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Administration Procedures

Grades 5-8 Performance Task
Contributed by: Assessment of Performance Unit
1985 Administration


Students follow directions for a simple chemical experiment. The task assesses students' abilities to follow simple directions and correctly utilize equipment.

This task is designed to take students approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Performance Expectations:

  • conducting investigations
  • using equipment
National Science Education Standards:

8 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry: Grades 5-8

1.3 Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data. The use of tools and techniques, including mathematics, will be guided by the question asked and the investigations students design. The use of computers for the collection, summary, and display of evidence is part of this standard. Students should be able to access, gather, store, retrieve, and organize data, using hardware and software designed for these purposes.

Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry. Mathematics is essential to asking and answering questions about the natural world. Mathematics can be used to ask questions; to gather, organize, and present data; and to structure convincing explanations.

8 B PS 1: Properties and Changes in Properties of Matter: Grades 5-8

1.1 A substance has characteristic properties, such as density, a boiling point, and solubility, all of which are independent of the amount of the sample. A mixture of substances often can be separated into the original substances using one or more of the characteristic properties.

(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:

Algebra (AL1): Understand patterns, relations and functions.

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 approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

Students will be working individually during this exercise.

Students should be ready to work as soon as the period begins. The materials should be set out at each lab station, if possible. A central supply area, if needed, should be easily accessible. All supplies should be clearly labeled.

Materials for:

At this station students should have:

  • Bunsen Burner
  • Spatula
  • Test tube rack
  • Boiling tube
  • Test tube holder
  • Funnel
  • Flask
  • Powder
Advance Preparation:
  • Prepare powder in a container labeled P.
  • The Bunsen burner should be connected but not lit. The collar should be turned so that the hole is wide open.
  • The spatula should be clean and resting on a spare piece of filter paper by the side of container P, which has its lid on.
  • A clean boiling tube should be put in the rack with the test tube holder at the side.
  • A clean funnel and flask should be placed separately on the bench behind the rack.
  • Used boiling tubes can be put in the container provided. Funnel and flask should be rinsed, ready for the next student. One spare of each is provided to allow time for this.


  • Caution the students while lighting the burner or candle and while using the apparatus.
  • The teacher can light the flames for the students if desired.
  • 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.
  • N/A


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