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Rate of Solution
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 amount of agitation necessary to dissolve various sized sugar particles.

This task assesses students' abilities to collect, organize, and interpret data, create appropriate graphs, predict future events based on collected data, and infer relationships.

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

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Properties and changes of properties in matter

Performance Expectations:

  • conducting investigations
  • 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: 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 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:

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

MEAS2: Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements:
Grades 6-8 o. solve simple problems involving rates and derived measurements for such attributes as velocity and density

DAP1: Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them:
Grades 6-8 i. select, create, and use appropriate graphical representations of data including histograms, box plots, and scatter plots

PS2: Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts:
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 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 "Rate of Solution":

At each station students should have:

  • 1 sugar cube
  • granulated sugar in a sealed container
  • waste container (cups or small buckets)
  • teaspoon
  • graduated cylinder
  • 2 bottles with screw on caps, labeled A and B
  • super fine sugar sample
  • water (500ml)
  • safety goggles
  • hand lens

Advance Preparation:

  • Mark the sealed container of granulated sugar "granulated sugar - Do Not Open"
  • Bottle size and water temperature must be consistent at every student station.


  • Safety goggles must be worn for this activity.
  • See MSDS - materials etc. for further safety precautions.
  • Proper laboratory safety procedures are 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.


  • Different types of sugar may be substituted in the shaking process
    • granulated and super fine - extrapolate cube
    • granulated and cube - extrapolate super fine
  • correlate particle size with surface area


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