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How Effective is Perspiration at Cooling?
Administration Procedures

Grades 9-12 Performance Task
Contributed by: New York State Alternative Assessment in Science Project (NYSED)


Students collect data on the cooling of water in two different test tubes- one wrapped in wet newspaper and one in dry newspaper. They then identify trends in their data, make predictions, and describe how their experiment is similar to the body's perspiration.

The task assesses students' abilities to make simple observations, gather and collect data, identify trends and make predictions, and to demonstrate their understanding by relating the experiment to real life.

This task is designed to take students approximately 25-30 minutes to complete.

Overall Task Content Area:

Life Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Regulation and behavior

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 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.

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 5-8
3.2 Heat moves in predictable ways, flowing from warmer objects to cooler ones, until both reach the same temperature.

8 C LS 3: Regulation and behavior: Grades 5-8
3.2 Regulation of an organismís internal environment involves sensing the internal environment and changing physiologic activities to keep conditions within the range required to survive.

(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:

AL1: Understand patterns, relations and functions:
Grades 9-12 k. analyze functions of one variable by investigating rates of change, intercepts, zeros, asymptotes, and local and global behavior

AL3: Use mathematical models to represent and understand quantitative relationships:
Grades 9-12 f. draw reasonable conclusions about a situation being modeled

AL4: Analyze change in various contexts :
Grades 9-12 f. use graphs to analyze the nature of changes in quantities in linear relationships

DAP1: Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them:
Grades 9-12 l. understand the meaning of measurement data and categorical data, of univariate and bivariate data, and of the term variable
Grades 9-12 m. understand histograms, parallel box plots, and scatter plots and use them to display data

PS2: Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts:
Grades 9-12

COM2: Communicate their mathematical thinking coherently and clearly to peers, teachers, and others:
Grades 9-12

REP1: Create and use representations to organize , record, and communicate mathematical ideas:
Grades 9-12

General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task is designed to take students approximately 25-30 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 "How Effective is Perspiration at Cooling":

At this station students should have:

  • two test tubes
  • test tube rack - clear container to hold test tubes upright
  • newspaper- cut into strips the same length as the test tubes
  • hot water- in styrofoam or insulated cups
  • thermometers- that fit in the test tubes
  • 4 rubber bands
  • eye dropper
  • funnel

Advance Preparation:

  • Cut strips of newspaper that are the same length as the test tubes.
  • Prepare a source of hot water (32 degrees Celsius) so that students will have water samples that are a consistent temperature for the experiment.


  • Be careful when using the hot water.
  • 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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