Grade 6: Building Evidence-Based Arguments – Energy Crossroads


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Reading Informational Text

RI.6.1 Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI.6.2 Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

RI.6.3 Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).

RI.6.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.

RI.6.5 Analyze how a particular sentence, paragraph, chapter, or section fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the ideas.

RI.6.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text.

RI.6.7 Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

RI.6.8 Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

RI.6.9 Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).


W.6.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

W.6.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

W.6.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.6.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

W.6.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Speaking and Listening

SL.6.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


This Grade 6 unit titled “Making Evidence Based Arguments – Energy Crossroads” from is part of a developing core proficiencies program. This unit develops students’ abilities to analyze arguments from a range of perspectives on energy and hydraulic fracturing. Students learn to think about this complex societal issue, read and research to better understand the issue and various perspectives, form a position of their own, and develop an argument in support of that position. They then write their own evidence-based arguments. The unit culminates by engaging students in a comprehensive collaborative, question-based process with their peers to develop and strengthen their individual drafts of their argumentative essays through the revision of ideas, information, organization, as well as through the careful editing of conventions. Students submit their revised essays ready for publication.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that teacher notes and preparation materials will require familiarity to be used effectively, especially in regard to pacing of instruction. Due to the rigor required for student success, additional supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band may be required. If science or social studies teachers use this unit in their classrooms, they will need to change the standards listed above to the appropriate grade-level content band in the Grades 6-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical Subjects Standards. It is also suggested that science teachers add Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and that social studies teachers add standards from the Connecticut Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks. For direct links to these sources see below.

Grades 6-12 Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, & Technical Subjects Standards

Next Generation Science Standards

CT Elementary and Secondary Social Studies Frameworks


The design of this unit is exemplary. In addition to reading and writing, it incorporates many structured collaborative activities to develop key speaking and listening proficiencies. Files, including detailed daily lesson plans, are organized so that teachers can easily browse through the materials. Instruction in this unit links to a sequence of text sets. Each text set provides multiple entry points into the issue, giving teachers and students flexibility with respect to the time and depth with which they wish to explore the topic. The unit includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time; it gradually removes supports and requires students to demonstrate their independent capacities.  Varied modes of assessment provide guidance for interpreting student performance.