Common Core: 4th Grade English Language Arts : Explain Events, Procedures, Ideas, or Concepts in a Historical, Scientific, or Technical Text: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.3

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Common Core: 4th Grade English Language Arts

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All Common Core: 4th Grade English Language Arts Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 28 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept

Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Explain Events, Procedures, Ideas, Or Concepts In A Historical, Scientific, Or Technical Text: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.4.3

Passage and table adapted from "Why Leaves Change Color" on "Northeastern Area," a website by the USDA Forest Service. <https://www.na.fs.fed.us/fhp/pubs/leaves/leaves.shtm>.

There are two main types of trees: coniferous trees and deciduous trees. Coniferous trees have small, needle-like leaves. They keep these leaves all year. One example of a coniferous tree is a pine tree, which has green needles during all seasons. In contrast, deciduous trees lose their leaves every autumn. Before these leaves drop and blow away, they change from green to colors like red, orange, yellow, and brown.

Have you ever wondered why deciduous leaves change color in the fall? This color change is caused by a chemical process in the cells of tree leaves.

Green leaves are green because they contain a green molecule, chlorophyll. This is a very important molecule in the natural world. Leaves use this molecule to turn carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water into sugar and oxygen in a process called “photosynthesis.” So, chlorophyll lets the plant store energy as sugar, which it can use as food. It also lets the plant provide food for anything that eats it, like a cow, a bird, or even a human! 

So, what does chlorophyll, a green molecule, have to do with autumn leaf colors? Deciduous leaves also contain molecules of other colors, but the chlorophyll in the leaves covers them up in the summer. In the fall, deciduous trees stop making chlorophyll. Eventually there is no more chlorophyll in their leaves. The colors of the other molecules show through. The colors of these other molecules are the colors we see in autumn leaves. The next time you see colorful leaves in the fall, you’ll know more about the chemistry at work!

According to the passage, leaves turn color in the fall because __________.

Possible Answers:

they no longer contain chlorophyll

they start to make chlorophyll

they are eaten by hungry animals

they start to perform photosynthesis

Correct answer:

they no longer contain chlorophyll

Explanation:

This question asks you about a cause and effect relationship explained in the passage. The question states an effect, ("leaves turn color in the fall") and asks you to figure out why this occurs ("because __________.") The reason why leaves turn color in the fall is a major topic discussed in the passage. In the last paragraph, readers learn exactly why this color change occurs:

So, what does chlorophyll, a green molecule, have to do with autumn leaf colors? Deciduous leaves also contain molecules of other colors, but the chlorophyll in the leaves covers them up in the summer. In the fall, deciduous trees stop making chlorophyll. Eventually there is no more chlorophyll in their leaves. The colors of the other molecules show through. The colors of these other molecules are the colors we see in autumn leaves. 

This part of the passage explains that it is a lack of chlorophyll that allows other molecules' colors to show through as the autumn colors of deciduous trees' leaves. The correct answer is "they no longer contain chlorophyll."

Example Question #2 : Explain Events, Procedures, Ideas, Or Concepts In A Historical, Scientific, Or Technical Text: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.4.3

Passage 2: Adapted from "Cyanocitta cristata: Blue Jay" in Life Histories of North American Birds, From the Parrots to the Grackles, with Special Reference to Their Breeding Habits and Eggs by Charles Bendire (1895)

The beauty of few of our local birds compares to that of the Blue Jay. One can’t help admiring them for their amusing and interesting traits. Even their best friends can’t say much in their favor, though. They destroy many of the eggs and young of our smaller birds. A friend of mine writes, “The smaller species of birds are utterly at [the Blue Jay’s] mercy in nesting time. Few succeed in rearing a brood of young. It is common in the woods to hear Vireos lamenting for their young that the Jay has forcibly carried away. Vast numbers of eggs are eaten and the nests torn up.”

Still, I cannot help admiring Blue Jays, because they have good traits as well. They are cunning, inquisitive, good mimics, and full of mischief. It is difficult to paint them in their true colors. Some writers call them bullies and cowards. Perhaps they deserve these names at times, but they possess courage in the defense of their young. But it is unfortunate that they show so little consideration for the feelings of other birds.

It is astonishing how accurately the Blue Jay is able to imitate the various calls and cries of other birds. These will readily deceive anyone. They seem to delight in playing tricks on their unsuspecting neighbors in this manner, apparently out of pure mischief. They are especially fond of teasing owls, and occasionally hawks; however, sometimes this has disastrous results for the Blue Jays.

Why can we infer that imitating the calls of hawks and owls occasionally “has disastrous results for the Blue Jays,” as the passage says in its last line?

Possible Answers:

Sometimes the blue jay imitating the hawks and owls scares other birds away from their nests, letting the blue jay eat the other birds’ eggs.

Sometimes the blue jay doesn’t imitate the calls of hawks and owls correctly.

Sometimes the hawks and owls catch and eat the blue jay imitating their calls.

Sometimes the hawks and owls can’t find the blue jay that is imitating their calls.

Correct answer:

Sometimes the hawks and owls catch and eat the blue jay imitating their calls.

Explanation:

If you know that hawks and owls are predators and can infer that they would eat a blue jay if they could catch one, this question may have been more straightforward; however, this knowledge is not necessary to answer the question correctly. You can narrow down the answer choices to the point where this is the only reasonable one. Let's figure out the correct answer using this strategy.

The correct answer choice will involve something bad happening to the blue jays based on their imitating the calls of hawks and owls. The only answer choice in which something bad happens to the blue jay based on its imitating these calls is "Sometimes the hawks and owls catch and eat the blue jay imitating their calls." If a blue jay were to scare other birds away by imitating hawk and owl calls and eat the other birds' eggs, that would be bad for the other birds, but not for the blue jay. If the blue jay weren't found by the hawks and owls when the jay imitated their calls, that wouldn't be a bad thing for the blue jay. (It would actually be a good thing—the blue jay wouldn't get eaten!) Finally, if a blue jay didn't imitate the calls of hawks and owls correctly, that's just an error on their part. The mistake doesn't involve anything bad happening to them.

All Common Core: 4th Grade English Language Arts Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 28 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept
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