Cluster 4: Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity


General Information
Number: LAFS.1112.RST.4
Title: Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
Type: Cluster
Subject: English Language Arts
Grade: 1112
Strand: Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6-12

Related Standards

This cluster includes the following benchmarks.

Related Access Points

This cluster includes the following access points.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this topic.

Lesson Plans

Life after Death: Some Genes Remain "Alive":

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article explains what happens to certain genes after an organism has died. This lesson also introduces a related video that explains how the fields of Genetics and Biotechnology have affected the field of Forensic Science. By reading the article and viewing the video, students will learn about new discoveries in gene function after death and the impact varying fields of science have upon another. This lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Languages: Barriers to Global Science?:

In this lesson, students will analyze an intended to support reading in the content area. The research article discusses different languages as barriers to the transfer of knowledge within the scientific community and then provides potential resolutions to aid in the reduction of language barriers. This lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Bioremediation: Nature's Way to a Cleaner Environment:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. This article explains how bioremediation takes place via microorganism digestion of toxic waste generated by human activity. Students will learn how this process occurs naturally and how this natural process has been researched and is now utililized to clean up spills of certain hazardous substances. This lesson includes a vocabulary guide, a Cornell Notes note-taking guide, text dependent questions, and a writing prompt, along with answer keys and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Too Much of a Good Thing: Human Activities Overload Ecosystems with Nitrogen:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article briefly summarizes the nitrogen cycle, then explains how human activities have impacted ecosystems through the increased release of nitrogen and explores potential solutions to alleviate the issues caused by excess nitrogen. A video is also presented which explores why Florida had a large-scale eutrophication event in 2016 and presents solutions and economic implications of the event. By reading, viewing, and synthesizing information from the article and video, students learn how excess nitrogen impacts aquatic ecosystems and the economy. Further, they will be able to provide suggestions to lessen our impact on these systems. This lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

A New Vaccine for Yellow Fever?:

This informational text resource from the National Institutes of Health is designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses how yellow fever is becoming a health threat once again in parts of Africa and why it is necessary for a new vaccine against yellow fever to be developed. The article further discusses in detail the processes and experimental trials by which the vaccine will be tested for its effectiveness and its safety. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Antifreeze Proteins Both Help and Hurt Fish:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article from the National Science Foundation discusses research conducted in the Antarctic concerning the notothenioid fish, which contains "antifreeze" proteins. The proteins prevent the fish from freezing in the cold waters of the Southern Ocean, but it was also discovered that these same proteins prevent ice crystals from melting when temperatures warm. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

 

Type: Lesson Plan

The Spread of Rabies in Peru:

In this lesson plan, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article explains how the rabies virus is likely to spread from the interior of Peru to its coast by the year 2020. It further discusses the technology used to determine that the male vampire bat is most likely the carrier of the rabies virus to different areas in Peru. The lesson plan includes a vocabulary guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

How Did Tuberculosis Reach the New World?:

This informational text is designed to support reading in the content area. The article from the National Science Foundation discusses research conducted on the origin of tuberculosis in the Americas. Scientists discovered tuberculosis in skeletons which pre-dated the arrival of Europeans to the New World. Through the analysis of tuberculosis DNA, it was discovered that the New World tuberculosis showed a clear relationship to lineages found in seals and sea lions, suggesting they carried the disease to the Americas pre-Columbus. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

When Good Bugs Go Bad:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that addresses research into the fine balance between microbes and their hosts. The text explains how a human's microbiota or microbiome plays a very important role in the immune system. The text describes how bacteria, or the lack of bacteria, play a role in the immune system and keep autoimmune diseases at bay. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Economics and Epidemiology:

In this lesson, students will read an article from the National Science Foundation. The article discusses the rise of pandemic disease outbreaks across the globe and how these outbreaks can affect world economies. The article further describes how economic models were used to assess different strategies on their effectiveness. The strategy of identifying the underlying cause of emerging diseases was considered to be most cost-effective and beneficial long-term. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, a vocabulary handout, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Stinging Truth about Jellyfish:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article addresses the fluctuations of the jellyfish population in the Bering Sea and describes how a new study explains the increase and decrease of jellyfish in that ecosystem. The study focuses on whether or not rising water temperature (due to climate change) is the driving factor in jellyfish population growth. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Amazing Octopus:

In this lesson, students will read an article from the National Science Foundation that discusses the information gained through the first-ever sequencing of the octopus genome. The information gained will help scientists learn more about the function and development of the nervous system and can be applied to various aspects of brain research. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Loss of Vision in Astronauts:

In this lesson plan, students will analyze an intended to support reading in the content area. The article addresses the results of a new study that will help researchers identify which astronauts will develop vision problems in space. The text describes how Scott M. Smith from the Biomedical Research and Environmental Sciences Division at NASA's Johnson Space Center has found a metabolic pathway that is directly related to the vision problems some astronauts encounter. This pathway, called the one carbon metabolism pathway, moves single atoms from one organic compound to another. Astronauts who develop vision problems have been found to have a different genetic variant, which changes the way the enzymes of this pathway work. This will also affect people on Earth, as the same enzymes are also used here and are linked to other medical problems. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Astrocytes Got Your Back:

In this lesson, students will analyze an  intended to support reading in the content area.  The article presents exciting new research findings regarding axon generation in scar tissue formation following spinal cord injury.  Astrocytes were once thought to decrease the growth of new axon connections, but now these important cells have been shown to actually stimulate growth and connections in the neural network. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

New Research into Epigenetics and Rheumatoid Arthritis:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that describes recent research into the underlying factors affecting rheumatoid arthritis. The text describes how epigenetic analysis in knee and hip joints revealed unique patterns that suggest the disease may differ from joint to joint. The findings may allow for the development of more effective, personalized treatment for those who suffer with RA. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, a vocabulary handout, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Finding the Sources of Ebola and other Filoviruses:

In this lesson, students will analyze an from Science Daily that discusses the research conducted by scientists who used machine learning methods to identify bats that were likely to be reservoirs for Ebola and other filoviruses. Scientists mapped out the geographical ranges of these bats and hope to be able to use this information to prevent future outbreaks.This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a vocabulary guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Ancient DNA Gives Clues to Dog Evolution:

In this lesson, students will analyze an  that addresses the genetic analysis of a 4,800-year-old dog found in a tomb in Ireland and how this information gives rise to a new hypothesis that dogs may have been domesticated at least twice, once in East Asia and also in Europe. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Hijacking the Immune System:

In this lesson, students will analyze an intended to support reading in the content area. The article discusses new research conducted by Penn State scientists to determine how the malaria parasite is evading the human immune system and entering into red blood cells. The study revealed how the parasite is able to use the complement system to its own advantage rather than being negatively affected by it. This lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Frankenfood or Superfood?:

In this lesson, students will analyze an designed to support reading in the content area. The article addresses opposition to genetically modified foods. The text discusses the possible reasons why so many people are anti-GMO even though science finds them safe. GMOs allow for more of the world to be fed with a lower impact on the environment. The author suggests some ways that misinformation can be combated with education. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

By-Products of Fracking:

