# Common Core: 6th Grade English Language Arts : Analyze Structural Parts of a Textual Whole - CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.5

## Example Questions

### Example Question #1 : Analyze Structural Parts Of A Textual Whole Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.6.5

"The Ruby-throated Hummingbird"

Geographical Range and Migration

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the sole representative of the hummingbird family in eastern North America. It is only a summer visitor in Canada and throughout the greater part of its range in the United States, excepting the southern portions of the Florida peninsula, where it winters to some extent. The majority of these birds migrate south, though, spending the winter in some of the Caribbean islands, while others pass through eastern Mexico into Central America. It usually arrives along our southern border in the latter part of March, rarely reaching the more northern States before the middle of May. It usually goes south again about the latter part of September, the males preceding the females, I believe, in both migrations.

Appearance and Behavior

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have iridescent green feathers on their backs and white feathers on their bellies. The male birds have a patch of red feathers on their throats, from which the species derives its name. Both male and female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have relatively short tails and beaks and lack any crest of feathers on their heads.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds’ flight is extremely swift, and the rapid motions of its wings in passing back and forth from one cluster of flowers to another causes a humming or buzzing sound, from which the numerous members of this family derive their name of hummingbirds. Notwithstanding the very small size of most of our hummers, they are all extremely pugnacious, especially the males, and are constantly quarreling and chasing each other, as well as other birds, some of which are many times larger than themselves. Mr. Manly Hardy writes me that he once saw a male Ruby-throat chase a Robin out of his garden. They are rarely seen entirely at rest for any length of time, and, when not busy preening its feathers, they dart about from one place to another. Although such a small, tiny creature, it is full of energy, and never seems to tire.

They seem to be especially partial to anything red. Mr. Manly Hardy writes: "I was once camping on one of the many islands along the coast of Maine during a dense fog, which had held us prisoners for several days, as it was so thick that we could not find our way. We had been living on lobsters, and lots of their red shells lay near the fire in front of our tent, when suddenly a Hummer came out of the fog and darted down at the shells, moving from one to another, seemingly loath to leave them.”

What Do They Eat?

There appears to be considerable difference of opinion among various observers regarding the nature of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s food. Some contend that it consists principally of nectar sipped from flowers, as well as the sweet sap of certain trees. Others, myself included, believe that they subsist mainly on minute insects and small spiders, the latter forming quite an important article of food with them. Mr. Edwin H. Eames, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, mentions finding sixteen young spiders of uniform size in the throat of a young Hummingbird which was about two days old.

Mr. W. N. Clute, of Binghamton, New York, writes: "The swamp thistle, which blooms in August, seems to have great attractions for the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. I have seen more than a hundred birds about these plants in the course of an hour. Since it has been stated that the bee gets pollen but not honey from the thistle, it would appear that these birds visit these flowers for insects. There is scarcely a flower that contains so many minute insects as a thistle head. Examine one with a lens and it will be found to contain many insects that can hardly be seen with the unaided eye, and if the Ruby-throat eats insects at all, these are the ones it would take; and because the larger ones remained the observer might conclude that none were eaten.” I could quote considerable more testimony showing that the Hummingbirds live to a great extent on minute spiders and insects, but consider it unnecessary.

That our Hummingbirds live to some extent on the sap of certain trees is undoubtedly true, but that they could exist for any length of time on such food alone is very questionable. They are particularly fond of the sap of the sugar maple, and only slightly less so of that of a few other species of trees. They are also fond of the nectar secreted in many flowers. While stationed at the former cavalry depot at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1873-74, I occupied a set of quarters that were completely overrun with large trumpet vines. When these were in bloom, the place fairly swarmed with Ruby-throats. They were exceedingly inquisitive, and often poised themselves before an open window and looked in my rooms full of curiosity, their bright little eyes sparkling like black beads. I have caught several, while busily engaged sipping nectar in these large, showy flowers, by simply placing my hand over them, and while so imprisoned they never moved, and feigned death, but as soon as I opened my hand they were off like a flash.

Passage adapted from "Ruby-throated Hummingbird" from Issue 3 of 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)

Image adapted from Giltsch, Adolf, Lithographer, and Ernst Haeckel. Trochilidae. - Kolibris. [Leipzig und Wien: Verlag des Bibliographischen Instituts, 1904] Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/2015648985>.

The author’s description of his interaction with Ruby-throated Hummingbirds appears in the section __________ because his anecdote __________.

“What Do They Eat?” . . . serves as evidence that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds eat flower nectar

“Geographical Range and Migration” . . . describes where the author saw Ruby-throated hummingbirds

“What Do They Eat?” . . . demonstrates how easy it is for other animals to catch Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to eat

“Appearance and Behavior” . . . describes the appearance of Ruby-throated hummingbirds

“Appearance and Behavior” . . . describes how hummingbirds are curious

“What Do They Eat?” . . . serves as evidence that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds eat flower nectar

Explanation:

The author only presents a description of his interaction with hummingbirds in the last paragraph of the passage. In it, he describes watching Ruby-throated hummingbirds feeding from flowers near his window. He describes how he could catch them in the flowers, they would play dead, and then as soon as they could get away, away they flew.

