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Rolling Down Hill
Administration Procedures

Grades 5th-8th Performance Task

Developed by: David A.Winnett, William P. Ahlbrand, & Virginia R. Bryan
Sponsored by: Illinois Science Teacher Association (ISTA)


Students will perform an experiment, collect, and analyze data of a rolling marble down a ramp. Students will report results after they are complete experiment.

This instrument has been developed to assess student performance in science and writing.

This task is designed to take students approximately 60 minutes to complete.

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:


Performance Expectations:

  • applying techniques and tools to measure the starting and ending position of a marble.
  • organizing data to present on a table
  • using proscribed table to analyze 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.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:

Data Analysis and Probability Standards 1:Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them.
Grade 6-8 i. select, create, and use appropriate graphical representations of data, including histograms, box plots, and scatterplots

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\

Algebra Standard 4:Analyze change in various contexts.
Grade 6-8 e. use graphs to analyze the nature of changes in quantities in linear relationships

General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task is designed to take students approximately 60 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 "Rolling Down Hill":

Each student should have a packet with:
  • Wooden block
  • Ruler
  • Blue paper
  • Marble

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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