The Hive Mind by Avery Elizabeth Hurt

Grade 7 English Language Arts AIR Sample Items 12-2015 Exercise caution when coming into contact with bees. The Hive Mind by Avery Elizabeth Hurt 1...
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Grade 7 English Language Arts AIR Sample Items

12-2015

Exercise caution when coming into contact with bees.

The Hive Mind by Avery Elizabeth Hurt 1 Honeybees are the picture of hard work and cooperation. They pollinate1 plants, helping to ensure that humans will have enough food to eat. They also make honey, protect themselves from predators, and keep the interiors of their hives at just the right temperature. But even though they are pretty impressive as a group, individual bees don’t have much going on in the mental department—or so science has always thought. What would you expect from a single bee, anyway? It has a brain roughly the size of one of the sesame seeds on your hamburger bun. 2 It has only about one million neurons,2 compared to the 90 billion neurons of the human brain. It’s only by working together as a colony that bees manage to pull off the impressive feats they are so well known for. A colony of bees is like one big brain, and the bees are like brain cells, explains animal behaviorist and bee expert Thomas Seeley. “Even though each unit (bee or neuron) has limited information and limited intelligence, the group as a whole makes first-rate collective decisions,” Seeley writes in a description of his research. 3 It turns out, however, that the members of a beehive aren’t quite the dimwitted robots we’ve imagined for so long. Bees can do surprising things with their tiny brains. Individually, they have mental skills that may rival or outdo those of many mammals. What a Bee Knows 4 In the first half of the 20th century, Karl von Frisch, an Austrian scientist who studied animal behavior, forever changed our impression of honeybees by discovering the “waggle dance.” It’s a complex series of movements bees use to tell one another where to find food. This discovery made the human community sit up and take notice. The waggle dance may not qualify as a language, but it is a sophisticated form of communication. It was one of our first hints that bees do something very like what we call “thinking.” 5 Researchers have also shown that bees can appreciate art. Well, at least they can tell the difference between a Picasso and a Monet. When bees had to choose between a painting by Monet and one by Picasso to get a sugary treat researchers had hidden behind a hole in one of the paintings, the bees easily figured it out. They couldn’t have been doing this based on the colors in the paintings (bees are

Grade 7 English Language Arts AIR Sample Items

12-2015

good at seeing color, a talent that comes in handy when you work with flowers) because they solved the puzzle even when the paintings were in black and white. The researchers think the bees could tell the difference between the artists’ styles. 6 Bees can also count. Not only can they be taught to recognize the symbols representing numbers, but they seem to understand the numbers those symbols represent. In one experiment, for example, bees had to pass a certain number of markers in a tunnel to get a food reward. The bees could easily find the reward, even when the researchers moved the markers around or changed their shapes and colors. This meant that bees were actually counting the number of markers they passed, rather than simply memorizing the pattern of the markers. Bees only seem to be able to count up to four, though. 7 Even more remarkably, bees can combine several things they’ve learned in one situation and call on that knowledge in new situations. For example, after learning to recognize abstract signs to guide them through mazes, bees can learn that the signs mean something different in a different maze. 8 Honeybees have one impressive talent that gets them into a club that so far only includes a few mammals as members. To learn more about that, we have to take a closer look at their minds. How to Study a Bee Brain 9 It’s hard enough to study the minds of humans, who can actually tell you what they’re thinking. So how does one look into a bee’s brain? 10 Clint Perry, a scientist working at Queen Mary University of London, has spent a lot of time studying how bees think. He says studying bees is not very different from studying other animals. “A major difficulty is designing an experiment that will actually test what we want,” he says. “With humans, we can ask them a question and get an answer. But bees don’t know that we want to know what they are thinking. They are just trying to get sugar. Bees like sugar.” 11 This fact can be very helpful when designing experiments to study bees. For example, in one experiment, Perry gave bees a choice between landing on a spot above a black bar or a spot below it. If they landed above the bar, they would find a delicious sugary drink. If they chose the spot below the black bar, they found a nasty-tasting bitter liquid. (Perry made the test easier or harder by moving the landing spots farther from or closer to the black bar.)