This question asks specifically about why this anecdote appears in the section that it does. We can knock out a few answer choices by identifying the correct section: this part of the passage appears in the section called "What Do They Eat?" Now we have two answer choices to pick from. Is this story in this section because it "serves as evidence that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds eat flower nectar"? Or is it in this section because it "demonstrates how easy it is for other animals to catch Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to eat"? The author never talks about other animals catching and eating hummingbirds, so this isn't the correct answer. Consider the sentence that precedes this one: "They are also fond of the nectar secreted in many flowers." The author tells his story to provide evidence that the hummingbirds do indeed like to drink flower nectar. The best answer choice is "“What Do They Eat?” . . . serves as evidence that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds eat flower nectar."

### Example Question #2 : Analyze Structural Parts Of A Textual Whole Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.6.5

Adapted from “Theodore Roosevelt the Rancher.” National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 1 July 2016. <https://www.nps.gov/thro/learn/historyculture/theodore-roosevelt-the-rancher.htm>.

Theodore Roosevelt originally came to Dakota Territory in 1883 to hunt bison. The locals showed little interest in helping this eastern tenderfoot. The promise of quick cash, however, convinced Joe Ferris—a 25-year-old Canadian living in the Badlands—to act as Roosevelt's hunting guide.

Through terrible weather and awful luck, Roosevelt showed a determination which surprised his exasperated hunting guide. Finding a bison proved difficult; most of the herds had been slaughtered in recent years by commercial hunters. When they were not sleeping outdoors, Roosevelt and Ferris used the small ranch cabin of Gregor Lang as a base camp. Evenings at Lang's ranch saw an exhausted Ferris falling asleep to conversations between Roosevelt and their host. Spirited debates on politics gave way to discussions about ranching, and Roosevelt became interested in raising cattle in the Badlands.

Cattle ranching in Dakota was a boom business in the 1880s. With the northern plains recently devoid of bison, cattle were being driven north from Texas to feed on the nutritious grasses. The Northern Pacific Railroad offered a quick route to eastern markets without long drives that reduced the quality of the meat. Entrepreneurs like the Marquis de Morès were bringing money and infrastructure to the region. The opportunity struck Roosevelt as a sound business opportunity.

With Roosevelt's interest sparked, he entered into business with his guide's brother, Sylvane Ferris, and Bill Merrifield, another Dakota cattleman. Roosevelt put down an initial investment of $14,000—significantly more than his annual salary. Roosevelt returned to New York with instructions for Ferris and Merrifield to build the Maltese Cross Cabin. His investment was not purely for business; Roosevelt saw it as a chance to immerse himself in a western lifestyle he had long romanticized. Which of the following best describes the effect of the underlined phrase? Possible Answers: to provide a point of comparison for the amount of money the passage says that Roosevelt made from the cattle ranch to provide evidence that Roosevelt often went into debt to help the reader understand how much money$14,000 represented to Roosevelt

to suggest that Roosevelt paid much more than the other investors did

to convey that Roosevelt didn’t make very much money at this point in his life

to help the reader understand how much money $14,000 represented to Roosevelt Explanation: Let's examine the underlined part of the passage: With Roosevelt's interest sparked, he entered into business with his guide's brother, Sylvane Ferris, and Bill Merrifield, another Dakota cattleman. Roosevelt put down an initial investment of$14,000—significantly more than his annual salary.
Why is the author providing this information? What effect does it have on the reader's experience of reading the passage? $14,000, we're told, is a lot more than all of the money Roosevelt made in a year. This gives us a point of comparison and helps us figure out that this was a lot of money to Roosevelt at the time. The answer choice "to provide a point of comparison for the amount of money the passage says that Roosevelt made from the cattle ranch" can't be correct because the passage never tells us exactly how much Roosevelt made from the cattle ranch. The answer choice "to provide evidence that Roosevelt often went into debt" isn't true either—nothing in the passage supports the claim that he "often" went into debt. "To suggest that Roosevelt paid much more than the other investors did" isn't the best answer, either; the other investors could have paid just as much money as Roosevelt did. We simply don't know this information. And "to convey that Roosevelt didn’t make very much money at this point in his life" isn't correct either. The passage isn't focusing on Roosevelt's salary. The underlined comparison is provided in order "to help the reader understand how much money$14,000 represented to Roosevelt." By comparing his investment to his annual salary, the passage helps the reader understand the scale of the investment Roosevelt made in the cattle ranch.