Grade 7: Researching to Deepen Understanding – Water


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Reading Informational Text

RI.7.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RI.7.2 Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

RI.7.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.

RI.7.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.

RI.7.7 Compare and contrast a text to an audio, video, or multimedia version of the text, analyzing each medium’s portrayal of the subject.

RI.7.9 Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts.

RI.7.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.


W.7.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

W.7.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

W.7.5 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, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.

W.7.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.

W.7.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

W.7.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Speaking and Listening

SL.7.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one- on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


This Grade 7 unit titled “Researching to Deepen Understanding – Waterfrom is part of the developing core proficiencies program of direct instruction in ELA/Literacy. The focus of the unit is for students to develop the skills and habits used in conducting independent research to deepen understanding by creating a tangible product; with the teacher’s help, students each choose an intended purpose and an anticipated result or product from the start of their research. They initiate inquiry on a topic through collaboratively generating questions to direct and frame research. They learn how to conduct searches, assess and annotate sources, and keep an organized record of their findings. Students then analyze key sources through close reading to deepen their understanding and draw personal conclusions about their area of investigation. As students analyze and evaluate their material with respect to their research frame, they refine and extend their inquiry as necessary in order to develop an evidence-based perspective. The culminating activity sequence focuses on students organizing their evidence and research-based claims into a communication plan or product that address their purposes for research.


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that the instructional time needed to complete this unit is not stated; teachers will need to complete their own pacing guide. The unit’s notes and preparation materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used effectively. Because of the rigor of the unit, additional scaffolding and support for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band may be necessary. Although there are several checklists provided with the materials, no formal CCSS aligned rubrics are included to measure individual student performance on the targeted standards; it is suggested that rubrics be developed. On page 6 of the Unit Plan, CCSS Reading Literature (RL) standards are listed although they are not included or targeted in the unit’s Parts 1 through 5, nor do the students read any literature in the unit. The standards listed above are correct.


The unit is an exemplary model of a research topic repository for ELA/Literacy instruction that includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time. It is structured to provide all of the materials required to lead students through the research process. The plan includes tools and checklists that are available as editable PDF documents. It includes assessment guidelines that provide excellent guidance for interpreting student performance. The Topic Resource Repository provides teachers with a set of sources that students can use to conduct supported research. This unit has been intentionally designed to support student research in a variety of curricular contexts; depending on their needs and goals, teachers can connect the instruction of this unit to texts and topics they are covering in their English classroom, as well as those that students are learning in other academic and technical disciplines.