill we already use in our daily lives to deduce various things. The only task is learning to apply the same while reading, writing, and learning. Hence, these activities will help children meet that gap and apply this skill to a wide variety of areas.

1. Miss me?

 Miss me?

For this activity, the educator will have to prepare a fictitious scenario where a precious item, like a diamond ring, has mysteriously gone missing or been misplaced.

They will give several clues and codes about the ring and what was happening the night before it went missing. Each clue will either lead to another clue or finally to the answer to the mystery, what happened to the diamond ring. The class can be divided into several groups of 4 to 5 students each of who can be given one persona to adopt during the mystery. The individuals will then ask each other questions to know about various people’s whereabouts the night before the ring went missing to figure out who saw it last and where.

This game will require the students to make inferences based on the very limited information they have about each person. They will have to dig deeper into the clues and eventually figure out where the ring is, putting their detective skills to good use.

2. Dedicate a song

Dedicate a song

For this activity, the educator will have to find various songs whose backstories are known but not so well known that every student would already know what it’s about.

The students can sit together and listen to the songs in the class. Their task then will be to infer what situation the singer and songwriter must have been in and what feelings they are expressing through the song. Then the educator can reveal what is the actual backstory behind the song. For example, Taylor Swift wrote her famous song Long Live as a tribute and form of appreciation for her band and fans who had given her unconditional love and support. The individual with the closest guess can be given an award like a guitar pic or a poster.

This activity will help the students infer various attributes about a person, object, or situation and learn about it vicariously through the songwriters’ lived experiences. Hence, it can also be an experimental learning activity. 

3. Write me a poem 

Write me a poem 

For this activity, the educator will have to write the names of all the students in the class on chits and mix them up in a bowl.

The students will go one by one and randomly pick chits. Their task will then be to write a poem about the person they get on the chit. They can include several personal characteristics, traits, and habits of the person in the poem but cannot actually name them. The rest of the class has to infer, based on the characteristics described in the poem, which of their classmates is being described.

This activity will not only help students connect with inference on a personal level but also exercise their creativity and poetry skills. Besides, students can also check creativity games in order to work on their creativity skills.

4. What’s on my mind 

What's on my mind 

For this activity, the educator has to make a bowl full of chits with several actions, emotions, and tasks written on the chits.

The class will be divided into two teams with an equal number of students in each. Each team will, one by one, send a student to go pick a chit and make a facial expression or body posture that shows the emotion, action, or activity written on the chit. Their team has to guess what they are denoting based on what they can see. For example, if the chit says horse riding, the student can enact cracking a whip, neigh, and show riding around as clues.

This inference activity will have students actively involve themselves in the process of both showing and guessing.

5. Tell me without telling me

Tell me without telling me

For this activity, the educator will have to write various situations and the emotions the person is feeling in that situation on various chits and mix those chits up in a bowl.

The class will once again be divided into two teams with an equal number of students in each. Each team will take turns, sending one student at a time who will pick the chit up, read the situation and the emotion, and then describe it in their own words to their team without actually naming the emotion. 

For example, suppose the situation is you are leaving your childhood home to move to another place, and the emotion is sadness. In that case, the student can describe it as, “I held the picture of my family and me playing on a summer evening on the lawn of our home. The only place I have known as my own will no longer be mine or ours. The thought filled my eyes with tears that I couldn’t stop from rolling down even if I wanted to.” The team that is correctly able to infer the most number of emotions will win the game.

This game will take students closer to how authors and poets use inference in literature. They won’t only understand something without it being explicitly said but also learn how to use words to convey something without actually saying it.

6. Judgment time 

Judgment time 

For this activity, the educator will have to prepare slides with two to three random objects on them. 

These slides will then be shown to the students, and they will be asked to infer what they can about these different objects put together. For example, if the three objects are a big feathered hat, a cat, and a lady, the students might infer the image of an eccentric lady who owns and loves cats. The students can then be asked to reflect on these inferences, on how they come to those conclusions based on some random objects placed together, on what knowledge they might have used, current or previous, on how accurate their judgment and inferences can be, etc. 

This activity will help students become aware of how much they use inference in their lives. They will also learn how inferring something based on previous knowledge might sometimes lead to stereotyping and prejudiced beliefs and attitudes.

7. Cliffhanger 


For this activity, the educator will have to collect various small clips and cut them or pause them on a cliffhanger right before something huge is about to happen.

The task of the students will be to guess what is about to happen based on the situation they saw and the characteristics of people they noticed. For example, if they saw two notorious children having fun and making a mess everywhere collecting a pack of mentos and a bottle of soda, then they might infer that those children will put the mentos in the bottle of soda to make a soda rocket.

This activity will combine learning about inferences with various visual media. This will help students take a multisensory approach, evaluate its advantages and disadvantages and learn and see the application of inferences in tv shows and movies as well. 

8. Play it back

Play it back

For this activity, the educator will have to write down clues going backward after something big has already happened. 

The task of the students will be to use these clues to infer what has happened. For example, if the first clue says “every house looks deserted” the second clue says “the markets look empty” and the third clue says “it seemed like the entire country had made its way to the stadium” then the students might infer that there was a big sports event happening at the stadium. Students have to be careful while asking for more clues because the more clues they take, the fewer points they get for their correct inference.

This activity will have students making inferences in the aftermath of an event. They will once again use the information from the clues and what they already know together to understand what might be happening.

9. Memed it 

 Memed it 

Memes are the current form of expression, taking the place of emoticons that were widely used in the last few years. For this activity, the educator can either find or make memes about fictitious people, places, and situations.

The task of the students will be to infer as much as they can about those people, the nature of the relationship between them, what context the meme is describing, and so on. For example, a meme of an individual saying Coca-Cola does not spark joy but Pepsi does spark joy means they prefer the brand Coca-Cola over Pepsi. The students can further infer that this might be because both brands make soft drinks that taste almost similar but Pepsi is still superior in taste as compared to Coca-Cola.

When students will make inferences based on memes that are completely unrelatable for them, they will be using their previous knowledge of meme templates and combining it with the information being provided by the current meme to understand what is being said.

10. I spy: Classroom Edition

I spy: Classroom Edition

I spy is a classic game of describing an object nearby and having people infer what it could be based on the surroundings. 

For this game, the students can take a chance one by one and describe one object in their class. Other students have to guess what it is. They can also ask for clues but no more than three clues. For example, if a student says “I spy with my little eye a square with flowers”, other students can take turns guessing like “is it the window?”, “is it the photograph of a bouquet?”, and so on until they get it right. 

In this activity, students will be inferring what the object is based on the information provided by the clue. They will combine that with what they can see in their surroundings to come to an inference as to what the object could be.


Drawing inferences based on current information and previous knowledge is an important skill we already use in our daily lives. The gap between using it unknowingly to knowingly applying it while reading, writing, and learning various books, novels, stories, poems, etc., can be closed using various activities enlisted and elaborated above.

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