LAFS.68.WHST.1.1

Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
  1. Introduce claim(s) about a topic or issue, acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
  2. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant, accurate data and evidence that demonstrate an understanding of the topic or text, using credible sources.
  3. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
  4. Establish and maintain a formal style.
  5. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
General Information
Subject Area: English Language Arts
Grade: 68
Strand: Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
Idea: Level 3: Strategic Thinking & Complex Reasoning
Date Adopted or Revised: 12/10
Date of Last Rating: 02/14
Status: State Board Approved

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Using Evidence to Support the Theory of Plate Tectonics:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text, a simulation and a video intended to support reading in the content area. The article addresses the use of computer models to predict that the Earth's tectonic plates will cease to move in the future. The evidence provided by these resources will be used to write an argument supporting the theory of plate tectonics. This lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorial

Yes or No to GMO?:

Learn what genetic engineering is and some of the applications of this technology. In this interactive tutorial, you’ll gain an understanding of some of the benefits and potential drawbacks of genetic engineering. Ultimately, you’ll be able to think critically about genetic engineering and write an argument describing your own perspective on its impacts.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Teaching Idea

The Revolutionary War: Historical Fiction Connection Using My Brother Sam is Dead:

This web resource from Discovery Education provides teaching ideas on using James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier's My Brother Sam is Dead to help students understand how they can learn about the past through historical novels. Students will investigate how some people take one side or another in a war or other conflict; some people find themselves caught in the middle.

Type: Teaching Idea

Text Resources

Earth's Tectonic Plates Won't Slide Forever:

This text is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes future possible outcomes for the tectonic plates and the movement of the Earth's crust. Using computer models, the article first discusses when crustal plate movement is thought to have begun. Then, it provides the reader with an account of some of the ways the Earth has changed due to the movement of plate tectonics. It then continues to use computer models to produce a simulation to show that these plate movements may stop millions of years from now.

Type: Text Resource

Climate Change Could Stall Atlantic Ocean Current:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes how climate change impacts ocean currents which, in turn, can affect the countries which lie along these currents. A description of a model is included to make a prediction of what will happen to the currents if climate change continues with increasing amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

Type: Text Resource

Cell Phone Ownership Hits 91% of Adults:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. A Pew Research Center survey indicates that cell phone ownership is at an all-time high, with 91% of Americans owning a cell phone in 2013. Statistical tests show that cell phone usage is significantly higher in men, college-educated people, the wealthy, and those living in urban/suburban areas. This rise in ownership is associated with a variety of positive impacts of cell phone use, but previous research shows there are several negative impressions and impacts of cell phones as well.

Type: Text Resource

Defying Gravity: Eye-Opening Science Adventures On a Weightless Flight:

This article describes a weightless flight taken by student researchers investigating several questions all centering on zero gravity. NASA's Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program uses flights by the commercial Zero Gravity Corporation to perform weightless science.

Type: Text Resource

End of an Era:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes the history of NASA's space shuttle program as it comes to an end. It discusses the scientific advancements that have resulted from the program and the possible next steps in human space flight.

Type: Text Resource

Brazil Approves Use of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Combat Dengue Fever:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes a possible solution to the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like malaria and dengue fever. Scientists have genetically modified mosquitoes to disrupt their reproductive cycle. The article ends with the concerns of the scientific community about the breeding program, while at the same time showing how several countries are already having success with use of the GM organisms.

Type: Text Resource

When a Species Can't Stand the Heat:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses how global warming could leave New Zealand's tuatara (a reptile species) dangerously short on females. When the temperature rises as little as one degree, far more males than females are born. One island habitat is now 75% males, with fewer, frailer females. Without intervention, the tuatara could become extinct. The article offers some possible solutions, including having the colonies relocated to cooler islands.

Type: Text Resource

11-year-old Designs a Better Sandbag, Named 'America's Top Young Scientist':

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This NBC News science article describes the success of a young inventor's polymer and salt filled sandbags, designed for more efficient flood protection and deployment.

Type: Text Resource

Drinking Water: Bottled or from the Tap?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The National Geographic Kids article discusses the environmental problems caused by disposable water bottle use.

Type: Text Resource

Earthquakes, Megaquakes, and the Movies:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text explains how large earthquakes are naturally occurring events and compares them to the fictional "megaquakes" portrayed in movies. It also dispels a number of myths about earthquakes.

Type: Text Resource

Kepler A Search For Habitable Planets:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes NASA's "Kepler" mission, which uses a photometer telescope to examine our region of the Milky Way Galaxy for habitable planets similar to Earth.

