administration student task rubric student work technical quality
That's the Way the Ball Bounces
Administration Procedures
Contributed by: Kentucky Department of Education (KDE)


Students investigate and compare the bouncing ability of the materials from which four different balls are made. The goal is to determine what material performs the best for use as a basketball. This task is designed to take students approximately 45-50 minutes to complete.

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Science as inquiry

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:

12 A SI 1: Science as inquiry: Grades 9-12

1.2 Design and conduct scientific investigations. Designing and conducting a scientific investigation requires introduction to the major concepts in the area being investigated, proper equipment, safety precautions, assistance with methodological problems, recommendations for use of technologies, clarification of ideas that guide the inquiry, and scientific knowledge obtained from sources other than the actual investigation. The investigation may also require student clarification of the question, method, controls, and variables; student organization and display of data; student revision of methods and explanations; and a public presentation of the results with a critical response from peers. Regardless of the scientific investigation performed, students must use evidence, apply logic, and construct an argument for their proposed explanations.

1.4 Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence. Student inquiries should culminate in formulating an explanation or model. Models should be physical, conceptual, and mathematical. In the process of answering the questions, the students should engage in discussions and arguments that result in the revision of their explanations. These discussions should be based on scientific knowledge, the use of logic, and evidence from their investigation.

12 E ST 1: Abilities of technological design: Grades 9-12

1.2 Propose designs and choose between alternative solutions. Students should demonstrate thoughtful planning for a piece of technology or technique. Students should be introduced to the roles of models and simulations in these processes.

1.3 Implement a proposed solution. A variety of skills can be needed in proposing a solution depending on the type of technology that is involved. The construction of artifacts can require the skills of cutting, shaping, treating, and joining common materials - such as wood, metal, plastics, and textiles. Solutions can also be implemented using computer software.

(Use the "hot" link on the PALS home page to check the full text of related National Science Education Standards, if desired.)

General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task is designed to take students approximately 45-50 minutes to complete.

Students begin the task working together in groups of 4 (2-5) for the experiment/activity part of this exercise.

Students work together for up to 20 minutes. They are instructed to notify you when finished with the group work, and then to go on to the individual work beginning with question #3. If students are still working together 20 minutes after the testing begins, instruct them to cease their group work and begin individual work. At this point, they may no longer talk. Whether or not they are just beginning their individual work, remind students that they now have about 25 minutes to complete the individual activity.

Students should be ready to work as soon as the period begins. Group assignments should be made in advance. 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.


At this station students should have:
  • one set of four different balls (super ball, ping pong ball, racket ball, rubber ball)
  • 2 meter sticks
  • masking tape
  • piece of string
  • calculator
  • balance scales with weights, if necessary

Advance Preparation:

No advance preparation of materials is 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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