back to front page of natural selection


MUSE | Natural Selection | Unit Overview and Materials | Section One: The Nature of Scientific Arguments | 1B: Sequencing Events | Assessment


Instructional notes

Student handouts


site map


Assessment: Quiz

Name: ___________________________

This quiz is designed to check your understanding of data, inference, and prior knowledge and beliefs. Read the following text passage and then answer the questions on the following page.

By digging straight down, we exposed a clear demarcation line between green mudstone, with fossils in it, and the surrounding red mudstone. Once we had dug out the green mudstone, the hole that was left had the shape of a hemisphere. Sedimentary rocks form when layers of materials like mud or sand are deposited sequentially and build up over time. The way the ground was contoured (in the shape of a hemisphere) must have existed before it was filled in by a deposit of a different color silt. The structure was a concave depression about six feet in diameter and about three feet deep, something like a giant salad bowl. The bowl itself was made of red mudstone, but the salad (which contained the fossils) was the green mudstone that had filled the bowl. One of the primary roles of any nest structure is to contain eggs so that they remain together. It occurred to us that what we had was not just a collection of bones but a nest.

- modified from Jack Horner's 1988 book Digging Dinosaurs

1. Identify two pieces of prior knowledge or beliefs the Horner uses in this paragraph. The prior knowledge and beliefs you identify may be either written explicitly or implied in his paragraph.

Why are these examples of prior knowledge and beliefs?

2. Write down two references to data from the passage.

What makes these statements about data?

3. What are two inferences that Horner makes?

Explain why these statements are inferences.

4. Identify an inference from the writing (it may be one you used above) and describe the prior knowledge, beliefs, and data the inference was likely based upon. The point of this question is for you to demonstrate your understanding of the relationships between data, inference, and prior knowledge and beliefs.


NEXT PAGES: Instructional notes | Student handouts

click for RTF click for PDF