Type: Text Resource

Titanic Sunk by "Supermoon" and Celestial Alignment?:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. This news article describes an astronomer's theory that a particularly strong series of tides contributed to an abundance of icebergs and may have resulted in the sinking of the Titanic. It is complete with the evidence behind the theory and a contrary opinion from another astronomer.

Type: Text Resource

House Cat Origin Traced to Middle Eastern Wildcat Ancestor:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The article discusses how a changing environment may have led to the domestication of cats.

Type: Text Resource

Evolved to Run:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text compares the bone and muscle structure of early Homo sapiens and Neandertals. It describes the ability to run long distances in one and not the other and explains how this difference may have evolved.

Type: Text Resource

Trees Trap Ants Into Sweet Servitude:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. This is a news article describing the partnership between acacia trees and the ants which live on them, as well as the manipulation of the ants into an addictive relationship by the tree.

Type: Text Resource

Changing Seas:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This text explains how carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is changing the oceans. The text describes ocean acidification and ocean warming. The text gives examples of ecosystems that are changing as a result.

Type: Text Resource

Soft Skills for Managers:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This text is about the importance of managers having soft skills in addition to the technical skills, and it explains ten important soft skills for managers to have. This article aligns with IIT Standard 08.06-Demonstrate an awareness of specific job requirements and career paths (e.g., requirements, characteristics needed) in business environments.

Type: Text Resource

Geek vs Geek: Do You Want to Live in a Connected Home?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This text is composed by two guys blogging back and forth about the pros and cons of the emerging technology related to cell phones and houses. Note: This article aligns with IIT Standard: 21.03--Compare and contrast emerging technologies and describe how they impact business in the global marketplace (e.g., wireless, wireless web, cell phones, portables/handhelds, smart appliances, home networks, peer-to-peer, etc.).

Type: Text Resource

Will My Plastic Bag Still Be Here in 2507?:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. In this text, scientists conduct experiments to determine the decomposition rate of plastic bags.

Type: Text Resource

Fish Fossil has Oldest Known Face, May Influence Evolution:

The news article describes the discovery of a placoderm (armored fish) fossil with a facial structure similar to modern vertebrates. It may represent the origin of facial structure for all modern vertebrates. This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area.

Type: Text Resource

Legged Sea Cow Fossil Found in Jamaica:

The news article describes a sea cow fossil find that completes the "set" in the evolutionary chain from land to aquatic mammal. The scientist who found the fossil also describes a possible reason why they became aquatic and how it refutes creationism while supporting evolutionary theory. This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area.

Type: Text Resource

Rainforest Rodents Risk Their Lives to Eat:

This informational text is intended to support reading in the content area. Researchers found that the hungrier an agouti is the more likely it is to take risks to find food; in turn, they determined that the more risks an agouti took the more likely it was to be killed by an ocelot.

Type: Text Resource

Was the Moon Once Part of Earth?:

This text supports reading in the content area. This article explores the theories behind the origin of the moon and how scientists' understanding of the moon's origin is evolving based on new research.

Type: Text Resource

Orb-weaving Spiders use Webs to Trap Pollen in Addition to Insects:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The text presents scientific evidence that spiders obtain their nutrition from both plants and animals. Traditionally spiders have been classified as carnivores. This new evidence indicates that they are omnivores.

Type: Text Resource

STEM Lessons - Model Eliciting Activity

All “Tired” Up:

In this lesson students will utilize mathematical computation skills involving percentages and critical thinking skills to select the best tire deals advertised.

Basketball Tournament:

Students at a local middle school are interested in attending a basketball tournament in Orlando. There is an entrance fee and hotel costs to consider. Students must calculate the total cost and the cost per student to attend the tournament. Each hotel has different qualities that could influence the students' choice of which hotel is best for their team.

Bottymals @ RobottoysTM:

In this Model Eliciting Activity (MEA), students will learn how to use very different pieces of information and data to select the best "Bottymals" for a company that wants to manufacture them and place them on the market. The MEA includes information about animal/insect anatomy (locomotion), manufacturing materials used in robotics, and physical science of the 6th grade level. Extensive information is provided to students, thus pre-requisites are minimal.

Bubble Burst Corporation's Chewing Gum Prototypes:

Students will calculate unit rate & circumference, compare & order decimals, convert metric units, and round decimals. Bubble Burst Corporation has developed some chewing gum prototypes and has requested the students to assist in the selection of which gum prototypes will be mass produced by using both quantitative and qualitative data to rank the prototypes for Bubble Burst Corporation.

Building Materials and Locations :

Students will apply their knowledge of hazardous weather to determine a system to rank where to build a new school and to select the type of building materials that should be used.

Champion Volleyball Team:

Students will help create a championship volleyball team by selecting 4 volleyball players to be added to open positions on the team. The students will use quantitative (ratios and decimals) and qualitative data to make their decisions.

