Lesson video

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It's Mrs. Smart.

Welcome back to this unit in which we are exploring a biography of Mary Anning.

It is our last lesson in this unit.

And, our learning objective today is to answer inference questions based on the text.

If you're ready, let's get started.

In this lesson you will need an exercise book or some lined paper and a pen or pencil to write with.

You also need to make sure you're at a quiet area with no distractions so that you can fully focus on our learning today.

Pause the recording and get yourself ready for our lesson.

In today's lesson, we're going to start with an introduction of the text and a recap of what we have learned so far in this unit.

We're then going to focus on inference skills and talk about the steps that we need to take to successfully answer inference questions.

Finally, it will be your opportunity to have a go at answering some inference questions.

Here is the book that we are focused on in this unit.

It's called "History VIP Mary Anning", and it's written by Kay Barnham.

Remember it's a biography of Mary Anning's life.

Let's see what you can remember about Mary Anning in her life.

True or false? Mary Anning's father died at the age of 44.

Show me a thumbs up if you think that's true and a thumbs down, if you think it's false.

You ready? It's true.

Yes Mary Anning's father sadly died at the young age of 44.

Mary Anning's family were very wealthy.

That means they had lots of money and they were rich.

Show me a thumbs up for true and a thumbs down for false.

Are you ready? It is, false.

Of course the Anning family were not wealthy at all.

Mary actually didn't get much chance to go to school because they didn't have enough money and they sold their fossils to make money for the family.

Mary Anning was the only person who sold fossils in Lyme Regis.

Remember Lyme Regis was that town in Dorset where Mary Anning lived and where she found lots of her fossils.

Is it true or is it false? Show me your thumb now.

It's false.

Actually lots of people found fossils in Lyme Regis and sold them to tourists.

But Mary Anning is famous because she found some of the most impressive fossils.

Before we start to answer any inference questions, let's just make sure we're really clear on what this word means, to infer.

Can you say that for me, infer.

Infer, infer or to infer is a verb.

That means it's a doing word.

The definition is to work something out from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements.

I like to think of it as being a little bit of a detective, looking for clues, and working things out from evidence rather than actually knowing the answers.

Synonyms could be deduce, conclude and reason.

And in a sentence, we could use it like this.

I can infer how a character feels from their actions.

Often in stories, authors don't tell us how characters are feeling, but we can infer how they're feeling.

We can work out how characters are feeling based on how they behave.

These are the steps we need to follow to answer inference questions really successfully.

Let's go through each one.

The first thing you need to do, of course, when you're answering any question about text is to do what? Of course you need to read the texts.

So I haven't even put that on that there.

That's a given.

So you read the textbook first.

Then you read the question and you identify the key words.

That's the most important words in the question.

You'll then going to scan the text for any clues.

So when you're reading the question, you might want to have a think about what sort of answer you were expecting to find.

And then you're going to scan the text for any clues.

So it might be that you're looking for a particular word or a certain action, or you might be looking for someone's name.

You're then going to use your own knowledge and experiences.

So you use your clue.

You use your own knowledge and your experiences, and you bring these together to form your answer.

And then you write your answer down.

So it's a little bit like, our trivial questions that we've covered in our previous lesson.

But this time it's not going to give us the exact answer.

We're not just going to retrieve the answer.

We're going to find a clue, use our own knowledge and bring those two together to answer a question.

Let's have a practise now together.

We're going to focus on this double page of the text to start with.

If you want to pause the recording and read the whole thing through, then you can, I'm going to read this small section.

If you want to pause the recording and read this section first, you can, or you might want to pause it and read it afterwards.

Otherwise you can follow along as I read.

The next big thing.

Years went by and Anning continued to scour the Jurassic Coast for fossils.

She found plenty more ichthyosaurs, but none created as much excitement as the first find until the fossil she had unearthed in 1820.

It was another sea creature, one with a very long neck.

But what made this fossil really special was that it was the first of its kind- a brand new creature.

Here's our first inference question.

Let's read it through first of all.

How did Mary find her fossils? Right the first thing I need to do is I need to identify my key words in that question.

Have a think.

What do you think they might be? I think the key words are how, find and fossils.

And if I think about my answers, I might be looking for how find fossils maybe a verb something to do with something that she did to find her fossils.

So that gives me a little bit of an idea which I'm looking for, what I'm then going to scan through the text and this answer.

We're just looking for one word in particular that can tell us a lot about how Mary found her fossils.

See if you can scan through the text and find that one word that tells you how she found her fossils.

And you can then infer a lot from that single word.

Pause the recording and give it a go.

How did you get on? So the section that I focused on was this part Anning continued to scour the Jurassic Coast.

And scour up was that key word.