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12 Most experiments with bees involve training them to go to a particular spot to find a reward. Many studies use artificial flowers with sugar water at their centers. In some experiments bees even learn to go through mazes. 13 So experiments with bees are not that different from experiments with our favorite lab mammal, the rat. Rats press bars to get food pellets; bees land on targets to get sugary drinks. And humans try to figure out what it all means. ... 14 Perry’s research suggests that bees have something called “metacognition.” Metacognition is the awareness of your own thought processes—in other words, knowing what you know and what you don’t know. Only a few other animals, including humans, dolphins, rats, and some monkeys, are thought to have at least some level of metacognition. 1-pollinate: to transfer pollen to the stigma of a plant to enable fertilization and reproduction 2-neurons: specialized cells sending nerve impulses; nerve cells Excerpt from “The Hive Mind” by Avery Elizabeth Hurt, from Muse. Copyright © 2015 by Carus Publishing Company. Reprinted by permission of Carus Publishing Company via Copyright Clearance Center.

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12-2015

Question 1 Read the sentence from paragraph 4. “The waggle dance may not qualify as a language, but it is a sophisticated form of communication.” Which word is a synonym for the word sophisticated? A.

advanced

B.

mysterious

C.

substitute

D.

unspoken

Question 2 Select (highlight) three phrases in paragraph 2 that help the reader understand the meaning of the word collective. 2

It has only about one million neurons, compared to the 90 billion neurons of the human brain. It’s only by working together as a colony that bees manage to pull off the impressive feats they are so well known for. A colony of bees is like one big brain, and the bees are like brain cells, explains animal behaviorist and bee expert Thomas Seeley. “Even though each unit (bee or neuron) has limited information and limited intelligence, the group as a whole makes first-rate collective decisions,” Seeley writes in a description of his research.

Question 3 How does the author distinguish her point of view from earlier beliefs about bees? A. by praising the mental skills of individual bees B. by indicating that further study of bees is needed C. by suggesting that bees tell each other where to find food D. by discounting the importance of colonies in the lives of bees

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Question 4 This question has two parts. First, answer Part A. Then, answer Part B. Part A: What are two central ideas in the passage? A. It is hard to determine how bees’ brains work. B. Bees work together to complete difficult tasks. C. Bees can communicate using a simple language. D. Bees have been shown to communicate with other species. E. Individual bees are more intelligent than previously thought. Part B: Select the two details that support the development of the central ideas in Part A. A. “They pollinate plants, helping to ensure that humans will have enough food to eat.” (paragraph 1) B. “It has a brain roughly the size of one of the sesame seeds on your hamburger bun.” (paragraph 1) C. “Bees only seem to be able to count up to four, though.” (paragraph 6) D. “Even more remarkably, bees can combine several things they’ve learned in one situation and call on that knowledge in new situations.” (paragraph 7) E. “It’s hard enough to study the minds of humans, who can actually tell you what they’re thinking.” (paragraph 9) Question 5 Based on information in the passage, how did Karl von Frisch contribute to a deeper understanding of the intelligence of bees? A.

He revealed that bees communicate with each other.

B.

He discovered that bees can solve simple math problems.

C.

He discovered that bees have difficulty locating sources of food.

D.

He revealed that bees work together more than previously thought.

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Question 6 This question has two parts. First, answer Part A. Then, answer Part B. Part A: Which conclusion about intelligence is supported by the passage? A. Only mammals with large brains have intelligence. B. Hard work and cooperation lead to increased intelligence. C. Metacognition is the most important factor in intelligence. D. The ability to solve problems is an indication of intelligence. Part B: Select two sentences from the passage that support the answer in Part A. A. “This meant that bees were actually counting the number of markers they passed, rather than simply memorizing the pattern of the markers.” (paragraph 6) B. “Even more remarkably, bees can combine several things they’ve learned in one situation and call on that knowledge in new situations.” (paragraph 7) C. “If they chose the spot below the black bar, they found a nasty-tasting bitter liquid.” (paragraph 11) D. “So experiments with bees are not that different from experiments with out favorite lab mammal, the rat.” (paragraph 13) E. “Only a few other animals, including humans, dolphins, rats, and some monkeys, are thought to have at least some level of metacognition.” (paragraph 14)