Cool Special Effects:

In this MEA, students will apply the concepts of heat transfer, especially convection. Students will analyze factors such as temperature that affect the behavior of fluids as they form convection currents.

Cosmic Nose Cones:

Students will design specific nose cones for a water bottle rocket. They will test them to find out and rate which one is most effective in terms of accuracy, speed, distance, and cost effectiveness. This information will be used as criteria for a company that designs nose cones for orbitary missions.

For Students by Students:

Students are presented with the task of evaluating several types of fabric based on each of its characteristics. They need to analyze their current uniform needs and decide by choosing which type of fabric will best fit their uniform needs. Then they have to write a report explaining the procedure they used to analyze their choices, reasoning for their ranking and make the requested recommendations.

Frozen Treats Storage Dilemma:

In this MEA, students must work as a team to design a procedure to select the best storage cooler for their frozen treats. The main focus of the MEA is to apply scientific knowledge and describe that heat flows in predictable ways. Students will analyze data in order to arrive at a scientifically sound solution to the problem.

Headphones That Capture Teens Attention:

This is a interdisciplinary MEA lesson for science, writing, and math. This lesson ask students develop a criteria for selecting headphones and develop an equation that supports their choices.

I'll Fly Today:

Students will use the provided data to calculate distance and total cost. Students will consider this data and other provided criteria to assist a travel agent in determining which airline to choose for a client.

Lightyear Rockets:

Students are asked to evaluate and test several rocket fin designs to determine the most effective design. After launch, the students are asked to test an additional design and also design their own rocket fin. Additionally, students will record and graph their results.

Long Live Periphyton!:

In this Model Eliciting Activity (MEA), students will become familiar with the use of scientific names, Linnaeus' binomial nomenclature, and Classification of Living Things. At the same time students will be learning about periphyton in the Everglades, how it forms, its importance, and the factors that affect its development. They will engage in solving a problem situation in which they will have to select the best area to reinsert some fish species that depend on periphyton.

Mars Rovers:

Students will work in teams to create a procedure and explain their reasoning to rank different rover models to determine which one could be the best to use to on Mars as a part of Mars Exploration Project.

MEA NASA Salaries:

This is a NASA-themed, MEA (Model Eliciting Activity) lesson that challenges students to solve a real world open ended problem, while promoting collaboration through teamwork. This lesson asks each group of students to choose five positions and assign salaries to the positions with a given budget of $500,000. The students' original decision (and "twist") will be based on information from the client's letter(s) and data set(s). Groups are to write a detailed letter to the client of the procedure used.

Medium Needed:

In this MEA, groups of students will evaluate the media for growing plants hydroponically in order to help restore some native species of the Everglades. Students will learn about hydroponics as an alternative agricultural practice, the rock cycle, types of landforms in Florida, and will use different methods to analyze data and arrive to conclusions, as well as present them in a detailed description of procedures and conclusions, including justification and evidence for each decision.

NASAnt hire Space Company:

This is a NASA-themed, MEA (Model Eliciting Activity), STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) lesson designed to challenge students to solve a real world open ended problem. It also promotes collaboration through teamwork. This particular lesson asks students to assist a client in choosing the best three companies (rank in order) to be considered for hire to launch an orbiter into space. The students' original decision (and "twist") will be based on information from the client's letter(s) and data set(s).

Newscast Weather Report:

This activity engages the students in their own investigation on weather conditions for a newly formed storm and forecasting of its path including time elapsed and the possibility of landfall. It involves the knowledge of coordinate plane and its application in ocean navigation. It also involves unit rate, measurement conversion and scales.

Planning the perfect wedding:

Students will decide what is the best month to celebrate an outdoor wedding. The couple is looking for the perfect wedding day. What is the definition of a perfect day? It has to be a Saturday or Sunday with a 20% or less probability of rain and sunny but not too hot. Based on the information provided , students will find the month in which the probability of having a rainy day and the probability of having a super hot day (temperature higher than 75º F) are minimal.

Pokemontures App.:

In this Model Eliciting Activity (MEA), students will understand how global patterns affect the temperature of an area by studying the features of an application's virtual creatures called the "Pokemontures." These creatures have the ability to match the temperature of their environment. As students study the Pokemontures' features and calculate their approximate temperature, they will apply concepts linked to the patterns that affect temperature. Students will also review heat transfers and sea/land breezes with the use of this MEA.

Profit Plaza:

This lesson requires students to use mathematical data and logic/reasoning to place vendors into retail spaces in a shopping plaza. Students will first rank five vendor types on their profitability (based on average sales and average overhead/upkeep costs), then place the vendor types into the 11-13 retail spaces. They are also required to find the area of each space and calculate the total leasing charges. The plans for the plaza are given on a coordinate plane, so students will need to find the lengths of horizontal and vertical line segments (using the coordinates of the endpoints) to calculate the areas of the rectangular and composite spaces.

