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This lesson uses the song and lyrics from R.E.M.’s “The Flowers of Guatemala” from their Life’s Rich Pageant” album to  teach students about making deductive inferences and the limitations of using the Scientific Method with the Social Sciences.

Instead of deduction which uses only logic to explain an outcome when all other possibilities have been examined, social scientists must use deductive inference which is a conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning alone. Much of our study of history is based on inferences with incomplete facts.  Even our understanding of recent history can be made more clear in the future as more information is revealed or discovered through diaries, additional eye witness accounts, and other records.

This lesson includes complete procedures and directions and generally runs for an entire class period.

Follow up this lesson with our role play and writing assignment lesson “Atlantis.”

  • Subject Areas: History, Humanities
  • Materials Required: Soap, water, small clear dish, whiteboard or display, song “The Flowers of Guatemala,” and its lyrics.
  • Time Needed: 30 – 40 minutes