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Administration Procedures
Grades 5-8 Performance Task
Contributed by: Kentucky Department of Education (KDE)


Students investigate Newton's Laws of Motion and the Law of Conservation of Energy. They examine how a ball and half-ball behave and relate these laws to what happens to the balls. Students produce a graph of the data collected and compare the bounces of the half-ball to the bounces of the racquetball.

Note: Although the major science discipline content of this task is described in the National Science Education Standards for students in grades 9-12, the task was originally designed for grade 8 students by the Kentucky Department of Education.

This task is designed to take students approximately 45 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: Ability necessary to do scientific inquiry: Grades 5-8

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.

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.

8 B PS 2: Motions and forces: Grades 5-8
2.1 The motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion, and speed. That motion can be measured and represented on a graph.

(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:

AL1: Understand patterns, relations and functions:
Grades 6-8 f. represent, analyze, and generalize a variety of patterns with tables, graphs, words, and, when possible, symbolic rules

DAP3: Develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data:
Grades 6-8 e. use conjectures to formulate new questions and plan new studies to answer them

DAP2: Select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data:
Grades 6-8 e. find, use, and interpret measures of center and spread, including mean and interquartile range

PS2: Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts:
Grades 6-8

COM1: Organize and consolidate their mathematical thinking through communication:
Grades 6-8

CNX1: Recognize and use connections among mathematical ideas:
Grades 6-8

REP1: Create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas:
Grades 6-8

General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task is designed to take students approximately 45 minutes to complete.

Students may work in groups of 4 (3-5) for the experiment/activity part of this exercise. Students work together for up to 20 minutes. They are instructed to notify you when finished with the group work, and then to go on to the individual work. If students are still working together 20 minutes after the testing begins, instruct them to cease their group work and begin individual work. At this point, they may no longer talk. Whether or not they are just beginning their individual work, remind students that they now have about 25 minutes to complete the individual activity.

Students should be ready to work as soon as the period begins. Group assignments should be made in advance. 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 "Half-Ball":

At this station students should have:
One half-ball
Two meter sticks
One racquetball
Calculator for each student
Pencils for each student

Advance Preparation:

Materials should be obtained (or made) and tested for performance prior to the testing period.


  • 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.

Kentucky Department of Education
Performance Events 1995-96


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