8th Grade Performance Task
Contributed by: New York State Alternative Assessment in Science
Project (NYSED)
1996 Administration
Description:
Students determine how fast a bottle will roll down a ramp with
varying amounts of sand inside. They then predict how much sand
is in an unknown bottle, and how fast bottles with different amounts
would roll. The task assesses students' abilities to make simple
observations, compare relative speeds, apply their observations
and measurements to test an unknown, make generalized inferences
from their observations, and apply their understanding make predictions.
This task is designed to take students approximately 1015 minutes
to complete.
Components:
 Administration Procedures
 Directions to the student
 Scoring Rubric
 Examples of student work
 Technical quality data
Overall Task Content Area:
 Physical Science
Specific Knowledge Areas:
 Motion and forces
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 B PS 2: Motions and Forces: Grades 58
2.1 The motion of an object can be described by its position,
direction of motion, and speed. That motion can be measured and represented
on a graph.
8 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry:
Grades 58
1.4 Students should base their explanations 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 standard requires a subject matter knowledge
base so the students can effectively conduct investigations, because
developing explanations establishes connections between the content
of science and contexts within which students develop new knowledge.
1.5 Think critically and logically to make the relationship
between evidence and explanations. Thinking critically about evidence
includes deciding what evidence should be used and accounting for
anomalous data. Specifically, students should be able to review
data from a simple experiment, summarize the data, and form a logical
argument about the cause and effect relationships in the experiment.
Students should begin to state some explanations in terms of the
relationship between two or more variables.
(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 68 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 68 c. use observations about differences
between two or more samples to make conjectures about the populations
from which the samples were taken
AL4: Analyze change in various contexts:
Grades 68 e. use graphs to analyze the nature of changes
in quantities in linear relationships
PS2: Solve problems that arise in mathematics
and in other contexts:
Grades 68
RP2: Make and investigate mathematical
conjectures:
Grades 68
COM2: Communicate their mathematical thinking
coherently and clearly to peers, teachers, and others:
Grades 68
General Instructions to the Teacher:
This task is designed to take students approximately 1015 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 "Sand in Bottles":
The teacher will need:
 white or construction sand
 plastic bottles with caps at both ends  size 148 ml
 hot glue
At this station students should have:
 5 bottles labeled A, B, C, D, and X
 2 books approximately 1 inch thick
 clipboard
Advance Preparation:
 Fill enough bottles for each student or station accordingly.
 Bottle A  full of sand
 Bottle B  1/2 full of sand
 Bottle C  1/4 full of sand
 Bottle D  empty
 Bottle X  full of sand
 Bottles must be smooth so that they will roll down the clipboard
easily.
 Slide a piece of paper inside each of the bottles so that the
students cannot see inside.
 Seal the tops with glue to avoid spills.
 To make the bottles roll evenly  glue a cap on the bottom
of the bottles as well.
 Film containers will work if they have tops that push inside
to seal.
Safety:
 Caution the students if glass bottles are used.
 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.
Extensions/modifications:
 Medicine vials or film containers can also be used.
 Any hard surface such as, fiberboard, smooth wood or cardboard
may be used to create the incline.