In this lesson, students will analyze an that addresses accidental wastewater spills in North Dakota from the use of fracking. The text describes how fracking has caused widespread water and soil contamination. Researchers have found high levels of contaminants and salt in surface waters. Soil at the spill sites contain radium, and in some places radium was found to be present even 4 years after a spill. Researchers studied almost 4,000 spill sites in North Dakota to connect the soil and water contamination directly to fracking spills. This lesson plan is designed to support reading in the content area; it includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Artificially Sweetened Foods and Drinks Can't Fool Your Brain:

In this lesson, students will study an that describes how researchers at the University of Sydney have discovered a correlation between artificial sweeteners, like sucralose, and an increased appetite. There are estimates that over 4,000 types of food contain sucralose. Billions of people around the world consume artificial sweeteners in hopes of losing weight, and until this study, little has been known about how these sweeteners affected the brain. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area; it includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Dangerous Fog:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The text discusses the presence of monomethyl mercury in California sea fog and how it is affecting nearby terrestrial environments. The article further explains the research that was conducted and discusses future studies. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Gene Transfer and Cancer: Are They Linked?:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article addresses a recent discovery linking bacteria and cancer cells in human tissue. Researchers believe that lateral gene transfer might play a role in cancer and other diseases associated with DNA damage. These results may lead to personalized medicine and might possibly be used as preventive measures. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Editing Humanity's Problems with CRISPR:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that describes a promising new gene editing technology called CRISPR. The text describes what CRISPR is and some of its potential applications for individual and public health. Potential ethical considerations and drawbacks are also discussed. The article highlights the inventor of the technology, Dr. Jennifer Doudna, who was recently awarded a $3 million Breakthrough Prize for life sciences. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Drama in the Deep:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes the interactions between three different microorganisms and the implications on the food webs found in the oceans near Antarctica. Phytoplankton and bacteria are competing for food and resources in previously unknown ways. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Searching for the Recipe: Polypeptides & the Origins of Life:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that addresses a new method of producing polypeptides from only amino and hydroxy acids, with no biological catalysts necessary. Researchers at Georgia Tech have been able to produce polypeptides by subjecting amino and hydroxy acids through a wet and dry cycle. This allows for prebiotic molecules to be formed on land, without large amounts of water or extreme boiling temperatures. This method also allows for the breakdown and reassembly of organic materials to form random sequences that could lead to the variation needed for life. This lesson plan is intended to support reading in the content area; it includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Impactful Elements:

In this lesson, students will read an informational text that describes how certain elements (copper and zinc are highlighted) can affect human health in both positive and negative ways. Current research on these elements and possible treatments for the negative health effects associated with them is also discussed. This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Grants for El Niño:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that discusses the impacts of El Niño and the need for current research on the topic. The lesson plan includes text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Ideas for extending the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

USGS Science for an El Niño Winter:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text on the work the USGS (United States Geological Survey) is doing to monitor the effects of the 2015-2016 winter season as it is impacted by El Niño. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Some Assembly Required: Fighting Cancer with DNA:

This lesson utilizes an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes a new nanotechnology technique that uses computers to rapidly and accurately assemble molecules that can fight cancer. The article also emphasizes how scientific research is supported monetarily through public (NSF) and private partnerships. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Hurricanes: Birth, Life, and Death:

In this lesson, students will analyze an in-depth NASA article on how hurricanes form, develop, and weaken. Additionally the article informs the reader about the history of hurricanes and naming conventions throughout the world as well as the latest technology to study hurricane anatomy, development geographic distribution, and frequency. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

It May Be A Planet, But Could Goldilocks Live There?:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text resource intended to support reading in the content area. This text describes scientists' research on identifying "habitable" planets and explains how failed attempts might actually open the doors to more thorough research and understanding. Scientists faced the challenge of collecting specific data in order to determine if bodies qualified as planets. When research revealed that their original hypotheses were incorrect, scientists were able to take the new information and apply it to further investigations. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Options to extend the lesson are included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Opening New Windows to the Cosmos: Detecting Gravitational Waves:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that describes the first detection of gravitational waves. The text seeks to define gravitational waves, the technology used to detect them, and the impact this discovery may have on future scientific endeavors. This informational text is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, sample answers, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

A Star is Born...and Dies:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes the life cycle of stars and differentiates between their various "fates" as white dwarfs, black holes, novae, etc. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.  

Type: Lesson Plan

Fighting Marine Debris on the Alaskan Coast:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text designed to support reading in the content area. The text is the transcript of an interview concerning the removal of marine debris from the coast of Alaska. The interview subject explains how marine debris needs to be researched, removed, and prevented. The lesson plan includes text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Ideas for extending the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Mysterious Corona - Why's it so Hot?:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that addresses innovative research to understand why the corona is hotter than the surface of the Sun. This informational text is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes how researchers are using the Hinode satellite from Japan to analyze data being produced from a polar coronal hole in the Sun. They believe that Alfven waves are responsible for the surprising temperature of the corona, thereby unlocking a long unanswered question in solar physics. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Researching Remote Regions: Role of the Southern Ocean:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text on the carbon dioxide/oxygen exchange in the Southern Ocean. The extent to which massive Southern Ocean currents, other biotic and abiotic factors, and ocean color impacts global warming is currently not known. Scientists will use a modified plane set up as a laboratory to gather this data. The lesson is designed to support reading in the content area and includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Submarines of Jelly: The Remarkable Siphonophore:

This lesson uses an informational text resource intended to support reading in the content area. The text informs readers about siphonophores, a relatively little-studied organism related to jellyfish and corals. It can grow as long as 160 ft. (49 m) and can move through the water column in a coordinated fashion, and knowledge of its locomotion may help humans propel themselves efficiently underwater. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Purple Haze:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text designed to support reading in the content area. An ancient coloring pigment is leading to new research in magnetic fields and superconductivity. Will this lead to new technologies involving quantum computers? The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Of Mice and Mutations: Natural Selection in Action:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. In this lesson, students will analyze a text that addresses the issue of evolution by natural selection and mutation, using Florida "beach mice" as a case study. The lesson plan includes text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Ideas for extending the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Struggle of Mountains: Erosion vs. Plate Tectonics:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. In this lesson, students will read and analyze an informational text that describes the relationship between plate tectonics and erosion in the formation of Earth's surface. The article includes information describing how scientists are measuring the impact of both of these processes using sediment cores. The article presents findings from a recent study that shows, through data from sediment cores, that erosion is occurring faster than mountain building by plate tectonics. The lesson plan includes a text coding strategy, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Is Ozone Always a Positive Force in the Environment?:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that addresses the importance of ozone and its positive and negative impacts on life on Earth. The text describes the formation of the ozone layer as a natural occurrence. It also describes the formation of the ozone layer where it can negatively impact living organisms. This informational text is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Methods of Protecting Coral Reefs:

This lesson is designed to support reading in the content area. Students will read a short but complex article that describes the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (a type of marine protected area) and the benefits of MPAs. The article identifies threats to coral reefs and how creating an MPA can help the coral reefs within this protected area and reefs in adjoining areas as well. The text provides some background information on how similar programs have helped other protected reefs near the Philippines, and both local and global threats to coral reef ecosystems are referenced. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Not-So-Friendly Spider Venom May Be Used as Earth-Friendly Pest Control:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. In this lesson, students will analyze a text that addresses the environmental problems caused by insecticides and explains how compounds (toxins) in spider venom may be used to selectively eliminate crop-destroying insects while leaving other insects, vertebrates, and the environment unharmed.

Type: Lesson Plan

Using Scientific Methods to Starve the Beast:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that describes how scientists employed use of scientific methods to discover what may lead to a new method to treat cancer. The article describes the preliminary research done in eliminating protein cell chaperones that bring copper into cancer cells. Depriving cancer cells of copper causes them to stop growing. Use of this informational text is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, sample answers, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Welcome to the Dead Zone:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that describes the results of a recent study that has found a link between past ocean warming and the onset of "dead zones" in the Pacific Ocean off Oregon and Washington. This informational text is designed to support reading in the content area. The lesson plan includes text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, sample answers, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Finding the Light in a Jaguar Conservation Challenge:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text that addresses an innovative conservation method designed to protect jaguars in Colombia. This informational text is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes how predation of domestic cattle by jaguars in Colombia was becoming increasingly common due in part to deforestation. A conservation program was implemented to create a corridor for jaguars to pass through, keeping the jaguars separated from the farms and livestock and allowing them a natural pathway to cross through the Andes Mountains to eastern Colombia. The lesson plan includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric. Numerous options to extend the lesson are also included.

Type: Lesson Plan

Momentum and the Law of Conservation of Momentum: A Student-Centered Lesson:

This is a largely self-paced unit for students to learn the basics of Momentum as well as the Law of Conservation of Momentum. Students complete two investigative exercises (one hands-on, the other virtual). They then are directed to read a website (or a textbook could be substituted) and take notes with the teacher"s support as needed. After taking their own notes, students complete a worksheet to practice calculations involving the Law of Conservation of Momentum. At the end of the unit, students take a traditional summative assessment with True/False, multiple-choice, and fill-in-the-blank questions along with a calculations section. Note that this lesson only covers the basics of linear momentum and does not include impulse or angular momentum.

Type: Lesson Plan

Newton's Three Laws of Motion: A Student-Centered Approach:

This is an extended lesson that will take approximately two to three weeks to complete. Students begin by completing an inertial balance lab, which includes a graphing and data analysis component, in order to introduce them to Newton's First Law of Motion. Students then go on to complete a Webquest to reinforce Newton's First Law and to learn about Newton's Second Law and Free-body Diagrams. The class then participates in a demonstration to learn Newton's Third Law of Motion. Students then either complete a worksheet to practice calculations involving Newton's Second Law or an inquiry lab to understand how Newton's Laws can be used to build Balloon Rocket Cars (or both!). Finally, students complete an original project by writing a letter, recording a song, or creating a poster to demonstrate their mastery of Newton's Three Laws of Motion.

Type: Lesson Plan

Discover the Planimal:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text intended to support reading in the content area. The article explains how scientists utilized the scientific method to discover a plant-animal hybrid between a sea slug and algae. Students also analyze another text reviewing the attributes of scientists that are employed to make discoveries. By reading and synthesizing two texts, students will explore a real-world example of how the scientific method led to the discovery of the first case of gene transfer between multicellular organisms. This lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Lesson Study Resource Kit

Exploring Diversity and Evolution: A Lesson Study Resource Kit for grades 9-12:

This lesson study resource kit is designed to support lesson study teams in developing a unit of instruction for students in grades 9-12 on the topic of diversity and evolution.

Type: Lesson Study Resource Kit

Original Student Tutorial

Earliest Beginnings :

Learn how to identify and describe the leading scientific explanations of the origin of life on Earth.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Professional Developments

Cultivating Literacy: Reading Skills and Standards:

Click "View Site" to open a full-screen version.

By the end of this module, teachers should be able to:

  • Name the key instructional shifts in English Language Arts and Literacy
  • Label the College and Career Readiness, also known as CCR, anchor standards for Reading
  • Use the language of the Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects to identify what students should know and be able to do
  • Arrange and sequence the Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects
  • Distinguish the changes in rigor as a Reading standard progresses from one grade band to the next

This is Module 1 of 4 in the series, "Literacy across the Content Areas: Reading and Writing to Build Content Knowledge."

Type: Professional Development

Exploring Text Complexity:

Click "View Site" to open a full-screen version.

By the end of this module, teachers should be able to:

  • Define the three key elements or factors of text complexity
  • Determine a quantitative measure of a text
  • Select the qualitative measures of a text
  • Conduct a reader and task analysis of a text
  • Use all the factors of text complexity to determine a text's grade band placement

This is Module 3 of 4 in the series, "Literacy across the Content Areas: Reading and Writing to Build Content Knowledge."

Type: Professional Development

Digging Deeper with Text-Dependent Questions:

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By the end of this module, teachers should be able to:

  • Define text-dependent questions
  • Frame and create text-dependent questions
  • Design a text-dependent question that could be used as a writing prompt
  • Differentiate questions that use basic or lower-order thinking skills from those that require more abstract or higher-order thinking skills

This is Module 4 of 4 in the series, "Literacy across the Content Areas: Reading and Writing to Build Content Knowledge."

Type: Professional Development

Resource Collection

Kelly Gallagher: Building Deeper Readers and Writers:

This collection of articles covers a wide variety of topics that teens would find interesting. Each article includes thoughtful questions that require close reading and/or personal written response. Teachers can choose which articles to assign and how to grade student responses.

Type: Resource Collection

Text Resources

A Green Sea Slug Steals Power from Algae:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Researchers are gaining more insight into how Elysia chlorotica can survive for months without food in a well-lit laboratory. It is well known that the slug can store plastids from the algae it consumes. However, scientists questioned how the organelles remained active for several months in the slug's gut even after a drug was given to shut down photosynthesis. Using fluorescent DNA markers, scientists were able to find a gene that allows the slug to keep the chloroplasts working. It is the first known case of gene transfer from one multicellular organism to another.

Type: Text Resource

Some Genes Remain "Alive" for Days After the Body Dies:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Researchers from the University of Washington, led by microbiologist Peter Nobel, found that hundreds of genes reawaken and function in mice and fish for up to four days. Nobel also discovered that these genes are responsible for responding to stress and regulating the immune system. There were also others that are important for a developing embryo being used and these shouldn’t be needed after birth. In addition, the genes may also be linked to increased cancer in organ transplants and scientists are hoping to use the information in forensic science to better estimate a time of death.

Type: Text Resource

Languages Are Still a Major Barrier to Global Science:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes a Google Scholar survey, focusing on environmental issues, as the basis for presenting an argument that language is a barrier to global communication in the scientific community. The recognized barriers are two-fold: the limitation of knowledge transfer and the inability of local policy makers to make decisions based on existing knowledge. The article provides possible solutions to the problem, including the "multilingualization" of texts through changes in journal requirements.

Type: Text Resource

Scientists Discover Stinging Truths About Jellyfish Blooms in the Bering Sea:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes how jellyfish populations in the Bering Sea have been impacted by different limiting factors like temperature and food availability. Scientists suspect that increasing water temperatures affect the development of polyps in multiple ways. In addition, the study is a multi-disciplinary effort between experts in marine ecology, statistics, and the mathematical geosciences. It is thought such models may be applied to other marine and land-based ecological studies and the spread of infectious diseases.

