Learn It Part 1

Now let’s look at a text and identify whether statements within it are facts, reasoned judgments or speculation.

Read the following Newsela article titled “Digging down deep for earthquake studies"opens in new window. Read the entire article once through to gain an understanding of the main idea. Then, carefully read the excerpt below and answer the questions that follow.

As you read the excerpt, analyze and take notes on the following:

  • Factual information – Look for statements about the topic that can be proven true based on data. These may be statements about how things work in the natural world or numerical data.
  • Reasoned judgments – Look for places in the text where the author draws a conclusion based on the facts provided.
  • Speculation – These statements may look similar to reasoned judgments but are missing the key component of factual support.


Pay special attention to the bolded selections and think about which of the three categories they may belong to.

Geologists are drilling miles-deep into the Earth, directly through the faults where the plates that make up the Earth’s crust come into contact.

It is a bold plan and part of two experiments taking place at dangerous faults in New Zealand and Japan. These are faults that could erupt at any moment, causing massive earthquakes.

“These are the natural disasters that kill the most people on the planet. So we need to know as well as we can how they work and whether there are ways to (lessen) their effects by early warning or detection,” said Harold Tobin, a professor in the department of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Newselaopens in new window, August 19, 2014

In this excerpt, the author states that the experiments are “a bold plan” and are “taking place at dangerous faults.” These are reasoned judgments because they are supported by evidence. Which quotes from this section support these judgments? Think about your answer, and then click Show Answer.