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Rubber Band
Administration Procedures

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


Students investigate what would happen to the length of a rubber band as more and more rings were hung on it.

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Performance Expectations:

  • using a 30 cm ruler to measure the length of rubber bands
  • creating tables and a graph to represent data
  • using observations to make conjectures about possible trends

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.

1.8 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 B PS I 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.


National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:

AL1:Understand patterns, relations, and functions.
Grade 6-8 a. sort, classify, and order objects by size, number, and other properties

MEAS2: Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements.
Grade 6-8 c. use tools to measure

DAP3: Develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data.
Grade 6-8 b. propose and justify conclusions and predictions that are based on data and design studies to further investigate the conclusions or predictions  

General Instructions to the Teacher:

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

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 "Rubber Band":

At each station students should have:

  • A clipboard with a rubber band
  • A large paper clip attached to one end of the rubber band
  • Metal rings to hang on the large paper clip
  • 30 cm ruler
  • Some sheets of plain paper
  • 2 sheets of graph or squared paper

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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