Grade 58 Performance Task
Contributed by: New York State Education Department
(NYSED)
NYS Alternative Assessment in Science Project (1996)
Description:
Students use chart data to determine the location
of the epicenter of an earthquake.
This task assesses students' abilities to generalize
and infer, organize data, interpret data, and apply mathematical
concepts.
This task is designed to take students approximately
20 minutes to complete.
Overall Task Content Area:
 Earth and Space Science
Specific Knowledge Areas:
 Structure of the earth system
Performance Expectations:
 using equipment
 organizing and representing data
 formulating conclusions from investigational data
 applying scientific principles to develop explanations
National Science Education Standards:
8 ASI 1: Abilities necessary to do
scientific inquiry
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.
1.8 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.
8D ESS 1: Structure of the earth
system
1.2 Lithospheric plates on the scales of continents and
oceans constantly move at rates of centimeters per year in response
to movements in the mantle. Major geological events, such as earthquakes,
volcanic eruptions, and mountain building, result from these plate
motions.
(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:
AL3: Use mathematical models to represent and understand
quantitative relationships:
Grades 68 c. model and solve contextualized problems using
various representations, such as graphs, tables, and equations
GEO4: Use visualization, spatial
reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems:
Grades 68 l.
use twodimensional representations of threedimensional objects
to visualize and solve problems such as those involving surface
area and volume
DAP3: Develop and evaluate inferences
and predictions that are based on data:
Grades 68 c. use observations about differences
between two or more samples to make conjectures about the populations
from which the samples were taken
PS2: Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in
other contexts:
Grades 68
CNX3: Recognize and use connections among mathematical
ideas:
Grades 68
General Instructions to the Teacher:
This task is designed to take approximately 20 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 "Earthquake Epicenter":
The teacher will need:
 extra supply of compasses
At each station students should have:
Advance Preparation:
 Make sure the compasses have a metric scale.
Safety:
 Advise students how to handle the compasses appropriately.
 Be careful
 Teachers and students should always exercise appropriate safety
precautions and utilize appropriate laboratory procedures and
equipment when working on science performance tasks.
Extensions/Modifications:
 Consider the addition of identified cities to predict earthquake
arrival times.
 Consider questions about earthquake preparedness.
