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Administration Procedures
Grades 5-8 Performance Task
Assessment of Performance Unit
1985 Administration


Students group observed data, filtering from all their observations the similarities between burning threads. In the second part they make a comparison of a chosen attribute between the two threads. The task assesses students' abilities to make simple observations and make generalized inferences from their observations.

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

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Performance Expectations:

  • conducting investigations
  • using equipment
  • gathering, organizing, and representing data
  • formulating conclusions from investigational data

National Science Education Standards:

8 B PS 1: Properties and changes of properties in matter: Grades 5-8
1.1 A substance has characteristic properties, such as density, 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.

8 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry: Grades 5-8
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.

(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:

DAP1:Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them :
Grades 6-8 h. formulate questions, design studies, and collect data about a characteristic shared by two populations or different characteristics within one population

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 students 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 Threads:

At this station students should have:
  • Bunsen Burner, or candle
  • match to light burner
  • forceps/tweezers
  • Two different fibers - nylon thread and 80:20 wool/polypropylene

Advance Preparation:

  • Label threads "A" and "B" with a stick it note or a sticker.


  • Caution the students while lighting the burner or candle and while using the apparatus.
  • The teacher can light the flames for the students if desired.
  • 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.


  • N/A


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