administration student task rubric student work technical quality
Best Place in the United States to Live
Administration Procedures
Contributed by: Kentucky Department of Education (KDE)


Students, working as a group, will use information provided to make a logical determination of the best place to live in the United States. Then, students, working individually, must answer several questions requiring further explanation and analysis.

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

Overall Task Content Area:

Science in personal and social perspectives

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Natural and human-induced hazards
Performance Expectations:
  • 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 F SPSP 5: Natural and human-induced hazards: Grades 9-12
1.1 Hazards and the potential for accidents exist. Regardless of the environment, the possibility of injury, illness, disability, or death may be present. Humans have a variety of mechanisms — sensory, motor, emotional, social, and technological — that can reduce and modify hazards.

1.2 The severity of disease symptoms is dependent on many factors, such as human resistance and the virulence of the disease producing organism. Many diseases can be prevented, controlled, or cured. Some diseases, such as cancer, result from specific body dysfunctions and cannot be transmitted.

1.3 Personal choice concerning fitness and health involves multiple factors. Personal goals, peer and social pressures, ethnic and religious beliefs, and understanding of biological consequences can all influence decisions about health practices.

1.4 An individual’s mood or behavior may be modified by substances. The modification may be beneficial or detrimental depending on the motives, type of substance, duration of use, pattern of use, level of influence, and short- and long- term effects. Students should understand that drugs can result in physical dependence and can increase the risk of injury, accidents, and death.

12 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry: Grades 9-12
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.

(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 (3-5). After 20 minutes has elapsed, separate the members of the group and instruct them to complete the task (questions #2-6) on their own.

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.

Materials for Best Places to Live:

At this station students should have:

  • information provided on maps
  • one set of acetate U.S. map sheets (for group use)
  • one marker set

The students need a flat surface work area where they can work with their paper sets.

Advance Preparation:

None is required unless the teacher decides to provide the students with more information (geographical, statistical, etc.) than the maps included in the Student Directions section of this test.


  • 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.


©1997-2005 SRI International. All rights reserved. Terms of Use