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 6
Overarching UnitWeather & Water
What themes and big ideas were embedded in this unit?Weather and factors that affect it; air pressure; weather patterns; seasons; radiation, conduction, and heat transfer; density
When did the assignment occur in the unit?This assignment took place during week seven of a 10-week unit
What topics were studied in this unit?Students took part in eight different investigations prior to this assignment that addressed the following topics: definition of weather, understanding air, the seasons and the sun, heat transfer, convection, water in the air, the water cycle and its relationship to the Earth, and air pressure and wind.
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).

Why are there seasons?

Our city experiences drastic changes in temperature over the course of a year. In the winter, the average temperature in our city is around 36° F. In the summer, it increases to 82° F. Using the data tables below as well as the data that you have collected in class, write a paper explaining why there are seasons.

DateEarth's Distance from the Sun (km)
January 3147,000,000
July 4152,000,000
DateHours of Daylight in Our City
January 219 h 36 min
February 2110 h 51 min
March 2112 h 13 min
April 2113 h 40 min
May 2112 h 50 min
June 2115 h 17 min
July 2114 h 48 min
August 2113 h 37 min
September 2112 h 11 min
October 2110 h 47 min
November 219 h 34 min
December 219 h 5 min
DateAngle of the Sun in the Sky
January 2127.7°
February 2137.1°
March 2148.2°
April 2159.8°
May 2168.0°
June 2171.1°
July 2167.9°
August 2156.0°
September 2148.0°
October 2136.7°
November 2127.6°
December 2124.2°

Don’t forget to…

  • Plan your writing using an outline, web, or graphic organizer. As you write each draft of your assignment, it’s important to use what you know as a writer to communicate your ideas effectively
  • Provide a clear claim that answers the question
  • Include evidence – using data from class activities, experiments, and other resources
  • Include reasoning to show how your evidence supports your claim
  • Use vocabulary that you have learned in science class
  • Check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors