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Course: Lumos StepUp - PARCC Online Practice And Assessments - Grade 7 ELA

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Environmental Threats to the Great Barrier Reef

Because of the diversity, complexity, and uniqueness of the ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef was placed under the protection of the Australian federal parks system, was named a World Heritage Site in 1981 and has been called one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Still, life in the Reef is at risk.

Coral Bleaching

One of the greatest threats to the Great Barrier Reef is climate change, also known as global warming. Three times over the last ten years, the water in the seas surrounding the Great Barrier Reef has risen 1 or more degrees Celsius. While this may not seem that significant, any temperature increase threatens the coral reefs. When the water becomes warmer , coral become stressed. This stress causes them to force Zooxanthellae, an algae living in coral shells essential to the sustenance of the coral polyp, out of their shells. Without this algae, the coral is unable to use photosynthesis to form its color which is why the phenomenon is known as “coral bleaching”. Once the algae are absent, the coral’s white skeleton shows and the coral begins dying, stops reproducing and becomes vulnerable to disease. The Great Barrier Reef experienced episodes of coral bleaching in 1998, 2002 and 2006. Scientists estimate that the 2002 temperature increase caused 60 to 95% of the Reef’s coral to become bleached. Because water temperatures are likely to continue to rise, researchers predict that episodes of coral bleaching will continue to occur. Therefore, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has formed a response plan aimed at detecting and responding to future occurrences.

Crown of Thorns Starfish

Another natural threat to the Great Barrier Reef is the Crown of Thorns Starfish. This creature which is a naturally occurring species feeds on coral. While a small number of starfish pose no major threat to the vast collection of coral reefs, when they rapidly multiply, they place the Reef at risk. Eradicating these creatures (by forcing them to migrate out of the area) takes anywhere between 1 and 15 years.

Over the last 40 years, there have been three major outbreaks of Crown of Thorn Starfish. During those periods large portions of the coral reefs were damaged. These outbreaks combined with episodes of coral bleaching have had dramatic impacts on the coral forming the foundation of the Great Barrier Reef as well as threatening marine and bird species living in the Reef

Human Impact

Not all of the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef has come from natural sources. Human actions have also negatively impacted the area. Water pollution has threatened life in the Reef. A series of rivers feed the sea where the Reef is located. These rivers have flooded farm lands upstream siphoning large amounts of pesticides used on cattle and sugar cane farms surrounding the rivers. These waters then empty into the seas polluting the waters that the ecosystem.

In addition, land development poses risks to the Great Barrier Reef. Because of its beauty and diversity, the area attracts a huge number of visitors. Though the Reef is protected by the Australian Parks Authority, the tourism industry has built up commercial areas on the lands surrounding the area. This coastal development threatens the delicate ecosystem adjacent to it.

Beyond this, boats have damaged the Reef. Fishing boats have stripped the area of a number of key species of fish including the Giant Triton. While fishing of certain types of fish has been limited, the boats legitimately fishing in the area pose a potential threat to the entire collection of life located in the Great Barrier Reef. Because the boats carry large amounts of oil necessary for their operation, they always hold the possibility of creating a hazardous situation by spilling the oil into the area’s waters.

Based on the selection, which of the following is having the least negative effect on the Great Barrier Reef?

A

a species of starfish

B

climate change

C

human beings

D

clown fish

Standard: RI.7.1

Domain: Reading: Informational Text

Theme: Key Ideas and Details

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

Gas Refrigerator for Ice Cream Truck

Popular Mechanics, November 1929

Ice cream and milk delivery trucks are being equipped with gas-burning refrigerating apparatus as a substitute for salt and ice. The plan is more effective and cleaner, and is also said to be cheaper, particularly because the maintenance and service costs are greatly reduced. Successful operation of these refrigeration plants promises more extensive shipment of perishable goods by truck, owners point out.

What is the most effective paraphrase of the last sentence?

A

The owners of this refrigerated truck claim they will lead to better and farther shipping of goods that spoil easily.

B

The owners of this truck want readers to believe refrigeration will help everyone have fresh food.

C

If the trucks are successful, the owners will be happy.

D

The owners of the refrigerated truck invented the gas-burning refrigerator.

Standard: W.7.8

Domain: Writing

Theme: Research to Build and Present Knowledge

Description: 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.

Addition

When I was in junior high school, my parents decided to build a new addition onto the back of our house. My sister and I were beyond excited because we thought this would give us a huge game room where we could hang out with all of our friends. Of course, we never expected the new addition to cause so many problems.

First, my parents could not agree on the size of the addition. My Dad wanted it to be a small room with just enough space for a home office; on the other hand, my Mom wanted the addition to large enough to include space for a music and entertainment area. After many discussions back and forth, it was decided that the addition would be a combination of both their wishes. Consequently, the room consisted of a large seating area in the center of the room that faced a television and entertainment center. To the left of the couch and recliners was Dad’s computer desk and home office; Mom’s grand piano sat to the right.

For the remainder of my time in school, the addition was never empty. Between my sister’s and my friends, Mom’s music, and Dad’s work, we always had something going on in that room. We were so grateful to have the extra space.

Which sentence describes the effect of the parent's argument over how to use the room?

A

First, my parents could not agree on the size of the addition.

B

My Dad wanted it to be a small room with just enough space for a home office; on the other hand, my Mom wanted the addition to large enough to include space for a music and entertainment area.

C

After many discussions back and forth, it was decided that the addition would be a combination of both their wishes.

D

Consequently, the room consisted of a large seating area in the center of the room that faced a television and entertainment center.

Standard: RL.7.3

Domain: Reading: Literature

Theme: Key Ideas and Details

Description: Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).

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