administration student task rubric student work technical quality
Acid and Rain and Its Effects
Administration Procedures
Contributed by: Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)


Students work in groups for up to three weeks to investigate the possibility of acid rain in your area and to investigate the damage that acid rain can do to buildings, monuments, and plants. Each group will prepare a report to local government that details their findings.

The end-product will contain three parts: identifying the problem/collecting data, locating the source of the problem, and the report to the town council. Students may work on the exercise outside the classroom period, they may consult as many references as they wish, and you may provide them with advice and direction. However, the product of the exercise must be the student's own work in their own words.

The report to the local government will be submitted along with all data and research notes collected by the students.

Overall Task Content Area:

Earth Space Science
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Populations, resources, and environments

Performance Expectations:

  • conducting investigations
  • using equipment
  • gathering, organizing, and representing data
  • formulating conclusions from investigational data
  • applying scientific principles to develop explanations and solve new problems

National Science Education Standards:

8 F SPSP 2: Populations, resources, and environments: Grades 5-8
2.2 Causes of environmental degradation and resource depletion vary from region to region and from
country to country.

8 D ESS 1: Structure of the earth system: Grades 5-8
1.6 Water Cycle.
1.9 Clouds, formed by the condensation of water vapor, affect weather and climate.
1.10 Global patterns of atmospheric movement influence local weather. Oceans have a major effect on climate.

8 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry: Grades 5-8
1.1 Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations.
1.2 Design and conduct a scientific investigation.
1.3 Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
1.4 Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence and explanations.
1.5 Think critically and logically to make the relationship between evidence and explanations.
1.7 Communicate scientific procedures and explanations.
1.8 Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.

(Use the "hot" link on the PALS home page to check the full text of related National Science Education Standards, if desired.)

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:

Problem Solving (PS2): Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts.

General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task is designed to take students up to three weeks to complete.

Students will be working in groups of 4 - 6 for the performance tasks, and each group will prepare and submit their results as a group. Group assignments should be made in advance.

Although it is not a requirement, you may want to integrate the exercise into your regular science curriculum. Students may work on the exercise outside the classroom period, they may consult as many references as they wish, and you may provide them with advice and direction. However, the product of the exercise must be the students' own work in their own words.

Each student group must produce a complete report to your local government that includes three parts: (See Directions to the Student for details of the components of each part.)

  1. Identifying the Problem, Collecting the Data
  2. Locating the Source of the Problem
  3. The Report to the Town Council

In addition, the report should include appendices that list all the information the students collected, including tables, forms, etc.

The exercise may result in a report, artwork, or even videotape. The results of the exercise should bear the names of all members of the group.

Materials for Acid Rain and Its Effects:

None are required. Student groups will identify and obtain any materials they decide to use to complete the assignment.


  • Be careful.
  • Teachers and students should always exercise appropriate safety precautions and utilize appropriate laboratory safety procedures and equipment when working on science performance tasks.


©1997-2005 SRI International. All rights reserved. Terms of Use