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Do Video Games Have a Major Effect on Players’ Physical Health? Source 1: Action-Packed Video Games a Sight for Sore Eyes by Lisa Stein 1 Could it be? Could playing video games . . . be good for something? Studies have linked nonstop video gaming to such ills as carpal tunnel syndrome1 and tennis elbow, not to mention the current obesity epidemic plaguing this nation’s young. 2 On the positive side, some research has shown that playing video games can improve eye-hand coordination and visual attention—the ability to search for a target in a jungle of objects, to monitor several items at once, and to keep track of a steady stream of objects zipping swiftly by. 3 And now comes more good news for video game aficionados.2 A new study . . . in the journal Psychological Science, shows that playing fast-paced, action-filled video games significantly sharpens vision . . . . 4 The reason? “Action video game play changes the way our brains process visual information,” says study author Daphne Bavelier, noting that after just 30 hours, video gamers showed “a substantial increase in the spatial resolution of their vision.” Translation: “They could see figures like those way down on an eye chart more clearly,” she says, “even when other symbols crowded in.” 5 Bavelier, an associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, says the findings are helping scientists design a way to aid people with amblyopic or “lazy” eye.3 . . . 6 “We think action video game playing trains the same part of the visual cortex (located in the back of the brain) as that which has a dysfunction4 in people with lazy eye,” Bavelier says. “This is showing us a new path forward for rehabilitation with these games . . . .” 7 She notes that researchers were surprised by the findings, because it was previously believed that the adult visual cortex could not easily be retrained or taught new things. And yet, the results indicate that is exactly what happened. . . .

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8 But lest you think that is an excuse to start playing video games all the time —forget it. “There’s more to life than vision,” Bavelier chuckles. Besides, she notes, obsessive play will not necessarily lead to benefits, even in people with lazy eye. “It needs to be done properly,” she says about integrating video games into a treatment plan. “Usually people only have one amblyopic eye. We need to train the bad eye to become better, and the two eyes need to work together.” 1carpal tunnel syndrome: an injury to a nerve in the wrist 2aficionados: people who really enjoy something 3“lazy” eye: reduced vision in one eye caused when the brain and eye do not work together properly 4dysfunction: the state of not working properly Excerpt from “Action-Packed Video Games a Sight for Sore Eyes” by Lisa Stein, from Scientific American. Copyright © 2007 by Scientific American, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Scientific American, Inc. via Copyright Clearance Center.

Source 2: Video Games and Physical Health by Joseph Green 9 There’s no doubt about it: young people love video games. A 2008 Pew Internet & American Life study reported that 97% of Americans ages 12 to 17 play video games. That’s a lot of people! But how might this gaming affect their physical health? 10 Some people play video games for too long. They hold their body in one position for hours. They perform the same movements over and over. This tension1 and repetition can strain body parts such as the neck, wrist, or elbow. The strain can cause pain. However, in many cases the pain doesn’t last. It goes away if people stop playing the games so much. 11 Video games have also been blamed for the rise in obesity. People may choose video games over physical activity. This problem can be avoided by making time for physical activity. Also, some video games can actually help people be more physically active. These games allow players to move their bodies to control the game. Some people say these games don’t have the same benefits as “real” physical activity. Others see them as a good way to encourage people to move more.

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12 Playing video games may lead to some health problems. But many of these problems occur when the games are played excessively. Moderate game playing doesn’t usually harm people’s physical health over the long term. 1tension: the condition of being stretched tight “Video Games and Physical Health” by Joseph Green. Written for educational purposes.

Source 3: Teens’ sleep cut short by high-tech toys by Vikki Ortiz Healy 13 A relaxing summer evening for 18-year-old Ross Nikides last week went like this: 14 He and five friends brought laptops to another friend’s house to play “World of War Craft” and other Internet games against each other. 15 Around 4:15 a.m., one of the guys craved a milkshake, so they piled into two cars and drove around Carol Stream, Ill., in search of an ice cream shop still open. 16 An hour later, they were back at the friend’s house, slurping down their drinks while checking Facebook and playing X-Box until they finally fell asleep— cellphones by their sides—around 6:15 a.m. 17 “It was a good bonding experience with friends,” said Nikides, who woke up 7 hours later and had enough energy to go for a run. 18 Nikides and other teens are averaging 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep a night, well below the 9 hours recommended in a newsletter . . . by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 19 Hanging out with friends and staying up late may not be different from what some teens did 30 years ago, but new research suggests technological distractions that teens have access to today cut into the quality of their much-needed rest. . . . 20 Yet despite years of warnings about the risks of insufficient sleep—including poor school performance, obesity and, as presented in June at an annual meeting of sleep researchers, links to depression—teens and their parents say adolescent exhaustion remains a fact of life.

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21 And the best they can do is to balance their teens’ need for sleep with their need to keep up with today’s technology. 22 “Teens don’t value sleep because there’s too many things going on to distract them,” Nikides said. . . . 23 One night last week, Ryan Cassidy, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate, began playing Xbox at 10:30 p.m., using two-minute breaks within the game to play another game on his cellphone. After two hours, he moved on to his laptop, on which he watched a TV program and checked his Facebook page during commercials. 24

Cassidy eventually decided to go to sleep at 2 a.m.