That's a verb that means to find, and that word scour tells me a lot about how she found her fossils.

It tells me that she searched really intently and thoroughly.

So she looked really, really carefully.

You're scouring for something you're looking with real care.

She searched over a large area.

I can tell that because it said she scoured the Jurassic Coast.

And I know that's a larger area of coastline in Dorset.

I can also infer that she spent a long time looking.

When we scour for something, we don't just have a quick look and say , "Oh, I can't find it." We look really, really carefully, really thoroughly over a large area for a long period of time.

So I can work out a lot there.

I can infer a lots of information just from that word, scour.

Here's our second question.

Let's read it through, first of all.

How did people react to Mary's finds? Of the first thing I need to do is think about what my key words are in that question.

What do you think they are? Telling me now? I had how, react, finds.

So again, I noticed it's going to be something about something that people did or maybe something about how people felt.

That gives me a little bit of an idea, what I'm searching for when I scan through the text.

Pause recording and see if you can find some clues to answer this question.

Off you go.

I found this bit.

It says, "Plenty she found plenty, more ichthyosaurs, but none created as much excitement.

That's my key word.

As the first find until the fossil she unearthed in 1820.

Now that exact word excitement is my key word as to how people felt.

There's a bit more information.

It said none creates as much excitement.

So she found her first fossil.

Her first dinosaur fossil.

The ichthyosaurs and people were really, really excited.

They were so interested because they never seen one before.

They wanted to know all about it.

But then when she starts to find more and more people weren't as interested.

Which is quite natural.

When something happens for the first time, you're really excited and interested.

And then when it happens again and again and again, you're not so interested anymore.

So the novelty wore off the newness wore off, but then it says until the fossil, she unearthed in 1820.

And I can infer, I can work out from that, that people then got excited again, interested again, to find out about the new fossil that she had found.

We're now go to focus on another section of this double page.

We are going to have a look at this section here.

I'm going to read the section now.

I want to pause the recording first and read it through you can, or you might want to do that afterwards.

Otherwise follow along as I read.

A palaeontologist called William Conybeare gave the creature a proper name: plesiosaur.

This means near lizard.

However, there was one very important thing missing from the fossil, a skull.

Without it, experts didn't know exactly what the creature looked like.

But in 1823 Anning solved the problem when she found another plesiosaur.

This time with a skull.

Connybaere describes the prehistoric creature to the Geological Society of London in 1824.

But he forgot to give members of the society one vital detail about the find.

He didn't tell them that Anning had found it.

Sometimes when we're answering inference questions, we need to look at a large chunk of text and pull out lots of inferences.

Lots of points to answer one question.

Let's have a look at this question here.

What does this suggest about Conybeare? Now remember the first thing I need to do is what? Good, I need to identify my key words.

My most important words in the question.

What do you think they are? I pulled out what, suggest and Conybeare.

Now it doesn't tell me what sort of person he was.

It doesn't describe his personality or his character, but I can work out some information about him based on how he behaves and his actions in this section.

See if you can scan from the text and find some clues to tell you a little bit more information about this person, William Conybeare.

Pause the recording and have a go and answer that question now.

I picked out these clues that you can see underlined in pink here.

The first clue was that he was a palaeontologist and he describes the prehistoric creature to the Geological Society of London.

I can infer from that, that he is very knowledgeable about fossils.

He knows a lot about them and he's an expert in his field.

He's a palaeontologist so I know he's a type of scientist that's an expert in fossils.

And he also obviously is a member of the Geological Society of London.

And he even described something to them.

So he presented to them.

So he must be a real expert in this area.

It doesn't tell me that.

I can work it out from those clues.

The next clue I pulled out was that he didn't tell them that Anning had found it.

He didn't tell the other members of the society that Mary Anning had found the fossil of a plesiosaurus.

He claims that he had found it.

Now I can work out.

I can infer two things from that.

Firstly, he did not view Mary as an equal.

This is because she was an uneducated woman.

Now from my own knowledge, I know that in the 19th century, men and women were not equal and they have very different roles in society.

And often men believe that women weren't very intelligent and couldn't do certain jobs.

So I can infer the fact that he didn't tell them that Anning had found it, that he thought that she wasn't important.

She was a woman and therefore he wasn't going to value her contribution.

Also, she was uneducated.

We know from our previous reading that she didn't go to school very much.

She certainly didn't go to university.

She learned about palaeontology through her own exploration of fossils.

So she wasn't actually educated in a formal way.

So again, this might be another reason why he didn't tell them Anning and found it because he thought, well, she's not a proper palaeontologist.

I think there's something bit else from that behaviour.

I can infer that I think he's probably quite a dishonest or a selfish person.

