Grade 6: “The History of Earth Day” by Amanda Davis, “Earth Day” by Claudia Atticot and Alexandra Manning, and a video from NBC News


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

W.6.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.

W.6.9 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.

Speaking and Listening

SL.6.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.

SL.6.3 Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.


L.6.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.6.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.6.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.


This grade 6 mini-assessment titled “’The History of Earth Day’ by Amanda Davis, ‘Earth Day’ compiled by Claudia Atticot and Alexandra Manning, and a video from NBC News” is cited on It is intended to inform instruction about a student’s ability to engage in the close reading of complex text in order to demonstrate deep understanding. In this mini- assessment students read two passages about Earth Day and watch a video on the topic. There are twelve selected-response questions that address the Reading Standards listed above. There is also an optional constructed-response item, which is aligned to the Reading, Writing, and Language Standards. The writing prompt requires students to write an argumentative essay based on information in both texts and the video that defends a position whether Gaylord Nelson’s original concerns have been addressed.


This mini-assessment is designed to be completed in one class period; however, educators are encouraged to allow students additional time as necessary to read closely, watch the video carefully, answer the questions, and write to the source. It is strongly recommended that the writing prompt not be optional.


This mini-assessment is an exemplary example of how to design text-dependent questions aligned to specific Common Core Standards that are based on two complex texts and a video. It could be used as a formative assessment at the start of a school year and/or to assess the growth in students’ abilities to engage in the close reading of complex text and to also interpret information presented in diverse media and formats. An annotated Teacher’s Guide for the assessment gives specific rationale for each answer option and lists which standards it addresses. There is an aligned rubric for the writing prompt as well as annotated assessment guidelines. Information about determining text complexity (quantitative and qualitative data) is included with assessment materials.