25 “I’ll wake up a little tired, and I know it’s because I stayed up late playing games or something, but to me, it’s almost worth it,” the Geneva, Ill., teen said. . . . 26 Teens need adequate deep and REM sleep to rebuild long-term memory for learning, focus attention for driving and maintain health and fight obesity, said Dr. Matthew Edlund, director of the Center for Circadian Medicine and author of “The Power of Rest.” 27 “From a public health standpoint, I look at this and I am scared stiff,” Edlund said. “They’re so connected to their machines that they’re treating themselves as though they don't need any rest.” 28 The shift has left parents struggling to set rules that will keep their teens rested in today’s age. 29 Stephanie Cassidy, Ryan’s 48-year-old mom, said summer rules are more lax, but over the school year she and her husband banned computer use—except for homework—on week nights. They also enforced a 10 p.m. bed time and put limits on Xbox and other game use at night. 30 “Sometimes I’d like to take all the electronics and throw it out the window,” Cassidy said. “They need their sleep . . . and until they learn and see the reality of it for themselves, they might not know how to do that.”

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Excerpt from “Teens’ sleep cut short by high-tech toys” by Vikki Ortiz Healy, from the Seattle Times. Copyright © 2010 by the Seattle Times Company. Reprinted by permission of the Seattle Times Company via Copyright Clearance Center.

Source 4: Heart group backs video games in obesity campaign by Joel Schectman 31 The American Heart Association and Nintendo Co. are teaming up to promote the popular Wii video game console, as the health advocacy group concedes1 that its campaign for traditional exercise isn’t working. 32 The surprising partnership, announced Monday, comes amid growing concern about obesity among kids who spend much of their time watching television and playing video games. . . . 33 “We can keep beating the drum on traditional exercise and make small changes to the obesity epidemic, or we can try something that is really provocative2 and new,” Clyde Yancy, the AHA’s president, said in an interview. 34 Numerous studies show a correlation3 between obesity and the amount of time children spend with television and video games. Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health, said the best solution is simply to cut the cord and encourage youths to spend less time in front of screens. 35 But the AHA said it is endorsing the Wii because it will encourage sedentary4 Americans to take the first step toward fitness. With 70 percent of Americans doing no regular physical activity at all, the AHA wants to find a way to reach out to people turned off by gyms and traditional sports. 36 The organization said its studies show that 40 percent of those who don’t exercise say that it’s not entertaining enough. The AHA says the Wii addresses the fun factor. 37 The Wii, which has sold more than 30 million consoles across the Americas, comes with a controller that encourages people to physically move as they play. Sports-style games such as baseball and boxing let players move their arms . . . . Nintendo also makes a foot pad accessory, the Wii Fit, that allows players to try dance steps or yoga.

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38 The heart icon5 covers the Wii console itself along with two of its more active games, Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort. . . . 39

Wii players say that the level of physical exertion6 varies greatly by player.

40 Maria Lambiris, an 18-year-old illustrations student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, said the game system recently helped her lose five pounds. 41 “You really get into it sometimes and you can use your whole body,” Lambiris said. . . . 42 But while many of the games may not offer the same level of physical activity as traditional sports, they may help get some people started on a healthier lifestyle. 43

“It is a first step for someone who is entirely sedentary,” Yancy said.

44 Yancy said that once that person becomes motivated, he or she can access a website Nintendo and the AHA are developing to help monitor exercise and diet plans. 1concedes: admits 2provocative: causing a strong reaction 3correlation: possible connection 4sedentary: inactive 5heart icon: symbol of the AHA endorsement 6exertion: effort Excerpt from “Heart group backs video games in obesity campaign” by Joel Schectman, from the Seattle Times. Copyright © 2010 by the Associated Press. Reprinted by permission of the Associated Press via Copyright Clearance Center.

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Question 7 Write an essay for your school newspaper arguing whether playing video games significantly affects physical health. Your essay must be based on the ideas, concepts, and information that can be determined through analysis of the “Do Video Games Have a Major Effect on Players’ Physical Health?” passage set. Manage your time carefully so that you can • read the passages; • plan your response; • write your response; and • revise and edit your response. Be sure to • include a claim; • address counterclaims; • use evidence from multiple sources; and • avoid overly relying on one source. Your response should be in the form of a multiparagraph essay. Write your response in the space provided.