Grades 912 Performance Task
Contributed by: Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO/SCASS)
Description:
Students conduct an experiment to find out how well different
wires radiate heat when voltage is applied across the wire. Students
will use the results of their experiments to consider how the gauge
of the wire and the type of wire affect the amount of heat radiated.
Then, students will use what they learned from the experiment to
make generalized inferences from their observations, and apply their
understanding to an everyday situation.
This task is designed to take students approximately 4050 minutes
to complete. The activity portion is done in small groups. The followup
questions are completed individually by each student working alone.
Overall Task Content Area:

 Physical Science
Specific Knowledge Areas:

 Interactions of energy 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:
12 B PS 4: Motions and forces: Grades 912
4.3 The electric force is a universal force that exists
between any two charged objects. Opposite charges attract while
like charges repel. The strength of the force is proportional to
the charges, and, as with gravitation, inversely proportional to
the square of the distance between them.
12 B PS 5: Conservation of energy and increase in disorder:
Grades 912
5.3 Heat consists of random motion and the vibrations
of atoms, molecules, and ions. The higher the temperature, the greater
the atomic or molecular motion.
12 B PS 6: Interactions of energy and matter: Grades
912
6.4 In some materials, such as metals, electrons flow
easily, whereas in insulating materials such as glass they can hardly
flow at all. Semiconducting materials have intermediate behavior.
At low temperatures some materials become superconductors and offer
no resistance to the flow of electrons.
12 A SI 1: Ability to do scientific inquiry: Grades
912
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
912
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.
(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:
NO3: Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates:
Grades 912 n. develop fluency in operations with real numbers,
vectors, and matrices, using mental computation or paperandpencil
calculations for simple cases and technology for morecomplicated
cases
Grades 912 o. judge the reasonableness of numerical computations
and their results
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
PS2: Solve problems that arise in mathematics
and in other contexts:
Grades 912
COM4: Use the language of mathematics to
express mathematical ideas precisely:
Grades 912
REP1: Create and use representations to
organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas:
Grades 912
REP3: Use representations to model and interpret
physical, social, and mathematical phenomena:
Grades 912
General Instructions to the Teacher:
This task is designed to take students approximately 4050 minutes
to complete.
Students will be working in groups of 46 for the experiment/activity
part of this exercise. Each student must record the information
in his or her own booklet (test papers). Allow from 20 to 25 minutes
to complete the group work, and a similar time period for students
to do their individual answers to the test questions.
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 accessible. All supplies should be clearly
labeled.
Materials for Electrical Energy:
At this station students should have:

 6volt lantern battery
6 alligator clips
knife switch
crayon
4 wires, labeled (32gauge copper, 36gauge copper, 32gauge steel,
32gauge nichrome)
100 g mass
book
clock
string
scissors
paper towels
metric ruler
1 pen or pencil
Advance Preparation:
You may want to ask students to bring their watches to class on
the day of the exercise.
Please cover the safety concerns of shocks, short circuits, and
burns to all students before beginning this activity. Also, advise
students that the wires will become hot once the circuit is closed.
Students should NOT handle the wires directly until they
have had a chance to adequately cool. During the experiment, the
circuit should be completed using the knife switch ONLY.
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.
