This printable is aligned with CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.5, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.5, and CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.7 Lexile - 1200L, 235 words

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Science Reading Chordates - Grade 10 (Grade 10)

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You are a member of the phylum Chordata. If you think about which organisms you are related to, even distantly, it is certain you can come up with some general common characteristics you all share. However, those traits that are distinguishing among the chordates are not necessarily visible in all members of the phylum. However, they all do express these traits at some point within their lives.

All chordates have the following traits:
1. notochord - this will become the spinal cord in many vertebrates.
2. dorsal hollow nerve cord - this becomes the nervous system.
3. pharyngeal slits - in some organisms these remain as gills, while in others they become part of the jaw structure.
4. post-anal tail - many organism retail the tail, but in some organisms it is greatly reduced.

The lancelet (below) is an organism that retains all four of these traits throughout its entire life

The chordates can be further broken down into non-vertebrate chordates and vertebrate chordates. Yes, there are some members of this phylum that display all four required traits, but are considered invertebrates. These include a group of marine filter-feeders called sea squirts.

The vertebrate chordates can be classified into five main groups. These are most likely the animals about one thinks when the subject comes up. The main groups of vertebrates are the amphibians (class Amphibia), fish (class Pisces), reptiles (class Reptilia), birds (class Aves), and mammals (class Mammalia).
Which choice best describes how the author organized this passage?
  1. description and definition
  2. compare and contrast
  3. problem and solution
  4. cause and effect
The author begins the passage by saying, "You are a member of the phylum Chordata." You can conclude that:
  1. the author wants the reader to pretend to be something different.
  2. all chordates walk on two legs.
  3. humans are chordates.
  4. chordates make up the majority of lifeforms on Earth.
The author includes the first diagram in the passage to:
  1. describe the appearance of a typical chordate.
  2. show an animal that has all the characteristics of a chordate in adulthood.
  3. help the reader visualize what a human fetus looks like.
  4. explain how chordates change over time.
Based on the information in the passage, which feature is NOT correctly matched with how it changes over time?
  1. post-anal tail - retained in many chordates
  2. dorsal hollow nerve cord - becomes an exterior fin
  3. notochord - becomes the spinal cord
  4. pharyngeal slits - sometimes remain as gills
If the author were to continue this passage, what information would best follow the final paragraph?
  1. a description of each group of vertebrate chordates
  2. a list of the names of specific chordates
  3. a paragraph about other phyla
  4. an explanation of the characteristics of mammals

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