Grade 6: Literary Nonfiction—“The Making of a Scientist” by Richard Feynman


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Reading for Information

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.6.8 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.


This grade 6 mini-assessment titled “THE MAKING OF A SCIENTIST by Richard Feynman” cited on is intended to inform instruction about a student’s ability to engage in the close reading of a complex text to demonstrate deep understanding.  There are six selected-response questions and one question where students find and highlight their evidence directly in the text.


Connecticut teachers are cautioned in the assessment materials that “although the vocabulary, syntax, and structure are complex, the conversational tone of the text helps add a level of accessibility. Given that no prior knowledge is needed, the text has been placed at the high end of grade 6. Advanced students should be ready for the text at any time during the year, while others may only be ready for the text at the end of grade 6 or even during grade 7.”  Educators should allow additional time as is necessary to accommodate students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade-level text band.


This mini-assessment is an exemplary example of how to design text-dependent questions aligned to specific Common Core Standards.  These high quality questions require students to analyze the text, determine its central idea, and draw evidence to support their analysis.  An annotated Teacher’s Guide gives a specific rationale for each answer option and lists the standards it addressed.  Information about determining text complexity (quantitative and qualitative data) is included.  (“The Making of a Scientist” Lexile=1160 and Flesch-Kinkaid=5.7)