Below you will find a sample assignment, given by a real teacher, in a real classroom. The assignment is presented free of comment to allow you to take it in as if you were a student seeing it for the first time. Once you’ve had a chance to review the assignment, use the interactive icon menu at the top of your screen to toggle comments on or off. Lastly, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to see additional comments based on the four domains of our Literacy Analysis Framework.


ContextGrade 7
Overarching UnitDiversity of Life
What themes and big ideas were embedded in this unit?Characteristics of life; cell as basic unit of life; cell parts and functions: plant structures and development; animal investigation
When did the assignment occur in the unit?This assignment took place at the end of this 10-week unit.
What topics were studied in this unit?Students took part in seven different investigations prior to this assignment that addressed the following topics: definition of life, an introduction to the microscope, microscopic life, cell structure and functions, seeds, transpiration and plant reproduction.
What other tasks and assignments did students complete during this unit?Within these investigations, students were expected to engage in scientific thinking by reading a wide range of texts, note-taking, researching, discussing, collecting and observing data, and designing their own experiments. Students kept interactive science notebooks throughout this 10-week unit that held their written notes, sketches, data, etc. They were encouraged to use their notebooks for this assignment.
What writing supports were students given for the CER prompts?Students were prompted to follow a claims, evidence, and reasoning structure. They were provided a range of graphic organizers to use (see Graphic Organizers below) but were also given permission to plan for their writing in their own way (e.g., through sketching, brainstorming ideas, or creating their own graphic organizer).

Standard: Explain, based on evidence, how characteristic animal behaviors as well as specialized plant structures increase the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants, respectively.


Ah’mani and Wydri walked past a flower garden on their way home. Ah’mani said, “Flowers are so stupid. Their only purpose is to look pretty and smell funny.”

Wydri stopped and said, “I think they are really important for plants to survive.”

What is the primary function (purpose) of flowers?

Remember to include:

  • Claim: Answer the question.
  • Evidence: Use data and observations from your flower dissection lab to support your claim.
  • Reasoning: Use information from readings or notes to explain why your evidence supports your claim.