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Common Core Standards: ELA - Literacy

Grade 9-10

Writing WHST.9-10.9

Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Set the Stage

Text evidence time! This standard asks students to use details from the text in order to answer a question, bolster an argument, or support an inference. English teachers love this one, so hopefully your students will already be pretty good at it. Your job will be to show them how their mad text evidence skills translate to your subject area. Any time students are asked to answer a question, give an interpretation, make a prediction, make an inference, or state a claim, they should be able to point to relevant text evidence that supports their thinking. Make them prove it to you!

Example

Dress Rehearsal

Your history teacher has asked you to read about the Great Depression which began in 1929 with the crash of the stock market, as if you’re not depressed enough. Your assignment is to make a list of events that caused the nation’s greatest economic disaster in history. Once noted, decide whether these events are interrelated or how they contributed to the Great Depression. 

Reading the section, “The Nation’s Sick Economy,” you record major ideas and important details that better describe those main points. Then, you step back and ask yourself what it all means; that is, you analyze the information and draw conclusions.

In your research of the text, you find several main ideas, many related to each other. You note that due to the end of World War I, demand for certain industries declined, such as mining, lumbering, railroad, and steel. A major upheaval in the farming industry also occurred, and the demand for food shipped overseas dropped. 

Farmers, having extended their credit for land and crop resources to meet earlier demands, could not pay back their enormous loans. Prices dropped and many lost their farms. This, in turn, hurt the banking industry that had extended those loans.

As wages began to decline, American spending power lessened, income distribution became markedly uneven, jobs became scarce, and the credit industry blossomed. Many Americans who had invested in stocks during rosier times began to sell them off. Values declined, and stocks plummeted. Businesses closed causing a further drop in employment rates while more and more banks failed, impacting economies worldwide.

In the case of the events preceding the Great Depression, you conclude that the following factors were the main causes: the decline of demand for American goods overseas after World War I; the failure of the agricultural industry; easy access to credit; and unequal distribution of income between the rich and the poor. 

The ending of the war seemed to have set off a chain of events that, when combined, contributed to the great fall of the American economy like a house of cards. You use this line of reasoning to create a written report or answer questions presented by your teacher.

Source:

Danzer, Gerald, et al. The Americans. Illinois: McDougall Littell, 2005.

That’s a Wrap

In this standard, your students have learned to use text evidence to answer questions and support their claims. Through analysis of the information from the text, they can better draw conclusions about the subject matter being addressed. Even better, if you can make your students masters of text evidence, they should be able to answer any text-based question and prove that their thinking is correct. Nothing depressing about that!

Drill

Working with Quotations
Use direct evidence from the following passage in order to answer each question or support each statement below.

The Benefits of Stress… in Plants

Chronic stress in humans has been implicated in heart disease, weight gain, and diabetes, among a host of other health problems. Extreme environments, a source of chronic stress, present a challenge even for the hardiest organisms, and plants are no exception. Yet, some species manage to survive, and even thrive, in stressful conditions. 

A recent article by Dr. Yuri Springer in the November issue of the American Journal of Botany finds that certain wild flax plants growing in poor soils have succeeded in balancing the stress in their lives—these plants are less likely to experience infection from a fungal pathogen. Walking the fine line between the costs associated with surviving under stressful conditions and the benefits that may be derived from growing in an environment with fewer interactions with antagonistic species is a tricky balancing act. 

For plants, serpentine soils are one example of an extreme environment. Serpentine soils are those that provide a stressful medium for plant growth due to features of the soil, such as a rocky texture, low water-holding capacity, high levels of toxic metals, and/or low levels of necessary nutrients.
Springer assessed the prevalence of fungal infections in species of the wild flax genus. Wild flax provides a model system to study serpentine tolerance; the species exhibits a range of tolerance to soil with low levels of calcium, a necessary nutrient for plant survival. He examined the correlation between disease symptoms and tolerance to serpentine soils in the context of evolutionary relationships among the species. 

Springer found that wild flax populations growing in serpentine soils displayed a reduction in fungal infection. These results support the hypothesis that stressful environments may be attractive to plants because they provide a refuge from pathogens; however, the plants need to be able to survive in these extreme ecosystems. In wild flax, the fungal pathogen may have difficulty infecting plants that have low levels of calcium in their tissues due to low levels in the soil. Alternatively, the plants growing in a low nutrient soil may allocate much of their resources to defense against pathogens and herbivores due to the high costs of replacing tissue. 

Based on the putative evolutionary history of the wild flaxes, tolerance to serpentine soils has evolved rapidly and repeatedly in the genus or was present in the ancestors of these wild flaxes and lost in several lineages. This is the first study to attempt to quantitatively explain how plants have evolved a specialization to serpentine soils and ultimately may help to explain floristic diversity in these unique environments. 

Source :
“The Benefits of Stress… in Plants.” American Journal of Botany. Biology Online, 17 March 2010. Web. 1 June 2012. http://www.biology-online.org/articles/benefits-stress-plants.html.

Statements:

1. Name and describe a soil that proves stressful for plants.
2. Find evidence from the text that supports the hypothesis that stressful environments may be attractive to plants because they provide a refuge from pathogens.
3. Why is wild flax a model system to study serpentine tolerance?
4. Name two suspected reasons for the viability of wild flax growing in serpentine soils.

Answers/Explanations:

1. “Serpentine soils are those that provide a stressful medium for plant growth due to features of the soil, such as a rocky texture, low water-holding capacity, high levels of toxic metals, and/or low levels of necessary nutrients.”
2. “Springer found that wild flax populations growing in serpentine soils displayed a reduction in fungal infection.”
3. “The species exhibits a range of tolerance to soil with low levels of calcium, a necessary nutrient for plant survival.”
4. “Tolerance to serpentine soils has evolved rapidly and repeatedly in the genus or was present in the ancestors of these wild flaxes and lost in several lineages.”

Aligned Resources