administration student task rubric student work technical quality
Mapping the Blue Part
Administration Procedures

8th Grade Performance Task
Contributed by: Kentucky Department of Education (KDE)


Students will determine the location of specific features of the stimulated ocean floor. The features include the continental shelf, continental slope, an ocean trench, and a mid-oceaniz ridge.

Overall Task Content Area:

Earth Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Performance Expectations:

  • applying the technique of indirect measurement to determine the depth of a simulated ocean floor
  • using a proscribed tables and graphs to represent data

National Science Education Standards:

8 AS I 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.

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.

1.7 Communicate scientific procedures and explanations. With practice, students should become competent at communicating experimental methods, following instructions, describing observations, summarizing the results of other groups, and telling other students about investigations and explanations.

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 E ST 1: Evaluate completed technological designs or products. Grades 5-8
1.4 Students should use criteria relevant to the original purpose or need, consider a variety of factors that might affect acceptability and suitability for intended users or beneficiaries, and develop measures of quality with respect to such criteria and factors; they should also suggest improvements and, for their own products, try proposed modifications.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:

Algebra Standard 1:Understand patterns, relations, and functions.
Grade 6-8 f. represent, analyze, and generalize a variety of patterns with tables, graphs, words, and, when possible, symbolic rules

Measurement Standard 2: Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements.
Grade 6-8 k. select and apply techniques and tools to accurately find length, area, volume, and angle measures to appropriate levels of precision 

General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task is designed to take students approximately 45 minutes in 1 class period.

Students will be working both in groups and 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 "Mapping the Blue Part":

At each station students should have:

  • Black box with simulated ocean floor and scale
  • Height finder with sliding ring

Advance Preparation:

  • None required.


  • 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.


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