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Practice with Conflicting Viewpoints Passages on ACT Science Reasoning Video

Instructions:

Choose an answer and hit 'next'. You will receive your score and answers at the end.

question 1 of 3

In a controversial decision in 2006, Pluto was re-classified from 'planet' to 'dwarf planet,' in part because it does not clear the area around its orbit. The passages below give you the opinion of two scientists on this decision.

Scientist 1

The classification of a 'planet' as distinguished from a 'dwarf planet' or a 'plutoid' is ultimately arbitrary. It does not spring from some self-evident law of the universe, but from the human desire to sort objects into types and classify them by consistent standards. Clearing the neighborhood around its orbit is a standard that humans created for defining our term 'planet' - but what's stopping us from changing that standard? Nothing: the definition is as arbitrary as the collection of syllables we use to refer to it. Linguistic nit-picking, not science, is the reason why Pluto is no longer a 'planet.'

Scientist 2

Scientific language cannot just mean whatever we want it to mean: without a clear and objective definition, terms like 'planet' would be useless. And when we find that an object has been misclassified, the only way to keep our language useful is to re-classify it appropriately, not to simply change words to cover up our own mistakes. This is what has happened with Pluto. It simply does not meet the definition of a 'planet,' and expanding the term 'planet' to cover it would make the word meaningless. However fond our memories of 7th grade Science class might be, the only true solution is to reclassify Pluto.

What is the topic of these two passages?

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1.

In a controversial decision in 2006, Pluto was re-classified from 'planet' to 'dwarf planet,' in part because it does not clear the area around its orbit. The passages below give you the opinion of two scientists on this decision.

Scientist 1

The classification of a 'planet' as distinguished from a 'dwarf planet' or a 'plutoid' is ultimately arbitrary. It does not spring from some self-evident law of the universe, but from the human desire to sort objects into types and classify them by consistent standards. Clearing the neighborhood around its orbit is a standard that humans created for defining our term 'planet' - but what's stopping us from changing that standard? Nothing: the definition is as arbitrary as the collection of syllables we use to refer to it. Linguistic nit-picking, not science, is the reason why Pluto is no longer a 'planet.'

Scientist 2

Scientific language cannot just mean whatever we want it to mean: without a clear and objective definition, terms like 'planet' would be useless. And when we find that an object has been misclassified, the only way to keep our language useful is to re-classify it appropriately, not to simply change words to cover up our own mistakes. This is what has happened with Pluto. It simply does not meet the definition of a 'planet,' and expanding the term 'planet' to cover it would make the word meaningless. However fond our memories of 7th grade Science class might be, the only true solution is to reclassify Pluto.

If you were going to nickname Scientist 2 in a way that helped you distinguish her from Scientist 1, which would be the best nickname?

2.

In a controversial decision in 2006, Pluto was re-classified from 'planet' to 'dwarf planet,' in part because it does not clear the area around its orbit. The passages below give you the opinion of two scientists on this decision.

Scientist 1

The classification of a 'planet' as distinguished from a 'dwarf planet' or a 'plutoid' is ultimately arbitrary. It does not spring from some self-evident law of the universe, but from the human desire to sort objects into types and classify them by consistent standards. Clearing the neighborhood around its orbit is a standard that humans created for defining our term 'planet' - but what's stopping us from changing that standard? Nothing: the definition is as arbitrary as the collection of syllables we use to refer to it. Linguistic nit-picking, not science, is the reason why Pluto is no longer a 'planet.'

Scientist 2

Scientific language cannot just mean whatever we want it to mean: without a clear and objective definition, terms like 'planet' would be useless. And when we find that an object has been misclassified, the only way to keep our language useful is to re-classify it appropriately, not to simply change words to cover up our own mistakes. This is what has happened with Pluto. It simply does not meet the definition of a 'planet,' and expanding the term 'planet' to cover it would make the word meaningless. However fond our memories of 7th grade Science class might be, the only true solution is to reclassify Pluto.

Which of the following would support the author of Passage 1 but not the author of Passage 2?

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

The questions on the quiz will mirror the ACT. You will be given two viewpoints from different authorities. You will then need to correctly identify a variety of information related to the viewpoints. Some questions, for instance, will ask you to identify the topics of the passages or potential supporting details.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

The quiz will test you on the following topics:

  • The topic of two passages that discuss the reclassification of Pluto as a dwarf planet
  • Distinguishing Scientist 1 from Scientist 2
  • Details that would support the stance of the author of the first passage

Skills Practiced

You will practice the following skills:

  • Reading comprehension - ensure that you draw the most important information from the related ACT science reasoning lesson
  • Interpreting information - verify that you can read information regarding scientific opinions on the classification of Pluto and interpret it correctly
  • Information recall - access the knowledge you've gained regarding a nickname that distinguishes Scientist 1 from Scientist 2
  • Knowledge application - use your knowledge to choose the answer that supports the author of Passage 1

Additional Learning

Once you have finished the quiz, check out the related lesson titled, Practice with Conflicting Viewpoints Passages on ACT Science Reasoning. This lesson covers the following topics:

  • Explaining the conflicting viewpoints section
  • Understanding how to evaluate opinions
  • Exploring sample passages
  • Answering questions about the sample problems
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