Dishonest means he's not honest.

He's not being very truthful and selfish means just caring about yourself.

He doesn't care about Mary Anning and he doesn't care that she is not getting the praise.

He wants to take all the praise for himself.

He wants to claim the find as his own.

So everyone would think that he was a fantastic palaeontologist, but actually it was Mary Anning.

So he's not being very truthful there at all.

So I can infer two different things.

Two different bits of information from that same clue.

I wonder if you got anything else or maybe you had some of the same similar ideas.

Now it's going to be your chance to answer some inference questions on your own.

We're going to focus on this section of this double page to start with.

If you want to pause the recording and read the whole double page through you can.

I'm going to read this section first.

If you want to pause the recording and read it yourself, you can otherwise follow along as I read.

What they said.

Anning has made herself so thoroughly acquainted with the science, that the moment she finds any bones, she knows to what tribe they belong by reading an application she has arrived to that degree of knowledge as to be in the habit of writing and talking with professors and other clever men on the subject.

And they all acknowledged that she understands more of the science than anyone else in this kingdom.

Lady Harriet Silvester, who visited Anning in 1824.

This is something that someone wrote about Anning.

So you can see it was someone who obviously knew her.

And they wrote about her after a visit in 1824.

So it uses some slightly unfamiliar language or slightly unusual sentence structures because people used to write and speak in a slightly different way, hundreds of years ago.

What does this suggest about Mary? So from this piece of writing this extract from lady Harriet's Silvester, what can we work out? What can we infer about Mary as a person? What's her character like? Pause the recording, think about those steps to answer inference questions and have a go.

Off you go.

Here's what I worked out.

I infer that she worked really, really hard and she educated herself.

She didn't go to school, but she educated herself.

Because it says by reading an application, she has arrived to that degree of knowledge.

She's really determined and resilient.

So she doesn't give up.

She fought gender inequality.

So when we talked about how men and women weren't treated the same, she didn't care about that.

She fought against it.

She wasn't going to let that stop her, pursuing her passion and her interest.

And also she was very, very knowledgeable about fossils and about palaeontology.

So much so that she could actually talk with professors and other clever men on the subject.

And they all acknowledged.

So they all also said that she had a very good understanding of the science and actually better than anyone else.

Did you have the same? Or maybe you said something different? We're now going to focus on this double page.

Again, if you want to read the whole thing through you can, but we're going to focus on this section here.

I'm going to read it through to you now.

But if you want to pause the recording and read it yourself, you can do so.

Even though Anning only left Lyme Regis once in her lifetime, when she made a short trip to London, she did meet fellow scientists.

They heard of her impressive discoveries and vast knowledge of fossils and came to see her.

From her friends, Henry de la Beche and William Buckland to famous palaeontologist, William Conybeare.

Anning wasn't short of visitors.

They came to hunt fossils with her, to see her latest finds and talk with her too.

A meeting with Gideon Mantell even inspired him to look for and find his very own dinosaur the iguanodon.

Still it saddened Anning to think that she helped so many others to study palaeontology yet was hardly given the credit she deserved.

She was virtually unknown to anyone who wasn't a scientist.

I want you to take this whole section now and try to answer this question.

What does this suggest about how other scientists felt about Mary? Suggest means what does this tell us about how other scientists felt about Mary? So there's a few different scientists mentioned in this section, think about what they did, their actions or their behaviour, and then use those clues to work out what they felt or what they thought, what their opinions were of Mary.

Pause recording and give that question ago now.

Here's what I pulled up from this section.

They realised she was very knowledgeable and an expert.

So lots of them went to visit her because they wanted to talk to her.

They realised that she knew a lot and they wanted to learn from her.

They respected her as a scientist, although maybe earlier on they didn't, especially William Conybeare.

As time went on, they realised that actually she was a very knowledgeable scientist and they respected her for that.

They viewed her as an equal.

So they didn't think that she was inferior.

They saw her as a man, woman being equal and not one being more important or better than the other.

They were really keen to visit her.

They really wanted to visit her.

You can see lots of different people went to visit her.

And it says she wasn't short of visitors, which I can infer that she had lots and lots of people that wanted to go and see her.

They learned from her and also they were inspired by her.

So it said Gideon Mantell was inspired to look for his own dinosaur after meeting with Mary Anning.

So you can see, we can pull out lots of information, lots of inferences from this section of text to answer just one question.

How did you get on? Did you have any of the same points or maybe you had some different points? Fantastic, well done for all of your hard work in that lesson.

That is now the end of our unit.

I hope you've enjoyed learning all about Mary Anning and her life.

If you'd like to, please ask your parents or carer to share your work on Twitter tagging @OakNational and #LearnwithOak goodbye.