7th Grade ELA – Post-test Assessment 5
You will be taking the Grade 7 English Language Arts/Literacy Post-test.
You will be asked to read a passage. Read the passage and all the questions carefully. Some questions will ask you to choose one correct answer, while others will ask you to choose more than one correct answer. You may look back at the passage when needed.
To answer a question, click on the circle or circles of the correct answer.
Read the passage “NOAA’s Big Miracle Worker”. Then answer the questions.
NOAA’s Big Miracle Worker
NOAA marine mammal biologist Dave Withrow and the event that inspired Hollywood.
Feb 1, 2012
How did you get involved in Operation Breakthrough?
1 I work for NOAA at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, and anything whale-related, especially on the West Coast, comes through our office. Initially, there were no gray whale experts on the scene in Barrow. We were watching the news reports every night, and the lack of factual information would make all of us cringe. A week after the whales were found, then director of NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Howard Braham, asked me to go work with the press and make sure they had accurate information about these incredible creatures.
Can you describe what it was like when you arrived on the scene?
2 It was freezing—about 30 to 40 degrees below zero every day during the rescue, so not at all like the average whale stranding at the beach. This was October in Alaska and everyone on the scene had to endure a lot of difficult conditions to be there. Meanwhile, it was a total zoo in Barrow with all the reporters there. At the time, we didn’t know why this had captured the whole world’s attention, but all eyes were on us. The whales were relatively young and confused. All of the other gray whales had started migrating much earlier, but these three whales stayed in the feeding grounds too long. As a result, they were trapped by ice as temperatures continued to drop. Once we started moving the whales toward freedom, however, I couldn’t help but think that they knew something was happening. They seemed to understand that we were there to help them along.
How did you keep the whales and people safe?
3 It did help that the whales were located a good way from Barrow and the only route there was by snow machine or on one of the helicopters dedicated to the rescue effort. A rotating group of TV reporters and cameramen were flown out to the whales daily. Access was limited for safety reasons and to minimize disturbance to the whales and those involved directly with the rescue effort. Most of the people who live in Barrow know the conditions out on the ice better than anyone. We followed their advice and they helped us make decisions along the way. If they said it was time to stop because it was too dangerous, we listened. The Inupiat people who lived in and around Barrow did most of the hole-cutting, and their knowledge and guidance helped the operation stay safe and on track.
Did things get complicated with so many people wanting to help with the rescue?
4 There were so many groups—Inupiat hunters, biologists, oil companies, United States and Soviet Union government agencies, the military, non-profit organizations, and the press—on the scene and everyone wanted to play a part. There was a balancing act to include all of those who wanted to help with those that could really provide useful assistance. Aside from freeing the whales, it was the involvement of so many groups that actually became the operation’s biggest success story. Groups that were usually on opposite sides of major issues all came together to free the whales from the ice. This was during the height of the Cold War. Cooperation between the United States and Soviet Union on any issue was basically unheard of, especially on something so publicized.
How did you rescue the whales?
5 We had a lot of support. One company sent chainsaws to help cut holes in the ice. Another sent portable generators to provide light and power. We cut a series of holes in the ice, hoping that the whales would swim from one hole to the next but it was so cold that they kept freezing over. The owners of a Minnesota company that specialized in underwater pumps saw the TV news reports and sent us special pumps made to circulate water and prevent freezing. All along, we had planned to use whale mating sounds to lure the whales from hole to hole. Quite by accident, we discovered that the noise generated by the pumps attracted the whales. The pumps allowed us to coax the whales to a new breathing hole ahead. It really helped us move them along. While we were carefully moving the whales, a Soviet ice-breaker arrived. It broke through a 15-foot area at the head of the bay area and cleared a channel for a few miles. We didn’t want the ice-breaker getting too close to the whales, so [we] continued cutting holes to meet the channel so the whales could swim freely.
From NOAA’s Big Miracle Worker; NOAA—Public Domain