Grade 912 Performance Task
Developed by: New York State Education Department (NYSED)
University of Buffalo and NORC (1991, revised 1993)
Description:
One of the tests that scientists can use to identify
a substance is to measure its index of refraction through the
Snell's Law equation. In this activity, students, as scientists
in the Consumer Protection Agency, will determine whether the
index of refraction of a sample of Corn Syrup meets Federal standards.
This task assesses students' abilities to develop
procedures for investigation, plan for recording and organizing
observations and data, make quality observations and collect quality
data, create a graph appropriate to the data trend, calculate
slope using trigonometric principles, and make conclusions consistent
with scientific principles.
This task is designed to take students approximately
80 minutes to complete  30 minutes for Part A and 50 minutes
for Part B.
Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science
Specific Knowledge Areas:

Transfer of energy
Performance Expectations:

conducting investigations

using equipment

gathering, organizing, and representing data

formulating conclusions from investigational
data

applying scientific principles to develop
explanations
National Science Eduation Standards:
8 B PS 3: Transfer of energy: Grades 58
3.3 Light interacts with matter by transmission (including
refraction), absorption, or scattering (including reflection).
To see an object, light from that object — emitted by or scattered
from it — must enter the eye.
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.
1.3 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.
(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
AL1: Understand patterns, relations and
functions:
Grades 912 n. interpret representations of functions of
two variables
AL2: Recognize and analyze mathematical
situations and structures using algebraic symbols:
Grades 912 l. use symbolic algebra to represent and explain
mathematical relationships
DAP1: Formulate questions that can be
addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant
data to answer them:
Grades 912 l. understand the meaning of measurement data
and categorical data, of univariate and bivariate data, and of
the term variable
MEAS2: Apply appropriate techniques, tools,
and formulas to determine measurements:
Grades 912 r. apply informal concepts of successive approximation,
upper and lower bounds, and limit in measurement situations
PS4: Monitor and reflect on the process
of mathematical problem solving:
Grades 912
RP3: Develop and evaluate mathematical
arguments and proofs:
Grades 912
CNX2: Understand how mathematical ideas
interconnect and build on one another to produce a coherent whole:
Grades 912
General Instructions to the Teacher:
This task is designed to take approximately 80 minutes
to complete  30 minutes for Part A and 50 minutes for Part B.
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 "Snell's Law":
At each station students should have:
Note: Students will not have to trace the rays through the syrup;
the tracings will be supplied to them. The ray diagram is in the
student booklet. They will only be interpreting the data. The equipment
is made available to help them in Part A.