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Main Idea - Informational (Grade 5)

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Main Idea - Informational

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.
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.
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
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
A trip to the North Island in New Zealand is full of exotic places to see. This island is home to volcanoes and beaches. It has thousands of species living in its waters. It is home to the rich culture of the Maori. One of the island's most incredible sights, however, is found deep under the ground.

Deep in New Zealand's Waitomo Caves is a special place known as the Glowworm Grotto
Cavern. It is not easy to reach. Visitors can only get there in boats, but the journey alone is worth the trip. To get to the grotto, tourists float through a series of caves designed to delight. The beautiful and fragile growths rising up from the floor of the caves are equal only to those growing down from the ceilings.

As amazing as these caves are, the grotto is unlike anything else found on earth. It is pitch black except for the dense layer of stars glittering above visitors' heads. How are underground stars possible? They aren't. Instead, each spark in the darkness is a tiny fly found only in New Zealand. Thanks to a mix of chemical reactions, these flies glow in the dark in order to attract their food. The hungrier the flies are, the brighter they glow!
What is the main idea of this passage?
  1. Amazing sites can be found inside cave systems.
  2. The North Island is home to many different species.
  3. The underground grotto in New Zealand is full of glowing flies.
  4. Chemical reactions can help creatures glow in the dark as part of their survival.
What is the most likely reason only a limited number of people see the glowworm grotto?
  1. It is too difficult to get to.
  2. Few people live in New Zealand.
  3. Tourists rarely venture into caverns.
  4. It is far too dangerous for people to visit.
Which detail would fit best in the second paragraph of the passage?
  1. What the Maori culture is like
  2. The technical names of the cave growths
  3. How long the glowworm's life cycle typically is
  4. The sizes and materials used to make the boat caves

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