Type: Text Resource

Ebola, Dengue Fever, Lyme Disease: The Growing Economic Cost of Infectious Diseases:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses the rise of pandemic disease outbreaks across the globe and how these outbreaks can affect world economies. The article further describes how economic models were used to assess different strategies on their effectiveness. The strategy of identifying the underlying cause of the emerging disease was considered to be most cost-effective and beneficial long-term.

Type: Text Resource

What is the Carbon Cycle?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes the carbon cycle and its dynamic nature. Carbon dioxide is recycled by plants and other autotrophs, considered "sinks." Animals and heterotrophs give off carbon dioxide as a by-product of the process of cellular respiration. In addition, human activity, accelerated by industrial activity, produces more carbon dioxide than autotrophs can handle, leading to global warming.

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Rabies Could Spread to Peru's Coast by 2020:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses how the rabies virus is likely to spread to the coast of Peru by the year 2020. It further discusses the technology used to determine that the male vampire bat is most likely the carrier of the rabies virus to different areas in Peru.

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The Microbiome: When Good Bugs Go Bad:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes current research being conducted on microbiota and the immune system. The text describes how bacteria, or the lack of bacteria, play a role in the immune system and keep autoimmune diseases at bay. There is currently a spike in autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease and psoriasis that occur primarily in developed countries. This research emphasizes how important our symbiotic relationship is with bacteria.

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Antifreeze Proteins in Antarctic Fish Prevent Both Freezing and Melting:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The National Science Foundation article discusses research conducted in the Antarctic concerning the notothenioid fish, which contains "antifreeze" proteins. These proteins are essential because they prevent the fish from freezing in the cold waters of the Southern Ocean, but it was discovered that these same proteins prevent ice crystals from melting when temperatures warm.

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NIH Launches Early-stage Yellow Fever Vaccine Trial:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article discusses how yellow fever is becoming a health threat once again in parts of Africa and why it is necessary for a new vaccine for yellow fever to be developed. The article further discusses the process and experimental trials by which the vaccine is being tested for its effectiveness as well as its safety.

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Bioremediation: Nature's Way to a Cleaner Environment:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. It is designed to introduce the ideas and the research history of bioremediation studies performed by the USGS scientists. This text begins with an environmental spill and moves into the progress gained in cost effective and safe cleanup of toxic substances from the environment using research completed by the USGS.

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Too Much of a Good Thing: Human Activities Overload Ecosystems with Nitrogen:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Human activities, mainly the use of fertilizer, are overloading ecosystems with nitrogen. Nitrogen is a dynamic cycle that is mediated by bacteria. Humans have been contributing to the nitrogen cycle through synthetic nitrogen fixation. This has resulted in eutrophication of aquatic systems and greenhouse gas emissions. Methods to increase the efficiency of nitrogen fertilizer use are discussed.

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First-Ever Octopus Genome Sequenced:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses the information gained through the sequencing of the octopus' genome. This information will help scientists learn more about the function and development of the nervous system and can be applied to brain research.

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One Carbon Metabolism on the Space Station:

This resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes how a genetic variation in enzymes associated with the one carbon metabolic pathway can cause vision problems in astronauts. The research may lead scientists to predict which astronauts will develop vision problems, as well as develop new treatments for existing medical problems on Earth.

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Researchers Make a Key Discovery in How Malaria Evades the Immune System:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses the research conducted by scientists to determine how the malaria parasite evades the human immune system and enters into red blood cells. It was determined the parasite is able to use the complement system to its own advantage rather than being negatively affected by it.

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Ecologists Identify Potential New Sources of Ebola and Other Filoviruses:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses the research conducted by scientists who used machine learning methods to identify bats that were likely to be reservoirs for filoviruses. Scientists mapped out the geographical ranges of these bats and hope to be able to use this information to prevent future outbreaks.

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Why Artificial Sweeteners Can Increase Appetite:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes how researchers at the University of Sydney have discovered a correlation between artificial sweeteners, like sucralose, and an increased appetite. There are estimates that over 4,000 types of food contain sucralose. Billions of people around the world consume artificial sweeteners in hopes of losing weight, and until this study, little has been known about how these sweeteners affected the brain.

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Contamination in North Dakota Linked to Fracking Spills:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes how accidental wastewater spills from fracking have caused soil and water contamination in North Dakota. Researchers from Duke University have been able to prove the contamination comes directly from the North Dakota wells. The text also explains how almost 10,000 wells have been drilled in North Dakota over the past decade, and how the state began producing more than 1 million barrels of oil a day in 2014. Much of the increased production has come through hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

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Why People Oppose GMOs Even Though Science Says They Are Safe:

The informational text resource explains why the conventional wisdom of much of the public tends to be against GMOs: genetically modified organisms. Author Stefaan Blancke discusses why people feel hostile toward GMOs: because of emotions, intuitions, and essentialism. The author explains that science has found nothing unsafe about GMOs, but he does conclude that each GMO should be researched and admits that some GM applications could have unwanted effects.

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Mercury-Laden Fog Swirls over Coastal California, Scientists Find:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article discusses the research conducted on the amounts of methyl mercury found in fog samples. Two different studies were conducted, and both indicate that fog is a major contributor and source of the presence of methyl mercury in an inland environment.

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Research Spotlights a Previously Unknown Microbial 'Drama' Playing in the Southern Ocean:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article discusses the relationship between phytoplankton and different bacteria in the Southern Ocean. The text goes on to describe the results and how they changed previous ideas and assumptions about the needs of phytoplankton.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Mechanisms May Vary by Joint:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. New research indicates that rheumatoid arthritis mechanisms may vary by joint. These findings may point to developing specific therapies for individual patients that target precise locations.

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Bacterial DNA May Integrate into Human Genome More Readily in Tumor Tissue:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes how scientists have recently found that lateral gene transfer occurs more rapidly into cancer or tumor cells than in normal, healthy cells. Scientists are going to further their research to see if there is a link between lateral gene transfer from the microbes that live on or around us and cancer. They believe this will also lead to a more personalized type of medicine.

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Rewriting Genetic Information to Prevent Disease:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. CRISPR is an ancient immune response mechanism found in many bacteria that can locate and destroy the genome of an invader, such as a virus. Now researchers want to harness this natural system to control gene editing and regulation, and potentially correct harmful genetic mutations in humans. The ethical considerations of this technology are also discussed.

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New Role Identified for Scars at the Site of Injured Spinal Cord:

Recent research funded by the National Institutes of Health points to scar tissue being beneficial to nerve regrowth in spinal injury. Previously it was believed scar tissue prevented nerve regrowth, but this new research shows that astrocyte scars may actually be required for repair and regrowth following spinal cord injury.

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Finding the Origins of Life in a Drying Puddle:

This text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article describes how researchers at Georgia Tech have discovered that polypeptides, which are the main component of proteins, can be formed by mixing amino and hydroxyl acids, and then simply putting them through wet and dry cycles. This would be a more plausible way for early prebiotic molecules to form. Previously, the only way to produce polypeptides involved boiling temperatures, which are not conducive to life.

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Metals: In Sickness and in Health:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article describes how certain elements (copper and zinc are highlighted) can affect human health in both positive and negative ways. Current research on these elements and possible treatments for the negative health effects associated with them is also discussed.

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Text Resource: USGS Science for an El Niño Winter:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. El Niño is known to cause weather disturbances, however, its impact on winter storms causes a slew of additional complications when coupled with rising ocean levels instigated by global warming. The USGS reviews the effects, efforts to study the phenomena, and hints at ways to plan strategically for them in this timely article.

