Exceeds Standards Example:

The next stop on my road trip was Texas, located in the Southwest region of the United States. As I drove across the state border on Interstate 10, I felt very excited. Texas is the second largest state in the country, so there was a lot to see! It is also the second most populous state in the US, with over 25 million residents.

I started by visiting Houston, the largest city in Texas. There was so much to do in Houston! I visited stores, restaurants, and the museum district. At the Houston Museum of Natural Science, I learned that the energy industry is very important in Texas, and that there is a wealth of natural resources like oil and natural gas that can be used to produce energy.

Houston is relatively close to the Gulf of Mexico, so I drove to the shore to spend a day at the beach. The climate in Texas is very warm and sunny. Even though I visited in December, the temperature was over 70 degrees. The climate is also fairly dry and snowfall is very rare in Texas. However, I learned that hurricanes often develop in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and sometimes make landfall along the Texas coastline.

After enjoying my day at the beach, I drove on Interstate 35 to the city of Austin, which is the capital of Texas. What a cool city! I visited the capital building where the state government is located. In addition, Austin is known for its vibrant music scene, so I saw a concert while I was there. I wish I could have visited some of the other big cities in Texas, such as Dallas, San Antonio, and Fort Worth.

Even though Texas has a lot of big cities, much of the state is very rural. Texas has more farmland that any other state in the country. The geography of the state is very flat, with many grasslands and plains. I drove past many farms, and saw cows grazing in their pastures. The cattle industry is very important in Texas, and it is also the nation’s leading producer of cotton.

Throughout my travels in Texas, I learned that it is home to a diverse group of people and a high immigrant population. Most immigrants in Texas are from Latin America, but there are areas with high populations from Asia and the Middle East. Texas shares a border with Mexico, and a particularly high concentration of immigrants live along this border. I visited a border town called Del Rio, and observed many border patrol agents policing the roads. I spoke with residents of this town, and they told me that life in Texas is influenced by Latino culture, food, and Spanish language.

Overall, my time in Texas was great. The weather was beautiful and there was so much to do and see. I definitely want to return one day to explore even more!

Meets Standards Example:

The first stop on my road trip was Vermont, located in the Northeast region of the United States. I drove north on Interstate 89 and crossed the border into Vermont. I was very excited to explore this state, even though it is very small. Vermont has 626, 431 residents, making it one of least populous states in the country.

First I visited Montpelier, which is the state capital. It was a chilly day and there was light snowfall. Vermont’s climate is cold and snowy in the winter and warm in the summer. Vermont is also known for beautiful autumns with many brightly colored leaves.

As I drove through Vermont, I saw lots of trees. I also saw mountains and hills. Many people come to Vermont to ski or snowboard. The tourist industry is very important there. Some other important industries are agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting. I passed several small dairy farms during my travels, which produce milk, ice cream, and cheese.

I also visited Burlington, which is the largest city in Vermont. There were many shops and restaurants, and I learned that Vermont is known for its maple syrup products. Overall, I thought Vermont was a very pretty, nice state.