Pythons in the Everglades MEA:

In this MEA, students will investigate the introduction of a non-native, i.e. invasive, species to the Florida Everglades: the Burmese Python. Students will investigate the complex predator-prey relationship and learn why this could damage the ecosystem permanently. Students will analyze a set of data to determine which method of eradication would be best and most effective, considering factors such as cost, the amount of man-power necessary to implement it, the effect it would have on the python population, and its impact on other species.

Rate Your Local Produce Market:

The students will rank the local produce markets by using qualitative and quantitative data. The students will have to calculate unit rates and compare and order them.

Real Estate Rental Agency MEA:

Students will choose the best location for a family relocating and will consider all of the factors to make the best decision.

Reconstructing Reptile Relationships - A Mesozoic Muddle:

In this Model Eliciting Activity (MEA), students will attempt to identify, draw, and describe evolutionary relationships between a collection of reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic Era and that shared a common reptilian ancestor that lived earlier - in the Paleozoic Era.  The students will receive images of and facts about each of the reptiles, and will use those images and facts to prepare a cladogram – a tree-shaped diagram illustrating their hypotheses about those evolutionary relationships based on shared derived traits – and describe each of the branch points on the tree they construct.

Scout Robot: Mass, Density, Volume, Weight:

In this MEA, students must select which material to use in the development of an advanced military scout robot. Students must analyze data about each material’s individual properties that would make it a valid choice for military or police service. Students must complete calculations to determine material density as well as the overall mass and weight of the robot. This lesson focuses on the characteristic properties of density, unit conversion, and differentiating between mass and weight.

Search for Extraterrestrial Life:

Students rank locations that NASA should search within our solar system for life. Students begin by reading about the origins of life on Earth and locations within our solar system with the potential for life. After students create a ranked list, they must report their findings to NASA in the form of a letter that also includes the procedure used in ranking their choices. A second request is sent from NASA to include distance from Earth as a factor in the ranking of locations and students must return a letter with their revised rankings and the new procedure used.

Sinkholes Under Your Home:

In this MEA, students will determine the best location for building homes based on sinkhole data. Students will determine the best location for building new homes for a growing population, investigate sinkhole data, and determine the best location for the new homes.

Smith Valley Farms Horse Pedigrees:

The owner of newly opened Smith Valley Farms is looking to breed the next generation of top race horses. In this MEA, students will study race horse pedigrees as well as horse racing data to determine which is the best stallion to breed with a filly. Students will have to read a horse pedigree, calculate percentages based on a data table, and complete Punnett squares to determine genetic probability.

Summer Camp Fun:

In this problem, students will work in groups to rank summer camps. They must first calculate the discounted price of each camp by applying a discount percentage. Then they must calculate the number of weeks they can attend each camp based on the discounted price and predetermined budget. There are 5 students going to the camp. Students will be given a data set to help them develop a procedure for ranking the camps. In their teams, they will write a letter giving their procedures and explanation of the strategy they used. Students will practice adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing numbers to the thousands and will work with percentage discounts. Rubrics are included to help evaluate student work.

Thermal Energy Flow:

This MEA provides students with the opportunity to explore the basis of heat transfer. The formative assessment exposes students to a quick heat transfer demonstration. The reading passages and data sets further engage students in real life application of heat transfer and energy efficiency

Town Mosquito Eradication MEA:

Students will analyze a set of data to determine the best eradication technique for a town experiencing a mosquito infestation. Students will need to consider cost, impact on the environment, and effectiveness of the methods presented to them.

What's Your Change?:

Students will identify the best material to use for playground equipment by analyzing the physical changes that happens to each type.

Which van is the best buy?:

The students will have to decide which van is the "best buy" for a family. They will have to figure monthly payments and will also use critical thinking skills to decide which is the best van to purchase.

Original Student Tutorials Science - Grades K-8

Yes or No to GMO?:

Learn what genetic engineering is and some of the applications of this technology. In this interactive tutorial, you’ll gain an understanding of some of the benefits and potential drawbacks of genetic engineering. Ultimately, you’ll be able to think critically about genetic engineering and write an argument describing your own perspective on its impacts.

Student Resources

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

Original Student Tutorial

Yes or No to GMO?:

Learn what genetic engineering is and some of the applications of this technology. In this interactive tutorial, you’ll gain an understanding of some of the benefits and potential drawbacks of genetic engineering. Ultimately, you’ll be able to think critically about genetic engineering and write an argument describing your own perspective on its impacts.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Parent Resources

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