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Rolling Down Hill
Task with Student Directions

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 complete experiment.


Each student should have a packet with:

  • Wooden block
  • Ruler
  • Blue paper
  • Marble



  1. Place the block (1) on the table.
  2. Place ruler (2) on the wooden block with the 29 cm mark on the edge of the block.
  3. Put the other end of the ruler at the zero cm mark at the end of the blue paper (5).
  4. Place the sharply folded 3" x 5" (3) card with the pointed end ont hte starting line (4). Make certain the 3" x 5" card remains sharply folded during the experiment.
  5. Place the marble somewhere on the ruler. Let it go! Mark on the blue paper (5) where the pointed card stops. Measure how far the card moved and record this length in the data area on sheet B.
  6. Now move the marble to a different place on the ruler and let it go, marking where the card stops again.
  7. Repeat this general procedure to compare how far the pointed card is pushed when the marble is released from several different places on the ruler.
  8. Graph the results of your investigation on sheet B.
  9. If your ruler was long enough that you could release the marble from 60 cm, how far would the pointed card be pushed now?


    Writing Assignment
    Narrative: Experiment

    Think about the experiment you have just completed. Prepare a lab report describing you investigation to the members of you class. Be sure your report contains a description of your investigation and summarizes results of your investigation.


    Writing you paper using the following guidelines:

    • State the problem you investigated.
    • Describe all variables in the experiment.
    • Identify the dependent variable.
    • Indicate the result of your experiment.
    • Tell what happened during your experiment that led to this result.
    • Explain how you made you prediction.

    Check points to remember:

    • Take some time to plan your paper on scratch paper.
    • Organize your ideas carefully. Remember what you know about paragraphs.
    • Use language and information appropriate for the students in your class.
    • Check that you have correct sentences, punctuation and spelling.


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