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## Science Reading Skills - Practice #3

Instructions: An important part of science is doing research. Before scientists begin to design and conduct experiments, they research background information on the topic. Knowing how to identify and analyze key information from articles is a skill all scientists must develop. Practice your scientific reading skills by answering the following questions.

1.
Which of the following is a fact?
1. Wild cats are the most beautiful animals in the world.
2. A cheetah is the world's fastest animal.
3. A jaguar is sneaky.
4. The lion is truly the king of the beasts.
2.
What is the main idea of the following paragraph?

There are several events that can change the Earth's surface very quickly. Volcanoes can erupt and spread lava, rock, and ash for several miles. Earthquakes can leave large cracks in the Earth's surface.
1. Several events can change the Earth's surface.
2. Earthquakes can cause large cracks.
3. Volcanoes can be dangerous.
3.
The Babylonians were the first to set the measurement of a full circle at 360 degrees. They reasoned that the most important circle is the revolution of the earth around the sun, a period of time which we call a year. They knew that a year was approximately 365 days. However, the number 360 is much more convenient for mathematical computation, since it is divisible by many factors-- among them, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12.

What is the topic sentence in the paragraph above?
1. They knew that a year was approximately 365 days.
2. They reasoned that the most important circle is the revolution of the earth around the sun, a period of time which we call a year.
3. The Babylonians were the first to set the measurement of a full circle at 360 degrees.
4. However, the number 360 is much more convenient for mathematical computation, since it is divisible by many factors-- among them, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12.
4.
October 4, 1957 was a big day for scientists. It was the day the Russians launched Sputnik I into space. Sputnik I went into orbit and circled the earth. It was the first time that a man-made object had ever orbited the earth. It was a day for Russian scientists to celebrate. It challenged American astronauts to come up with the next big event.

The main idea in this passage is:
1. Why did it present a challenge to American scientists?
2. Where was Sputnik I launched?
3. What was the first man-made object in space?
4. Why was October 4, 1957 an important day?
5.
What in the world is aerodynamics? It has something to do with air. The root word dynamic means it has something to do with action or motion. That's it! Aerodynamics is the study of air in motion. For instance, it is about what air does when it hits an airplane wing. The Wright brothers knew about aerodynamics. That's how they did what they did.

The main idea in this passage is:
1. an argument against flight
2. a story about an airplane
3. a definition of aerodynamics
4. a biography of the Wright brothers
6.
Mars, a reddish orange planet often seen in the night sky, has long been of interest to humans. Many years ago, scientists used telescopes to chart the movements of Mars. Modern scientists can do more than just look at Mars through a telescope.

Based on the passage, how has modern science helped those with an interest in Mars?
1. They can only use telescopes to see the planet.
2. They can obtain new, in-depth information about the planet.
3. They can fly to visit the planet on their own.
4. They can learn about other planets as well.
7.
Due to their incredible force and unpredictability, floods can cause tremendous damage. They can ruin houses, roads and buildings. Floods can take down trees and cause mudslides. Floods often leaves mud, sand and debris behind. It can take months to clean up after a flood.

Based on what you have read, you can INFER or CONCLUDE that:
1. Cleaning up after a flood can be expensive and take time.
2. Floods only occur along the coast.
3. Floods are not that dangerous.
4. After flood waters dry up, the problem is over.
8.
There's no doubt about it. Fire is dangerous! That's why you learn about fire safety when you're very young. You know, for example, that you should always give matches to an adult. But if you think about it, fire can also be useful. At home, your parents may barbeque delicious meals on the grill. A fire in the fireplace can keep you warm and cozy on wintry days.

In nature, fires in forests and grasslands can be useful, too. In fact, some fires are actually needed to keep the land healthy. Fires in nature don't always burn with huge flames and great heat. Such smaller fires clean out leaves and dried grass that have built up over a few years. They help recycle dead plants, releasing nutrients into the soil. The nutrients help new grass and other plants to grow. Many animals like to eat the tender, nutritious plants that return after a fire.

In addition, some plants actually need a fire. Certain pine cones won't open and drop their seeds without the heat of a fire. Fires can kill insects that harm trees. Even burned, dead trees are places where birds can nest or sit and watch for prey.

To help keep the land healthy, trained fire specialists sometimes set fires. Conditions
need to be just right, so that the fires do not get out of control. Fires started in the wrong conditions, without planning, or through carelessness can spread quickly and do a lot of damage. That's why if you live hear wild lands or visit them, it's important to be very careful with fire and to follow fire safety rules.
A.
What is the main idea of this passage?
1. Forest fires are responsible for great damage.
2. All plants rely on the nutrients found in the soil.
3. Forest fires can sometimes be quite beneficial.
4. Animals typically prefer the tender shoots of new plants.
B.
Which detail would fit best with the main idea in last paragraph?
1. Instructions on how to put out a campfire
2. The basic rules of overall fire safety
3. What conditions specialists have to consider
4. Details about the training fire experts must undergo
C.
What would make the best title for this passage?
1. An Ongoing Need for Fires Specialists
2. The Destruction of Heat and Flames
3. How to Keep Small Fires Under Control
4. The Usefulness of Planned Forest Fires
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