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NSF Awards Rapid Response Grants to Study Current El Niño, One of the Strongest on Record:

This informational text resource is is designed to support reading in the content area. The text briefly defines and describes El Niño, including outlining its impacts on fragile ecosystems and weather patterns. The author also reviews the type of grants NSF is awarding scientists to study El Niño and justifies the need for such funding.

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Drag-and-Drop DNA: Novel Technique Aiding Development of New Cancer Drugs:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. It informs readers of how cutting edge nanotechnology is being combined with supercomputing and drug production. The new process it describes uses unique algorithms to search for DNA sequences that will self-assemble molecules tailored to locate, attach, and kill cancer cells. The passage also is a good example of how public agencies can support private-sector entities through various grants.

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Hurricanes: The Greatest Storms on Earth:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article is provides background information on the different names for tropical cyclones, how hurricanes develop and weaken, and where in the world they are found. It also describes the technology used to study hurricanes and how hurricanes are categorized in terms of intensity.

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Astronomers Developed Technology While Studying Gliese 581:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The author describes research on identifying "habitable" planets and explains how failed attempts might actually open the doors to more thorough research. Scientists faced the challenge of collecting specific data in order to determine if readings pointed to the existence of a planet. When research revealed that their original hypotheses were incorrect, the scientists were able to take the new information and apply it to further investigations.

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Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years After Einstein's Prediction:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes the first observation of gravitational waves by scientists, confirming Albert Einstein's 100-year-old prediction. The article describes the phenomena of gravitational waves, the technology used to detect them, and the impact of this discovery on future scientific endeavors. The importance of this discovery as the culmination of 100 years of research is emphasized.

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Alaska: Marine Debris in the Wilderness:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text is a transcript of an interview with Peter Murphy, the Alaska Regional Coordinator of the NOAA Marine Debris Program. The interview highlights some of the challenges of removing marine debris in Alaska, specific projects, and goals for future work.

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Jaguar Corridor Lights Up Eastern Colombia:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes how predation of domestic cattle by jaguars in Colombia was becoming increasingly common due in part to deforestation. A conservation program was implemented to create a corridor for jaguars to pass through, keeping the jaguars separated from the farms and livestock and allowing them a natural pathway to cross through the Andes Mountains to eastern Colombia.

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Chemistry in the Sunlight:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article explains that sunlight is an important aspect of ozone formation. The ozone layer forms in the stratosphere, which is located above the layer of the atmosphere that we breathe (the troposphere). There is ozone formation also occurring in the troposphere, which is very toxic to living organisms, naturally but mostly due to by-products from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities. The text describes the different chemical processes of ozone formation in these two layers of the atmosphere.

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Low-Oxygen "Dead Zones" in North Pacific Linked to Past Ocean Warming:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes the results of a recent study that has found a link between past ocean warming and the onset of "dead zones" in the Pacific Ocean off Oregon and Washington.

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Clues to Future of Undersea Exploration May Reside Inside a Jellyfish-like Creature:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article relates the findings of a study by four scientists about siphonophores, a relatively little-studied organism related to jellyfish and corals. Their study focuses on this organism's ability to move through the water column in a coordinated fashion and how this knowledge may help humans propel themselves efficiently underwater.

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Good News and Bad News for Coral Reefs:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. Through discussion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the central Pacific, this text offers perspective on how political factors can greatly influence ecology. The article explains some of the benefits of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) like the Marine National Monument, which often include pristine coral reefs and exceptional biodiversity, using the example of MPAs in the Philippines. It also briefly describes global threats to MPAs.

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Climate Can Grind Down Mountains Faster Than They Can Rebuild:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The article describes the relationship between plate tectonics and erosion in the formation of Earth's surfaces and discusses how scientists are measuring the impact of both of these processes. The article presents findings from a recent study that shows, through data from sediment cores, that erosion is occurring faster than mountain building by plate tectonics.

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Starving the Beast: New NSF-Funded Research Finds Way to Withhold Cancer Cells' Favorite Food:

This informational text resource supports reading in the content area. This text describes the findings of a scientific study to determine how cancer cell growth can be halted by reducing the amount of copper that is transported to the cell. The text also describes how the scientists used the scientific method to develop their experiment.

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Purple Haze: Ancient Pigment Reveals Secrets about Unusual State of Matter:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text explains how extreme cooling of an ancient pigment comprised of metallic compounds, as well as exposure to strong magnetic fields, converts the matter into a state called a Bose-Einstein condensate. In this state, the behavior of electrons within the pigment's atoms shifts and they form a single magnetic three dimensional structure. When the condensate is cooled even further in this case, the magnetic structure loses a dimension.

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Spider Venom Could Yield Eco-Friendly Insecticides:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. A biochemist is studying spider venom to see if it can be used to control agricultural pests. The venom is harmless to vertebrates but kills insects that may kill crops. If successful, the spider venom could be used to replace chemical pesticides that are harmful to humans, wildlife, and the environment. In addition, insects that destroy crops are becoming resistant to these chemical insecticides but would not be resistant to bioinsecticides.

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The Mythology of Natural Selection:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes how natural selection occurs when mutations occur in an individual's DNA sequence. Two different populations can have two different genetic mutations yet end up with a similar phenotype.

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It's Hot...Super Hot: Finding Answers Around the Sun:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes how researchers are using the Hinode satellite from Japan to uncover new explanations for the long-puzzled-after solution behind the searing temperature of the corona of the Sun.

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Flying Lab to Investigate Southern Ocean's Appetite for Carbon:

This informational text resource is designed to support reading in the content area. The text describes how scientists led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are set to launch a series of flights over the Southern Ocean in order to collect data on how the air and seas surrounding Antarctica exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. It is hoped that this data will help us with future predictions about climate change, and maybe even lead to new insights on how the ocean works.

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Long-held Theory on Human Gestation Refuted:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This is a fine synopsis of a previously reported (and highly technical) study that shows the thought process behind challenging an existing theory. The subject is human evolution and the biology of childbirth. It encompasses basic anthropology concepts such as walking upright, as well as the biology of energy needs in pregnancy. Long-held views (that narrow birth canals are required for bipedalism) are debunked by careful analysis of how women with varying hip widths actually walk—and the authors found no difference.

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Sample Size Calculation:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes the important process used when setting up trials for statistical investigation. The article explains each parameter that is needed to calculate the sample size, then provides examples and illustrates the process. This article will enhance an upper level math course's study of statistics after significance levels and basic inferential statistics concepts have been taught.

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Genetic Solution to Cancer, Diabetes?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes a rare form of dwarfism called Laron's Syndrome, which is associated with an unusually low incidence of cancer and diabetes. This combination of characteristics allows scientists to speculate on the relationship between all three conditions. It appears that a mutation that causes dwarfism protects against the common diseases of cancer and diabetes.

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Coral Reefs Show Remarkable Ability to Recover from Near Death:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. When corals are stressed, they release their algal partners and turn white, a phenomenon called coral bleaching. This occurs when they are under stress from warming waters or other environmental factors. Researchers monitored reefs in the Seychelles during and after coral bleaching events, and found that several factors, including depth of growth, branching shape, nutrient levels, and amount of fish grazing accurately predicted whether reefs were likely to recover from these events. Human impacts such as sediment or nutrient run-off also affect the corals' resiliency.

