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Whisker Research
Objective:
The objective of this experiment is to see how a cat uses its
whiskers.
Cat whiskers serve a very important purpose. The long
hairs on their cheeks (also called vibrissae) grow to a
length that is just right to help a cat understand whether or
not he can fit through a space. When the cat's whiskers
touch an object, this sends signals to the cat's brain. The
cat then knows exactly where that object is. It also lets the
cat know exactly how big it is. This special ability lets the
cat know which spaces it can fit through and which it
cannot.

Materials:
boxes
books
your cat
cat treats
notebook

Procedure:
Procedure 1: Use the boxes and books to set up a maze for your cat to walk through.
Procedure 2: Bring your cat into the room and put it in the maze. If your cat does not move, try using
the treats.
Procedure 3: Record what you see.
Procedure 4: Reward your cat by talking to it and petting it softly.

Research Questions:
Did your cat move through the maze? Did it try?
Did your cat walk tall through the hallway?

Did your cat hunch down and crawl through narrow spaces?

1) As used in the beginning of the passage, which word group does objective belong to?
A. goal, mission, purpose
B. experiment, science, test
C. pen, pencil, book
D. cat, dog, mouse

2) According to the passage, vibrissae are


A. cats
B. boxes
C. treats
D. whiskers

3) To conduct this experiment, we need


I. bags
II. boxes
III. books
A. I only
B. I and II only
C. II and III only
D. I, II and III

4) The pencil and notebook are most likely used during


A. Procedure 1
B. Procedure 2
C. Procedure 3
D. Procedure 4

5) This passage mostly teaches the reader


A. how to make a maze
B. what treats are for
C. how to reward a cat
D. what whiskers are for

6) Using your own words, explain the purpose of a cats whiskers.

Answers and Explanations


1) A
Core Standard: Craft and Structure
objective (noun): something that one's efforts or actions are intended to attain or accomplish; a goal
or purpose.

At the beginning of the passage, the author writes, The objective of this experiment is to see how a
cat uses its whiskers. We can use context clueshints from known words or phrases around the
unknown word or phraseto help us figure out what objective most nearly means. Since the author
writes this at the beginning of the passage, and we know the beginning of an experiment often
explains the goal or purpose, we can tell that objective must mean something like goal or purpose.
Also, the author writes that the objective is to see how a cat uses its whiskers. The word how let
us know that this is a question. Thus, finding the answer to this question must be the goal or purpose
of the experiment. Goal, mission, and purpose all mean goal or purpose, so we can tell that objective
belongs to the word group containing these words. Therefore (A) is correct.

Using the above information, we can tell that objective means something like goal or purpose.
Experiment, science, and test are typically aspects of the specific field known as science. This
means that they are too specific to mean something like goal or purpose. This lets us know that
objective does not belong to the word group containing experiment, science, and test, and (B) is
incorrect.

Using the above information, we can tell that objective means something like goal or purpose. Pen,
pencil, and book are all things we need to record information, but they do not necessarily have to do
with a goal or purpose. This lets us know that objective does not belong to the word group containing
these words. Therefore (C) is incorrect.

Using the above information, we can tell that objective means something like goal or purpose. Cat,
dog, and mouse are all animals. Animals are not the same thing as a goal or purpose, so we can tell
that objective does not belong to the word group containing cat, dog, and mouse. Therefore (D) is
incorrect. ?

2) D
Core Standard: Key Ideas and Details
In the background section, the author writes, Cat whiskers serve a very important purpose. The long
hairs on their cheeks (also called vibrissae) Since we know that the long hairs on cat cheeks are
called whiskers, and the long hairs are also called vibrissae, we can tell that whiskers must be called
vibrissae. This lets us know that vibrissae are whiskers, and (D) is correct.

The passage does not provide information to support choices (A), (B), or (C). Therefore they are
incorrect.

3) C
Core Standard: Key Ideas and Details
In the Materials section, the author lists the items that we need to conduct this experiment. Bags
are not on this list, so we can eliminate option (I).

In the Materials section, the author lists the items that we need to conduct this experiment. Boxes
are on this list, which supports option (II).

In the Materials section, the author lists the items that we need to conduct this experiment. Books
are on this list, which supports option (III).

Therefore (C) is correct.

4) C
Core Standard: Integration of Knowledge
In the Experimental Procedure section, the author writes: Procedure 3: Record what you see. We
know that a pencil is used for writing, and paper is necessary for writing on. Notebooks contain lots
of paper. In order to record something, we know that we must write it down. Using this information,
we can tell that a pencil and a notebook would help with recording what we see. This lets us know
that the pencil and the notebook are most likely used during Procedure 3. Therefore (C) is correct.

The author writes, Procedure 1:Use the boxes and books to set up a maze for your cat to walk
through. We could complete this procedure without the use of a pencil and a notebook, so we can
tell that these items are not used during Procedure 1. This means (A) is incorrect.

The author writes, Procedure 2: Bring your cat into the room and put it in the maze. If your cat does
not move, try using the treats. We could complete this procedure without the use of a pencil and a
notebook, so we can tell that these items are not used during Procedure 2. Therefore (B) is
incorrect.

The author writes, Procedure 4: Reward your cat by talking to it and petting it softly. We could
complete this procedure without the use of a pencil and a notebook, so we can tell that these items
are not used during Procedure 4. Therefore (D) is incorrect.

5) D
Core Standard: Key Ideas and Details
Under the Objective section, the author writes, The objective of this experiment is to see how a cat
uses its whiskers. This lets us know that how a cat uses its whiskers is the focus of the experiment.
Also, the first sentence of the Background section reads, Cat whiskers serve a very important
purpose. This supports the idea that this experiment will be about the purpose of cat whiskers. In
the procedure, we learn the steps necessary to construct a maze and record how a cat uses its

whiskers to move through the maze. Using this information, we can tell that this passage mostly
teaches the reader what whiskers are for. Therefore (D) is correct.

Using the above information, we can tell that this passage is focused mostly on how a cat uses its
whiskers to move. While building a maze for the cat is a part of Procedure 1, we can tell that this is
only a part of the experiment, and not what the passage mostly teaches us. This is because building
a maze is not mentioned in the objective section of the experiment, and we are never told exactly
how to make a maze. This lets us know that this passage does not mostly teach the reader how to
make a maze, so (A) is incorrect.

In the Experimental Procedure section, the author writes, If your cat does not move, try using the
treats. Cat treats are also mentioned in the Materials section. But because the cat treats are just
used as a motivator for the experiment, we can tell that the passage does not mostly teach the
reader what to feed a cat. Therefore (B) is incorrect.

At the end of the Experimental Procedure section, the author writes, Procedure 4: Reward your
cat by talking to it and petting it softly. This lets us know how to reward a cat. Despite this,
Procedure 4 is only one part of the experiment, so we could not say that this passage mostly
teaches the reader how to reward a cat. This means (C) is incorrect.