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Administration Procedures
Grade 5-8 Performance Task
Assessment of Performance Unit
1989 Administration


Students estimate the mass, volume, length and area of various objects. The task assesses students' abilities to make simple observations and estimations.

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

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Performance Expectations:

  • 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 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.

8 B PS 1: Properties and changes of properties in 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:

MEAS1: Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement:
Grades 6-8 understand, select, and use units of appropriate size and type to measure angles, perimeter, area, surface area, and volume

MEAS2: Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements:
Grades 6-8 select and apply techniques and tools to accurately find length, area, volume, and angle measures to appropriate levels of precision

NO2: Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another:
Grades 6-8 h. understand the meaning and effects of arithmetic operations with fractions, decimals, and integers

NO3: Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates:
Grades 6-8 j. select appropriate methods and tools for computing with fractions and decimals from among mental computation, estimation, calculators or computers, and paper and pencil, depending on the situation, and apply the selected methods

GEO4: Use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems:
Grades 6-8 l. use two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional objects to visualize and solve problems such as those involving surface area and volume

PS3: Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems:
Grades 6-8

Grades 6-8

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 Estimating:

The teacher will need:
  • graduated cylinder
  • metric ruler
  • balance
  • spring force measurement device
  • labels
  • food color
  • large container of water
  • green construction paper
  • scissors
  • wire
  • wire cutters
  • string

At this station students should have:

  • Plastic box with colored water labeled "C"
  • Green paper leaf labeled "L"
  • Wire circle
  • Rubber ball labeled "B"
  • Tube with water labeled "T"
  • Container labeled "C"
  • Wooden rod
  • Package labeled "P"

Advance Preparation:

  • Label plastic boxes "C." Use graduated cylinder to fill boxes with a predetermined amount of colored water (add food coloring).
  • Cut leave shapes out of green construction paper and determine the area. Label leaves "L."
  • Form circles from wire of a predetermined length.
  • Label balls "B."
  • Label tubes "T." Use a graduated cylinder to fill tubes with a predetermined amount of water.
  • Tie a string around packages leaving a loop by which to lift the package. With spring force device, determine amount of force necessary to lift the package by the string.


  • 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.


  • To target the specific NCTM standard(s) to be measured:
    • Ask students to select appropriate computation methods.
    • Ask students to draw two-dimensional representations of the objects.


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