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Maths Goes to the Movies:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text shows how math is used to create the life-like computer generated images seen in movies such as Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings.

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Cloning Is Used to Create Embryonic Stem Cells:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article explains how cloning technology has achieved the long-desired goal of creating embryonic stem cells. It explores the science and morality of this complex issue.  

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Strange but True: The Largest Organism on Earth is a Fungus:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article details the discovery of the world's largest living organism, a humongous fungus in eastern Oregon. The text discusses the fungus itself, other sprawling fungi, and possible explanations for why such large sizes might be the norm for fungi. Also, the article describes the research methods scientists employed in order to determine that the fungus was in fact one single living organism.

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The Indian River Lagoon: An Estuary of National Significance:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. What is the Indian River Lagoon?  Why is the lagoon an estuary of “national significance?” What are some of the environmental challenges the lagoon faces? These questions represent interesting and relevant content explored in this informative text about one of Florida’s most important estuaries. The text also has the potential to be used as an anchor text to segue into further areas of inquiry such as the role of water management districts, restoration initiatives, and the death of wildlife on the Indian River Lagoon.

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The Logic of Drug Testing:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article explores the reliability of drug tests for athletes, using mathematics. The author attempts to address this issue by relating drug tests to conditional probability. Throughout the text, various numbers that affect the calculation of a reliable probability are discussed. Numbers such as test sensitivity, test specificity, and weight of evidence are related to Bayes' theorem, which is ultimately used to calculate the conditional probability.

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Fractal Geometry Overview:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article indicates that traditional geometry does not suffice in describing many natural phenomena. The use of computers to implement repeated iterations can generate better models. Offered by IBM, this text can be used in a high school geometry class to demonstrate applications of similarity and to illustrate important ways that geometry can be used to model a wide range of scientific phenomena.

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Captured: The Moment Photosynthesis Changed the World:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Geologists have made an important discovery about the origins of photosynthesis. According to evidence in South African rocks, before organisms were using water as the electron source for photosynthesis, they were using manganese - these rocks formed in anoxic conditions, but contain oxidized manganese. This evolution of photosynthetic organisms, which released atmospheric oxygen, laid the groundwork for more complex life forms, such as animals, to come into existence.

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Is Large-Scale Production of Biofuel Possible?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Is large-scale production of biofuel possible? The author attempts to answer this key question. As the world seeks to decrease its dependence on petroleum fuel by genetically engineering certain crops, there is the potential to commercially produce biofuels. Plant sources for bioenergy, the harnessing of plant bioenergy, and the sustainability of the industry are all issues considered in this text. The article discusses both environmental and economic consequences.

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Where Do Chemical Elements Come From? :

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. What is that extremely bright light in the sky? It's a supernova: the result of a massive star collapsing in on itself. This explosion is more than just a pretty sight; it is the main source of the elements that make up our planets and all the other objects in the night sky.

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Ammonium Dichromate:

This article explains the uses and properties of ammonium dichromate, an "explosive" compound once common in children's chemistry sets, and the reasons why society has gradually moved away from using this compound.

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Introduced Species: The Threat to Biodiversity & What Can Be Done:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Invasive species are a global threat to biodiversity for many reasons. This article outlines the scope of the problem, explaining how invasive species are impacting native flora and fauna and offering potential solutions to prevent their spread.

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Exoplanets Found Orbiting Former Extragalactic Star:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes scientists' discovery of the oldest habitable exoplanet that has been discovered. This planet formed outside our Milky Way and is about 11.5 billion years old. The planet looks like it could support water, has a rocky terrain, and is about five times bigger than Earth. Its proximity to its red dwarf star has led scientists to believe it could have supported life at one time.

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Regenerating Plastic Grows Back After Damage:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes researchers' development of a material similar to plastic that regenerates or grows back after damage. Researchers have discovered that the material is similar to biologic regenerative functions in living organisms and works by bonding to the damaged area and filling the holes and cracks to repair itself.

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Killing a Patient to Save His Life:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article explores a controversial clinical trial being conducted by the University of Pittsburgh. Scientists are exploring more efficient ways to save lives when patients enter the emergency room in critical condition. The idea involves draining the patient's blood and replacing it with freezing saltwater to induce a hypothermic state that will buy doctors more time to save human lives. This is causing an ethical debate as patients will be essentially clinically dead during this procedure. The technique is known as Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation (EPR).

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Patterns and Structures:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Patterns are an integral part of any system. One of the main functions of mathematics is to find patterns and create functions that generalize these patterns. There are many situations where patterns emerge and can be described by mathematics. For example, Fibonacci sequences can describe natural phenomena, quantic equations can describe repeated cases of symmetry, and there are even patterns in the occurrence of prime numbers.

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Feathers Yield Mysteries of Pigment Chemistry to Spectroscopic Analysis:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The pigments in the feathers of bird specimens have been traditionally hard to analyze because it required destroying the feathers. Now, scientists have come up with a new, non-destructive way to explore the complex chemistry of bird feather pigments, using lasers and Raman spectroscopy.

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Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which summarizes the many environmental, climatic, social, and economic effects of global warming that are already occurring and will continue to take place. The report also predicts the environmental and socio-economic effects of climate change that will occur in the upcoming decades, especially those that will affect poorer countries.

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What is Alchemy?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Alchemy is a pseudoscience dating back thousands of years. Though it contained scientific components, alchemy also involved untestable elements such as magic and mysticism, and it was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what scientists now know to be true about chemistry and physics. This article describes alchemy and explores its history and its failure to explain natural phenomena.

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Phrenology-History of a Science and Pseudoscience:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses phrenology, which is a pseudoscience that claims to be able to use bumps on human skulls to make inferences about personality traits. The article details why phrenology is not a true science, and reviews the history of phrenology, the role of phrenology in the debate about the organization of the brain, how phrenology came under scientific criticism, and modern iterations of the technique.

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Ethical Issues in Genetic Engineering and Transgenics:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This thought-provoking article explores ethical issues and legal implications associated with genetic engineering and transgenics. It discusses the science behind genetic engineering, current research developments, and potential societal issues surrounding bioengineering of humans and other organisms.

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Better Catalysts for the Petrochemical Industry:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Zeolites are catalysts necessary for the production of gasoline from crude oil. One problem with zeolites is that their pores can be clogged by reaction products. To solve this, scientists have recently created zeolites that are have greater pore connectivity, which turns out to be a better, and also cheaper, method of producing catalysts for the petrochemical industry.

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Cell Cycle and Cell Division:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The phases of the cell cycle are described, along with scientists' methods of studying the process. The proteins and cyclins involved in cell division are explained as well. The text ends by exploring future opportunities for discovery in this field.

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Tough Decisions on the Front Line of Nature Conservation:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article expresses its author's opinion about culling animals in zoos, which is reducing a population by selective slaughter. The argument supports the idea of culling as a way to control inbreeding and to control the breeding of animals that will not help the species stay adaptable and immune to diseases.

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Iron in Earth's Core Weakens Before Melting:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Researchers have created models that can be used to understand previously unexplained properties of the Earth's core. Previously, we have not been able to explain the behavior of seismic waves traveling through the core. However, a new model suggests that the iron in the core greatly weakens before melting, which slows the waves down.

 

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Report: Polluted Farm Runoff Linked to Toxic Green Algae Slime in U.S. Waters:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes the causes and potential effects of toxin cyanobacteria blooms that have occurred in bodies of water in the United States. The blooms are affecting water quality, killing wildlife, and threatening human health (including causing death and illness) across the United States.

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In the Fog about Smog:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Smog began appearing in Los Angeles in the 1940s and became a problem for decades. Scientists were able to figure out the cause of smog only after intensive study of organic compounds in the air. After discovering that nitrogen oxides from car exhaust were a primary ingredient in smog, it took years of policy changes and industrial innovation to reduce air pollution and resolve the smog issue in LA and worldwide.

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Chemistry Unearths the Secrets of the Terracotta Army:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. In 1974 a group of Chinese farmers digging a well came across a great discovery: the Terracotta Army from the tomb of the first emperor of China. Since the discovery, archaeologists have been researching many aspects of the artifacts. Recently, with the use of chemistry, they have been able to determine many details of the weapons of the Terracotta Army, including their chemical composition and production techniques.

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Body's Immune System Kills Mutant Cells Daily:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article explores how scientists discovered that the immune system naturally suppresses cancer while they were researching how B cells change during the growth of lymphoma. The text explains how T cells work as an "immune surveillance" and can be a way of preventing blood cancers. Through experimentation, scientists discovered how vitally important those cells are to possibly suppressing other forms of cancer in the future.

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Seeing Double: New Study Explains Evolution of Duplicate Genes:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. A new study explains that about half of our genes are copies, made by error during DNA replication, that have escaped elimination by natural selection through the addition of methyl groups. Usually these copies would be susceptible to developing mutations, but it is newly understood that they are evolving new functions instead.

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By the Skin of Their Suits:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text discusses the two main factors that control the speed of a competitive swimmer: power and drag. The reader is then presented with mathematical formulas that determine these factors. The text also discusses the technological advances that have come about in the swimsuit industry. The text even entertains the idea of "technological doping" and allows the reader to question whether advanced swimsuits are hurting the competitiveness of swimming.

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Hurricane Sandy was New York's "Self-Inflicted Calamity":

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Hurricane Sandy was one of the biggest storms to hit New York City in recent history. Intense wind and rain caused major damage all over the city and surrounding areas. The storm exposed how over development of reclaimed land and lack of political action to protect the city has led to major flooding—and probably will again unless action is taken.

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Sound, Light, and Water Waves and How Scientists Worked Out the Mathematics :

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This text describes in a historical context how the wave equation quantifies scientific experimentation performed over a hundred years ago to explain how light behaves from the perspective of math and physics. The wave equation has also proved useful in understanding quantum mechanics.

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Raman Method Analyzes Live Cells Quickly and Accurately :

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology has developed a non-invasive process for analyzing living cells. This technique uses Raman spectroscopy and will be able to to identify cancer cells based upon their unique Raman spectra. Alternative applications include separating bone marrow from other tissues for transplantation.

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With Data and Resolve, Tacoma Fights Pollution:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Rain and runoff carry pollutants from human activity to the sea in places like Tacoma, Washington. The city has devised a scientific process for identifying sources and pathways of pollution and is making headway in reducing pollutant buildup and damage. By utilizing forensic methods to find the source of pollution and fining polluters, Tacoma is winning the war.

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Extinct Relative Helps to Reclassify the World's Remaining Two Species of Monk Seal:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Scientists used DNA and morphological analysis to classify the extinct Caribbean monk seal. In doing so, they grouped it with the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal into a new genus, Neomonachus. The also critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal remains in its own genus, Monachus.

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April Becomes First Month with Carbon Dioxide Levels Above 400 PPM:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses a troublesome milestone in climate science: the CO2 levels in Earth's atmosphere stayed above 400 ppm for the entire month of April 2014. The article discusses the significance of this measurement and how CO2 levels impact the atmosphere.

Type: Text Resource

How Basic Research Fuels Medical Advances:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Research out of Scripps Research Institute's Florida campus illustrates how studying simple processes, such as DNA replication, can lead to highly beneficial medical advances: in this case, a possible cure for adult-onset muscular dystrophy. The article also shows how basic research has led to some familiar medical applications.

Type: Text Resource

Arctic Fox and Other Polar Predators May Have Originated in the Himalayas:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses the possibility that the modern Arctic fox and other "hypercarnivorous" polar predators may have their origins in the Tibetan Plateau. The study uses fossil evidence, comparative anatomy, and biogeography to trace the evolutionary origins of the Arctic fox to the Himalayas.

Type: Text Resource

No Limits For Usain:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text uses the story of Usain Bolt and his quest to reduce his world record in the 100 meter race to raise the question of whether there is a limit to his—or any human's—athleticism. The article uses number series, limits, and convergent and divergent series to prove that, hypothetically at least, a world record will go on reducing beyond any limit. A logistic curve is shown to model the data.

Type: Text Resource

NASA Widens 2014 Hurricane Research Mission:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article focuses on the technology used by NASA for its most recent research being conducted on hurricanes. It describes the technology used as well as the data that is collected. It is an excellent article for explaining how scientists "know what they know" about weather.

Type: Text Resource

The Quest for a Clean Drink:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. In America, clean water flows with the turn of a knob, but many countries do not have this luxury. This article looks at three different ways scientists have created treatment systems for drinking water in poor countries like India and Bangladesh.

Type: Text Resource

The Science Behind Superstorm Sandy's Crippling Storm Surge:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. This text describes the devastation that Superstorm Sandy caused and why there was so much destruction in the areas affected, especially New Jersey and New York. The author delves into areas such as floods, hurricane prediction, and methods that may prevent such destruction from happening again.

Type: Text Resource

Deploying the Body's Army:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Scientists have been making breakthroughs in immunotherapy: the use of infectious pathogens as a method for treating cancer. The infections heighten the response of the immune system and eradicate the cancer in the process.

Type: Text Resource

Sexual Reproduction - How it Works:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article gives an overview of the human reproductive system, including the organs that are present in both sexes and the role that each gender plays in reproduction. It is organized in a manner that supports readers' comprehension of the subject and captures their attention.

Type: Text Resource

Could the Yosemite Rim Fire Be Ecologically Beneficial?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The Yosemite Rim Fire was the third largest in California's history. This article explains what made it such a devastating event and what could result from this wildfire. The article addresses ideas of succession, human impact, and ecosystems.

Type: Text Resource

"Nanodaisies" Deliver Drug Cocktail to Cancer Cells:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This short but sophisticated article explains how a team of researchers developed daisy-shaped nanostructures to battle cancer cells and the potential impact this biotechnology may have on medical issues.

Type: Text Resource

The Oldest Fish in the World Lived 500 Million Years Ago:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes the discovery of an ancient fish that provides scientists with a "missing link" in the fossil record, helping them understand when and how organisms transitioned from boneless, jawless organisms into the fish that dominate the oceans today. The text details the adaptations these ancient fish had and draws connections to adaptations found in later species.

Type: Text Resource

Fetal Development, Human:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. There are many stages of the development of living things. This article focuses on the development of a human being starting at fertilization. The author gives vivid descriptions of each step of the process, breaking these steps into two larger groups: early development and the fetal period.

Type: Text Resource

NASA's Quest for Green Rocket Fuel Passes Big Test:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This text introduces AF-M315E, a "green" or environmentally friendly jet fuel, to potentially be used by NASA instead of hydrazine, which is known to be both toxic to humans and volatile for control of satellites and spacecraft.

Type: Text Resource

Yellowstone National Park is a Volcano:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article tells the geologic history of Yellowstone, the volcano. It describes the basic "hot spot" premise and the features resulting from a hot spot in the middle of a continental plate. The article is reassuring about the future of Yellowstone—as it points out, there is no imminent danger, just fascinating geology!

Type: Text Resource

Salamander's Hefty Role in the Ecosystem:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This is a fascinating article about the large role one tiny organism plays in its ecosystem. The author explores the predatory habits of the salamander, how this amphibian can affect the carbon cycle, and the changes that have been taking place in the salamander populations over time.

Type: Text Resource

Antimatter:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. The article describes the history of the study of antimatter in language that is easier to understand than most technical texts.

Type: Text Resource

New Magma Layer Found Deep in Earth's Mantle?:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. The National Geographic article discusses models and theories that shed new light on the structure of Earth's layers, including new evidence to suggest a molten later of rock trapped deep in the Earth's mantle.

Type: Text Resource

Starless Cloud Cores Reveal Why Some Stars are Bigger than Others:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. The article explains that astronomers are trying to find out why stars outside our galaxy are so much larger based on what we know about star formation and chemical make-up.

Type: Text Resource

Is Time Travel Real? Physicists Say It Happens All The Time:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. This article is about the physics of time travel, including basic explanations of Einstein's relativity theories. The text investigates the plausibility of both "forward" and "backward" time travel using current scientific knowledge.

Type: Text Resource

400,000-Year-Old Human DNA Adds New Tangle to our Origin Story :

This informational text describes how modern DNA extraction methods have shed light on two extinct human cousin species. Scientists are finding new ways to study fossil mitochondrial DNA which have led to rethinking how groups of early humans should be divided evolutionarily.

Type: Text Resource

Cells' Fiery Suicide in HIV Provides New Treatment Hope:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article explains how HIV-infected cells go through a self-destructive response called "pyroptosis," and how a drug might be able to prevent the infected cells' death.

Type: Text Resource

Scientists Now Uncertain About Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article reports on scientists' findings that refute an aspect of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. The article describes the principle and what the new results mean for its future.

Type: Text Resource

Live Cells Printed Using 'Rubber Stamp' Method:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses how new 3D printing methods can be used to print new living cells rapidly.

Type: Text Resource

Stars:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article traces the evolution of the star by mass. It discusses white dwarfs, novas, supernovas, neutron stars, and black holes.

Type: Text Resource

Berkeley Scientists Discover Inexpensive Metal Catalyst for Generating Hydrogen from Water:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article demonstrates the importance of hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels and announces the discovery of a new catalyst useful in splitting water molecules to obtain hydrogen gas. Current methods of obtaining hydrogen from natural gas, for example, release carbon and consume large amounts of energy. This new catalyst opens the possibility of making hydrogen production much less expensive and carbon neutral as compared to current technologies.

Type: Text Resource

Oslo-Experiment May Explain Massive Star Explosions:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Some new findings about atomic nuclei may help astrophysicists create more realistic simulations of supernovae thus allowing us to see how heavier elements are formed in stars.

Type: Text Resource

Scientists Discover Important Mechanism in Plant Cells Which Regulates Direction Plant Cells Grow:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes a discovery scientists have made regarding a mechanism that regulates the direction in which plants grow.

Type: Text Resource

What is the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch?:

The article explains the ocean garbage patches: what causes them, what consequences to marine life result from their presence, and what we can do about them. This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area.

Type: Text Resource

Snapshots Differentiate Molecules from Their Mirror Image:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes how scientists were able to reveal the spatial structure of left-handed and right-handed chiral molecules in gaseous solutions by using a combination of mass spectrometry and the Coulomb explosion.

Type: Text Resource

Faster than the Speed of Light:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article discusses how neutrinos seem to be arriving at their destination slightly faster than mathematically calculated and describes how the discovery of new scientific evidence must undergo scrutiny from many angles before being accepted.

Type: Text Resource

Volcano Power Plan Gets US Go-Ahead:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes a group of researchers/investors who are attempting to convert the energy in volcanically heated water to electricity using a new method of forming more fissures to hold the heated water.

Type: Text Resource

Human DNA Is Not A Document, It's An App:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses the relevance of the new findings regarding DNA coding and uses seven technological metaphors (i.e. Apps and Zappos) to compare DNA coding to contemporary physics.

Type: Text Resource

Salty Surprise: Ordinary Table Salt Turns into 'Forbidden' Forms:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. Scientists use normal table salt and expose it to extreme conditions to create new compounds that defy the classical rules of chemistry. These new compounds may help to produce better products with new applications and understand planetary cores.

Type: Text Resource

Remote Sheep Population Resists Genetic Drift:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes a mouflon population located on a remote island in the Indian Ocean. This population of sheep was transplanted to Haute Island over 50 years ago. Recent studies show that the population has maintained its genetic diversity. This finding challenges scientists' beliefs about the theories of genetic drift and shows the power of natural selection.

Type: Text Resource

The New Alchemy:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. This article from the American Chemical Society reviews the basics of radioactivity and transmutation as well as the history of discovering elements.

Type: Text Resource

What is Cancer? What Causes Cancer?:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. This article both identifies cancer and some of its causes; specifically, the fact that uncontrolled cell growth may result in a cancerous tumor.

Type: Text Resource

Oceans May Absorb More Carbon Dioxide:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article is about plankton and how they use nutrients like carbon dioxide based on where the plankton are living.

Type: Text Resource

Tutorials

Diagnosing Words: Effective Vocabulary Strategies:

Click "View Site" to open a full-screen version. This tutorial is designed to help secondary science teachers learn how to integrate literacy skills into their science curriculum. This tutorial will demonstrate a number of strategies teachers can impart to students to help them use context clues to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words within science texts. It will also help them teach students how to select the appropriate definition from reference materials. The focus on literacy across content areas is intended to help foster students' reading, writing, and thinking skills in multiple disciplines.

Type: Tutorial

Underwater Evidence:

Click "View Site" to open a full-screen version. This tutorial is designed to help secondary science teachers learn how to integrate literacy skills within their science curriculum. This tutorial focuses on using specific textual evidence to support students' responses as they analyze science texts. The focus on literacy across content areas is designed to help students independently build knowledge in different disciplines through reading and writing.

Type: Tutorial

Central Idea: Quenching Your Thirst for Literacy Skills:

Click "View Site" to open a full-screen version. This tutorial is designed to help secondary science teachers learn how to integrate literacy skills within their science curriculum. The focus on literacy across content areas is designed to help students independently build knowledge in different disciplines through reading and writing. This tutorial will demonstrate a series of steps that teachers can teach students to help them determine the central ideas of a science text. This tutorial will also explain what an effective summary contains and provide steps teachers can use to help students with paraphrasing.

Type: Tutorial

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Original Student Tutorial

Earliest Beginnings :

Learn how to identify and describe the leading scientific explanations of the origin of life on Earth.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this topic.