Contributed by: New York State Alternative Assessment in Science
Project (NYSED)
Description:
Students determine the relationship between the height of a ramp and
the energy of a ball rolling down the ramp. They also discuss factors
causing variability in results and the need for multiple trials.
The task assesses students' abilities to collect and organize
data, utilize evidence to form explanations, and explain the reasoning
behind experimental design.
This task is designed to take students approximately 1015 minutes
to complete.
Overall Task Content Area:
 Physical Science
Specific Knowledge Areas:
 Motions and forces
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 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry:
Grades 58
1.4 Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and
models using evidence. Students should base their explanation on
what they observed, and as they develop cognitive skills, they should
be able to differentiate explanation from description  providing
causes for effects and establishing relationships based on evidence
and logical argument. This standards requires a subject knowledge
base so the students can effectively conduct investigations, because
developing explanations establishes connections between the content
of science and the contexts within which students develop new knowledge.
8 B PS 2: Motions and forces: Grades 58
2.3 If more than one force acts on an object along a straight
line, then the forces will reinforce or cancel one another, depending
on their direction and magnitude. Unbalanced forces will cause changes
in the speed or direction of an object's motion.
(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.
Data Analysis and Probability (DAP2): Select and use
appropriate statistical methods to analyze data.
Measurement (MEAS1): Understand measurable attributes
of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement.
Number and Operations (NO3): Compute fluently and make
reasonable estimates.
Algebra (AL4): Analyze change in various contexts.
Data Analysis and Probability (DAP3): Develop and evaluate
inferences and predictions that are based on data.
Problem Solving (PS1): Build new mathematical knowledge
through problem solving.
Communication (COM4): Use the language of mathematics
to express mathematical ideas precisely.
Connections (CNX2): Understand how mathematical ideas
interconnect and build on one another to produce a coherent whole.
General Instructions to the Teacher:
This task is designed to take students approximately 1015 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:
The teacher will need:
 scissors or a craft knife
 black or blue marker
At this station students should have:
 three books of the same size
 plastic cup or bowl
 30 cm ruler w/center groove
 golf ball
 metric measuring tape
 masking tape
 calculator
Advance Preparation:
 Cut a hole in the side of the plastic cup or container large
enough to allow the golf ball to roll through it freely.
 Designate the part of the cup that the students will be measuring
from (back or front).
 Students must have a large flat surface to do this task; laboratory
tables, cafeteria tables, or the floor work well. A single student
desk is not large enough.
 A ball release point should be marked on the ramp or ruler with
permanent marker.
Safety:
 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.
Extensions/modifications:
 Uniform wood blocks may be used in the place of the books for
the ramp.
 A rubber ball may be substituted for the golf ball.
 A piece of wooden molding may be used in place of the ruler
for the ramp.
