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Bounce Back Ball
Administration Procedures

5th Grade Performance Task
Contributed by: Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP)


Students will be working in teams of four to measure the rebound heights of a tennis ball dropped form four different heights. Students wil be investigating with the bouncing balls to measure changes in the type of energy they possess.

This task is designed to take approximately 65 minutes.

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Performance Expectations:

  • collecting data on the rebound heights of a tennis ball
  • using a meter stick to measure the heights of ball bounces
  • representing data in the proscribed table and graph
  • using addition and division to determine the mean

National Science Education Standards:

4 AS I 1: Employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the senses. Grades 5-8
1.3 In early years, students develop simple skills, such as how to observe, measure, cut, connect, switch, turn on and off, pour, hold, tie, and hook. Beginning with simple instruments, students can use rulers to measure the length, height, and depth of objects and materials; thermometers to measure temperature; watches to measure time; beam balances and spring scales to measure weight and force; magnifiers to observe objects and organisms; and microscopes to observe the finer details of plants, animals, rocks, and other materials. Children also develop skills in the use of computers and calculators for conducting investigations.

4 AS I 1: Use data to construct a reasonable explanation. Grades 5-8
1.4 This aspect of the standard emphasizes the students’ thinking as they use data to formulate explanations. Even at the earliest grade levels, students should learn what constitutes evidence and judge the merits or strength of the data and information that will be used to make explanations. After students propose an explanation, they will appeal to the knowledge and evidence they obtained to support their explanations. Students should check their explanations against scientific knowledge, experiences, and observations of others.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:

DAP1:Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them.
Grade 6-8 e. collect data using observations, surveys, and experiments
Grade 6-8 f. represent data using tables and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs

MEAS1: Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, relationships amoung numbers, and number systems.
Grade 6-8 g. carry out simple unit conversions, such as from centimeters to meters, within a system of measurement

Measurement Standard 2: Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements.
Grade 6-8 c. use tools to measure

Number nand Operations Standard 3: Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.
Grade 6-8 g. develop fluency in adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing whole numbers

General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task is designed to take students approximately 65 minutes.

Students will be working both in groups and 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 "Bounce Back Ball":

At each station students should have:

  • 1 tennis ball
  • 1 meter stick
  • 2 sheets of scrap paper for recording data
  • masking tape (enough to hold the meter stick to the wall)
  • 4 calculators

Advance Preparation:

  • Prior to testing, familarize yourself with the teacher demonstration.
  • Tape a meter stick to the wall so 0 cm is on the floor and 100 cm is at the top. Be sure that the students will be able to see the stick when they are viewing the demonstration as a group.
  • Write the following definitions on the chalkboard:

    Energy-the ability to do work
    Potential energy-the energy that is stored in an object by its position or chemical composition
    Kinetic energy-the energy of matter in motion
  • Write the following assignments on the chalkboard:

    Ones-(the tapers) tape the meter stick to the wall or any stable vertical surface
    Twos-(the droppers) drop the ball
    Threes-(the spotters) sit on the floor and take the measurement carefully, looking straight at the meter stick
    Fours-(the recorders) record the measurement

  • Plan to assign studentes to groups of four. Assgn each student a number from 1-4. If you do not have four students in a group, students may double up on assignment.
  • Prior to testing, remember to review with the students the Language Usage icon in Resource Book.


  • 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.


  • Ask students to carry out simple unit conversions (


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