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Starch and Sugar Testing 1
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 presence of starch and sugar in unknown solutions.

This task assesses students' abilities to observe, record and interpret data, classify, generalize/infer, construct data tables, and identify sugar and starch solutions.

This task is designed to take students approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Properties and changes of properties in matter

Performance Expectations:

  • conducting investigations
  • using equipment
  • 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
1.3 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.

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

PS2: Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts:
Grades 6-8

General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task is designed to take approximately 10-15 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 "Starch and Sugar Testing 1":

At each station students should have:

  • dropper bottles labeled A, B, and C
  • dropper bottle with iodine
  • glucose test strip/stick
  • laminated test card or transparency test card
  • waste container (cup or small pail)
  • wax paper
  • paper towels
  • safety goggles

Advance Preparation:

  • Glucose and starch solutions can be obtained from a science supply company.
  • Put glucose solutions in bottles A and B.
  • Put starch solutions in bottle C.
  • Glucose test strips/stick can be obtained from a science supply company or a drugstore.
  • Keep the glucose strips away from the iodine solution. The fumes will turn the strips black or green.
  • Be sure to test glucose and starch solutions before using them with the students
  • The glucose and starch solutions can be diluted two or three times. They will be more effective than full strength.
  • Wax paper should be cut to fit over the test card. This will keep the test card from becoming contaminated. If using transparency test card be sure to discard when each student is finished.


  • Students must wear safety goggles when working with iodine solution.
  • 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.


  • Glucose test tape is no longer manufactured. You may use glucose test strips/sticks found at a drugstore. These are quite expensive so a teacher demo may be more appropriate.
  • To do a Teacher Demo you might use an overhead projector with a transparency sheet marked with three circles marked "A", "B", and "C". The students could then check the color on the glucose strips as well as see the iodine change when the materials were added.
  • There is also Starch and Sugar 2, with a different degree of structure.


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