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Administration Procedures

8th Grade Performance Task
Contributed by: Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS)
1993 Administration


Students determine a baseline pulse rate and collect data on the changes in that rate with exercise. They then organize the data, describe the changes and develop a rationale for their observations.

The task assesses students' abilities to make simple observations, gather and organize data, and make generalized inferences from their observations.

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

Overall Task Content Area:

Life Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Performance Expectations:

  • conducting investigations
  • using equipment
  • gathering, organizing, and representing data
  • 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
1.4 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.

8 C LS 3: Regulation and behavior: Grades 5-8
3.2 Regulation of an organism's internal environment involves sensing the internal environment and changing physiologic activities to keep conditions within the range required to survive.

(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 c. use observations about differences between two or more samples to make conjectures about the populations from which the samples were taken

DAP1: Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them:
Grades 6-8 h. formulate questions, design studies, and collect data about a characteristic shared by two populations or different characteristics within one population

PS2: Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts:
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.

Materials for "Pulse":

At this station students should have:

  • A watch with a second hand
  • A step on the floor to climb on

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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