By walking through this sample adaptation of a PALS task, you can
begin to see how you yourself can modify performance assessment
tasks. We start here with the actual standards used in a task's
development and move towards the creation of specific targets or
goals. These elements of a task design can be found in the first
part of a task's Administration Procedures. Targets, which are not
specified in the PALS library, must be created.
text shows modified or added text.
notes explain the changes and
text will be eliminated in the final adaptation.
Contributed by: TIMSS
Student investigates the effect of different container materials
on heat transfer; draws a conclusion about the best insulator; and
applies concept to a new, seemingly quite different problem.
Students are given two
sets of three containers of different
insulating capacity, for example, metal, ceramic, and plastic, and
are asked to: (1) find out which one would keep a hot drink warm
for the longest time; (2)
design and conduct an experiment to determine which container would
keep a cold drink cold for the longest time.
They also receive thermometers, a clock, a piece of card to use
as a fan, a supply of hot water, and
a supply of ice water. In
the first part of the activity, the students are instructed
to pour a measure of hot water into each of the containers, and
to take the temperature in each one over a ten-minute interval.
They are provided with a pre-designed data table in which to record
their observations. This task assesses students' ability to make
and record measurements of temperature and probes their understanding
of the concept of insulation.
During the second part of the
activity, students first design an experiment to determine which
container keeps a cold drink cold for the longest time. After designing
the experiment, students are provided with directions for conducting
it. They complete the experiment and record their observations.
Students measure the rates of cooling when
hot water is poured into containers of differential material. Then
and conduct an experiment to determine which container would keep
a cold drink cold for the longest time.
They are expected to organize their data and report their conclusions.
Part of this exercise is to assess students' ability to measure
with a thermometer.
This task is designed to take students approximately
20 to 30
50 to 60
minutes to complete.
Overall Task Content Area:
Specific Knowledge Areas:
Physical Properties of Matter
- specific heat and temperature
Doing Scientific Inquiry
-design and conduct investigation
-use simple equipment and tools
Understanding Scientific Inquiry
-developing observations using evidence
- conducting investigations
- designing investigations
- using equipment
- gathering, organizing, and representing data
- formulating conclusions from investigational data
- applying scientific principles to develop explanations and solve
National Science Education Standards:
4 B PS 1: Properties of objects and materials: Grades K-4
1.1 Objects have many observable properties, including size, weight,
shape, color, temperature, and the ability to react with other substances.
Those properties can be measured using tools, such as rulers, balances,
4BPS3: Light, Heat, Electricity, and Magnetism
3.2 Heat can move from one object to another by conduction.
4 A SI 1: Ability to do scientific inquiry: Grades K-4
1.2 Plan and conduct a simple investigation.
1.3 Employ simple equipment and tools to gather data.
4 A SI 2: Understanding about scientific inquiry: Grades K-4
2.4 Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence)
and what they already know about the world (scientific knowledge).
Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations.
- Understands the concepts of heat transfer and insulation
- Understands the steps to complete an experiment to test which
containers keep a drink hottest
- Understands the steps involved in planning an experiment to
test which containers keep a drink coldest
- Uses findings to construct reasonable explanations about why
a container is the best insulator
- Reasons about how materials influence heat transfer
- Uses findings to solve new problems
- Makes and records measurements of temperature
- Gathers data
- Organizes data
- Represents data in a table
- Uses skills and reasoning to clearly answer questions in the
here to see another example of how to adapt the standards
continue to step 2, adapting task
and task design, or learn more about
targets before you go on.