Grades 912 Performance Task
Contributed by: Oregon State Department of Education
Description:
Students investigate factors related to keeping coffee hot.
The task assesses students' understanding of scientific inquiry
including the following skills: observation, background research,
scientific procedures (including investigation design, measurement
techniques, and error analysis), data collection, data display,
scientific questions, formulating a hypothesis, measurement skills.
This task is designed to take students approximately 45 minutes
to gather data, report can be assigned.
Overall Task Content Area:
 Physical Science
Specific Knowledge Areas:
 Conservation of energy
Performance Expectations:
 conducting investigations
 using equipment
 gathering, organizing, and representing data
 formulating conclusions from investigational data
National Science Education Standards:
12 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific
inquiry: Grades 912
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.
8 B PS 3: Transfer of energy: Grades 58
3.2 Heat moves in predictable ways, flowing
from warmer objects to cooler ones, until both reach the same temperature.
(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:
AL3: Use mathematical models to represent
and understand quantitative relationships:
Grades 912 f. draw reasonable conclusions about a situation
being modeled
AL4: Analyze change in various contexts:
Grades 912 f. approximate and interpret rates of change
form graphical and numerical data
MEAS1:Understand measurable attributes of
objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement:
Grades 912 m. make decisions about units and scales that
are appropriate for problem situations involving measurement
DAP1: Formulate questions that can be addressed
with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer
them:
Grades 912 j. understand the differences among various kinds
of studies and which types of inferences can legitimately be drawn
from each
PS1: Build new mathematical knowledge through
problem solving:
Grades 912
RP2: Make and investigate mathematical conjectures:
Grades 912
REP1: Create and use representations to
organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas:
Grades 912
General Instructions to the Teacher:
This task is designed to take students approximately 45 minutes
to gather data, report can be assigned. .
Students should be ready to work as soon as periods begin. A central
supply area, if needed, should be easily accessible. All supplies
should be clearly labeled.
Materials for "Coffee Cooling":
The student will need:
 various insulators
 thermometers
 containers
 hot coffee
 measuring apparatus
 coffee additives
Advance Preparation:
Actual Prompt:
There are several approaches that a teacher can take to set up
this investigation. Three possible approaches are given here and
are given in order from greatest student freedom to greatest teacher
direction:
1. To allow for a wide range of student investigations,
do a classroom demonstration or lab showing the temperature of beaker
that initially has ice water and is heated to boiling, left boil
for two minutes, then allow to aircool for 5 min. Graphing this
data would be useful.
Here is a possible contextual situation to help frame an investigation.
"Coffee, espressos, and lattes have become more and more popular
in the Pacific Northwest. Keeping coffee hot has become important
to a lot of companies. What things affect how long coffee stays
hot?
Here are some topics that students may choose, or they may choose
their own topics. Teachers may propose a list of topics or let students
generate it. Some topics will not be useable if certain equipment
is unavailable. One possible strategy to get students to research
different questions would be to put students in groups of four and
insist that each student choose a different question. Topics to
consider:
 insulation thickness
 container surface area
 temperature of coffee
 size of opening of container
 air currents around container
 temperature of outside air
 coffee additives (such as milk or sugar)
 amount of coffee
(Note: Be sure to discuss the importance of a uniform starting
temperature.)
 To narrow the range of student investigation, use the
same classroom demonstration and context as above, but have student
investigations limited to one particular topic (a sample prompt:
"Ask a question and propose a hypothesis relating the container's
insulation and how long coffee will stay hot.").
 Use this topic with the teacher presenting the initial
question. Using this technique means that the scoring guide
will not be used on the initial question and hypothesis. Instead,
after conducting the investigation and analysis, students will
propose a question and/or hypothesis for possible future investigation.
The teacher can decide whether or not the investigation will actually
be conducted (example of prompt: "What effect does the amount
of coffee have on the coffee's cooling rate?").
After conducting the investigation and analyzing it, at the end
of their report, students would be required to propose a question/hypothesis
related to cooling of a substance for further study. It is up to
the teacher whether the students would need to design, or possibly
even conduct and analyze this extension investigation.
Safety:
 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:
