Common Core: 7th Grade English Language Arts : Cite Several Pieces of Evidence to Support Textual Analysis and Inferences: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.1

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Common Core: 7th Grade English Language Arts

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All Common Core: 7th Grade English Language Arts Resources

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Reading: Informational Text

“Stone Trees”

Have you ever seen a stone tree? While the idea of a stone tree may sound fantastic, fallen trees can turn to stone in very specific circumstances, producing what scientists call “petrified wood.” “Petra” means stone in ancient Greek, so something “petrified” has been turned to stone. You may have heard the word “petrified” used to describe someone so scared that they have frozen as if turned to stone, but scientists use the word literally to refer to actual stone. Petrified trees are stone trees, not scared trees!

 

A Type of Fossil

Like ancient skeletons of dinosaurs and other organisms preserved in the earth, petrified wood is a type of fossil; however, there is a big difference between petrified wood and most fossils. Most fossils are imprints of creatures or partial remains of them, such as their skeletons. In contrast, the process of petrification recreates an entire preserved tree in stone. It’s very cool to see a petrified tree close-up, because it is still precisely life-size; you can get an idea of how big the tree was when it was alive, and even see individual tree cells that have been preserved. You can even count the tree rings in some petrified trees and estimate how old the tree grew to be before it was petrified.

 

From Tree to Stone

In order for a tree to become petrified wood, it must have died and been buried a very long time ago. This has to have happened in a specific environment, though, or petrified wood would not be so rare. The tree has to be buried in such a way that oxygen cannot get to its bark and wood. If oxygen can get to the tree, it will rot instead of turn to stone. 

The environment has to have two more specific characteristics to produce petrified wood: there has to be water in the ground around the tree, and that water has to contain minerals. If mineral-containing water is present, water will go into and out of the tree’s cells and, over time, the minerals in the water will accumulate in the tree’s cells. When the tree’s cells eventually decay, the minerals are left. Petrified wood can be a rainbow of different colors, with each color corresponding to different elements in the tree’s preserving environment that affect the color of the minerals that form its stone.

Petrified wood is found all over the world, and there are even entire forests of petrified trees that you can travel to go see today. One national park in the United States, Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, is famous for its many petrified trees. The next time you see a tree, remember, after a few million years in the right environment, it could turn to stone!

“Most fossils are imprints of creatures or partial remains of them, such as their skeletons.”

“The tree has to be buried in such a way that oxygen cannot get to its bark and wood. If oxygen can get to the tree, it will rot instead of turn to stone.”

Which of the following inferences is supported by the above sentences taken from the text?

Possible Answers:

Most fossils involve bodies of creatures that are completely preserved from rotting.

Oxygen probably helped preserve the footprints of dinosaurs as fossils.

The bodies of dinosaurs whose bones became fossils were probably exposed to oxygen.

The bark and wood of a petrifying tree preserve the tree’s interior by blocking its exposure to oxygen.

Mineral-containing water must have gotten to the dinosaur bones and turned them to stone.

Correct answer:

The bodies of dinosaurs whose bones became fossils were probably exposed to oxygen.

Explanation:

Before we look at the answer choices, let's first consider which topics the given sentences discuss. After all, the sentences can't easily support inferences that are about topics they don't talk about! The first sentence is from the section "A Type of Fossil." It's talking about how most fossils are imprints of ancient creatures or only partial remains of their bodies, such as their skeletons. The second sentence is from the section "From Tree to Stone." It is talking about how for petrification to occur, a tree has to be buried so that oxygen cannot get to it, oxygen being the cause of rotting.

Now that we've reviewed these sentences closely, let's look at each of the answer choices and figure out which inference the sentences support.

"The bark and wood of a petrifying tree preserve the tree’s interior by blocking its exposure to oxygen." - This isn't true at all; the second sentence says that during petrification, oxygen cannot get to a tree's bark and wood. The second sentence contradicts this statement directly, so this statement can't be the correct answer.

"Most fossils involve bodies of creatures that are completely preserved from rotting." - The sentences don't support this answer choice. The first sentence tells us that "most fossils" are only partial remains of creatures or imprints they made, which is at odds with this answer choice. Since it's contradicted by the first sentence, it can't be correct.

"Oxygen probably helped preserve the footprints of dinosaurs as fossils." - This answer choice discusses both oxygen (mentioned in the second sentence) and footprints (mentioned in the first sentence); however, it suggests that oxygen helps preserve the footprints. We're told that oxygen causes things to rot, but we're not told anything that would support the claim that it helps preserve footprints. This answer choice isn't correct either.

"Mineral-containing water must have gotten to the dinosaur bones and turned them to stone." - Neither of the sentences mention water at all, much less mineral-containing water, so this claim isn't supported by them.

"The bodies of dinosaurs whose bones became fossils were probably exposed to oxygen." - This is the correct answer. In the second sentence, we're told that oxygen is the cause of making trees rot. In the first sentence, we're told that some fossils are just the bones of dinosaurs, not the rest of their bodies. Putting these two concepts together, we can arrive at the conclusion that the bodies of the dinosaurs whose skeletons became fossils probably rotted away due to contact with oxygen.

 

All Common Core: 7th Grade English Language Arts Resources

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