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Height of Bounce
Administration Procedures

8th Grade Performance Task
Contributed by: New York State Education Department (NYSED)
NYS Alternative Assessment in Science Project (1996)


Students will determine the relationship between the height of bounce of a ping-pong ball and the height from which it was dropped.

This task assesses students' abilities to record and interpret data, graph data, make predictions, and make inferences.

This task is designed to take students approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Motions and forces

Performance Expectations:

  • conducting investigations
  • gathering, organizing, and representing data
  • formulating conclusions from investigational data
  • applying scientific principles to develop explanations

National Science Education Standards:

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.

8 A SI 1: Abilities 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.

(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

AL4: Analyze change in various contexts :
Grades 6-8 e. use graphs to analyze the nature of changes in quantities in linear relationships

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

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

NO1: Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems :
Grades 6-8 q. understand and use ratios and proportions to represent quantitative relationships

PS1: Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving:
Grades 6-8

RP2: Make and investigate mathematical conjectures:
Grades 6-8

CON1: 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 approximately 15-20 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 "Height of Bounce":

At each station students should have:

  • 1 Ping-Pong ball
  • 1 box top fitted with a metric scale (0-40 cm)
  • 3 books
  • masking tape or duct tape

Advance Preparation:

  • The metric scale is attached to the outside of a large box top. A copy paper box works very well.
  • Use adhesive metric tape or a tape measure for the scale.
  • The box top must be anchored to the workspace with books or tape before the students begin the task.
  • An acceptable range of answers for height of bounce needs to be established by the teacher before student testing. To establish ranges for the scoring rubric, testing should be done on the same surface and with the same equipment that the students will be using.
  • See the scoring rubric for further clarification.


  • The Ping-Pong balls will occasionally roll off of the work space. Instruct the students to retrieve them, but not to run or disturb others around them.
  • Remind students not to throw Ping-Pong balls.
  • 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.


  • Instead of the box set up, a metric ruler may be taped to a vertical surface.


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