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Administration Procedures
Grades 9-12 Performance Task
Contributed by: Assessment of Performance Unit
1989 Administration


Students determine the mass, volume, length and area of various objects. The task assesses students' abilities to make simple observations and measurements.

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

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Performance Expectations:

  • applying scientific principles to develop explanations and solve new problems

National Science Education Standards:

12 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry: Grades 9-12
1.3 Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications. A variety of technologies, such as hand tools, measuring instruments, and calculators, should be an integral component of scientific investigations. The use of computers for the collection, analysis, and display of data is also a part of this standard. Mathematics plays an essential role in all aspects of an inquiry. For example, measurement is used for posing questions, formulas are used for developing explanations, and charts and graphs are used for communicating results.

4 B PS 1: Properties of objects and materials: Grades K-4
1.1 Objects have many observable properties, including size, weight, shape, color, temperature, and the ability to react with other substances. Those properties can be measured using tools, such as rulers, balances and thermometers.

(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 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 Instruments:

The teacher will need:
  • graduated cylinder
  • metric ruler
  • balance
  • spring force measurement device
  • rubber bands
  • thermometer
  • flask
  • water
  • stop watch
  • electrical circuit
  • voltmeter
  • ammeter
  • syringe
  • labels

At this station students should have:

  • cylinder with pre-determined amount of water
  • spring scale with weight attached
  • balance with object labeled X
  • pencil with metric ruler
  • flask of water with thermometer in it
  • stop watch with pre-set time
  • circuit with ammeter and voltmeter
  • syringe with pre-determined amount of liquid

Advance Preparation:

  • Fill cylinder with water and note the amount.
  • Attach weight or object to a spring scale with rubber bands and note the force.
  • Label an object "X" and place on balance. Note mass.
  • Tape a pencil to a ruler and note length.
  • Place a thermometer in a flask of water and let come to room temperature over night. Note temperature directly before testing.
  • Start and stop a stop watch so that a set time is displayed. Note time.
  • Connect an ammeter and voltmeter to a circuit and note voltage and current.
  • Fill a syringe with water and note amount.


  • 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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