There are lots of kinds of informational texts and many purposes for authors to write them.
This lively activity involves using authentic informational texts from the New York Times (or other first rate newspaper) to develop student skill in identifying specific genres of informational text and author's purpose.
Along the way, students also do some test prep. Acting as the state exam creator, they write a short response question based on the article they have read. And then they have to answer it!
This is also a fabulous vocabulary-builder for your students. There is no substitute for rigorous, authentic texts in developing nuance and skill in your students.