ALEX Classroom Resource


Why Do Cave Fish Lose Their Eyes?

  Classroom Resource Information  


Why Do Cave Fish Lose Their Eyes?


Content Source:

Type: Learning Activity


The teacher will present an informational text from the website, ReadWorks. The students and teacher can interact with this non-fiction text by annotating the text digitally. The students will answer the questions associated with the article as an assessment. This learning activity will describe how genetic mutations in organisms can lead to beneficial effects in the structure of the organism. This learning activity includes a StepRead: StepReads are less complex versions of the original article. StepRead1 (SR1) is less complex than the original article, and StepRead2 (SR2) is less complex than SR1. This will allow the teacher to use this learning activity with students of varying ability levels.

Content Standard(s):
English Language Arts
ELA2015 (2015)
Grade: 7
10 ) Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. [RI.7.1]

Alabama Alternate Achievement Standards
AAS Standard:
ELA.AAS.7.10- Answer who, what, when, where, and why questions of informational text, using textual evidence as support.

SC2015 (2015)
Grade: 7
Life Science
13 ) Construct an explanation from evidence to describe how genetic mutations result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of an organism.

Unpacked Content
Scientific And Engineering Practices:
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect
Disciplinary Core Idea: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Evidence Of Student Attainment:
  • Use evidence and reasoning to construct an explanation describing how genetic mutations result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of an organism.
Teacher Vocabulary:
  • Explanation
  • Evidence
  • Gene
  • Genetic mutation
  • Chromosome
  • Protein
  • Trait
  • Structure
  • Function
  • Protein structure
  • Protein function
Students know:
  • Genes are located in the chromosomes of cells, with each chromosome pair containing two variants of gene.
  • Genes control the production of proteins.
  • Proteins affect the structures and functions of the organism, thus changing traits.
  • Genetic information can be altered because of mutations.
  • Mutations, though rare, can result in changes to the structure and function of proteins.
  • Mutations can be beneficial, harmful, or have neutral effects on organisms.
Students are able to:
  • Articulate a statement that relates a given phenomenon to a scientific idea, including the relationship between mutations and the effects on organisms.
  • Identify and use multiple valid and reliable sources of evidence to construct an explanation that structural changes to genes (i.e., mutations) may result in observable effects at the level of the organism.
  • Use reasoning to connect the evidence and support an explanation that beneficial, neutral, or harmful changes to protein function can cause beneficial, neutral, or harmful changes in the structure and function of organisms.
Students understand that:
  • Mutations are the result of changes in genes which may affect protein production and, in turn, affect traits.
  • Mutations can be harmful, beneficial, or have neutral effects on organisms.
AMSTI Resources:
AMSTI Module:
Studying the Development and Reproduction of Organisms
Tags: beneficial effects, evidence, genetic mutations, informational text, organism, textual evidence
License Type: Custom Permission Type
See Terms:
For full descriptions of license types and a guide to usage, visit :
AccessibilityAudio resources: includes a transcript or subtitles
Text Resources: Content is organized under headings and subheadings

ReadWorks is a website that provides K-12 teachers with free literacy resources (About ReadWorks). ReadWorks has literary and informational texts on a variety of subjects and reading skills. You may narrow your search using grade level or Lexile level, making this website a wonderful tool for differentiation. Students will complete their work digitally, and you will provide their score and feedback digitally. This makes it easy to go paperless for this activity.

Prior to implementing this activity, you will need to sign up for an Educator Account on ReadWorks. After setting up an account, create a class from the Class Admin tab, this will provide you with a Class Code to give to students. Next, use the Find Content tab to search for the informational article that will be used during this activity, "Why Do Cave Fish Lose Their Eyes?" After navigating to the article, click on the blue Assign button to assign it to your class.

Each student will need access to a digital device, such as a tablet or laptop. The first time students enter the website they will need to enter the Class Code that is listed on your Class Admin page. Alternatively, you can print the article and corresponding questions for students, if digital devices are not available. 

  This resource provided by:  
Author: Hannah Bradley