administration student task rubric student work technical quality
Colored Dots 1
Administration Procedures
Contributed by: New York State Alternative Assessment in Science Project (NYSED)
4th Grade Performance Task
1996 Administration


Students observe bleeding of colored inks with water. The task assesses students' abilities to make simple observations, their understanding of mixtures, and make generalized inferences from their observations.

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

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

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:

4 B PS 1: Properties of matter: 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.

4 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry: Grades K-4
1.3 Employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the senses. In early years, students develop simple skills, such as how to observe, measure, cut, connect, switch, turn on and off, pour, hold, tie, and hook. Beginning with simple instruments, students can use rulers to measure the length, height, and depth of objects and materials; thermometers to measure temperature; watches to measure time; beam balances and spring scales to measure weight and force; magnifiers to observe objects and organisms; and microscopes to observe the finer details of plants, animals, rocks, and other materials. Children also develop skills in the use of computers and calculators for conducting investigations.

(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 pre K-5 a. sort, classify, and order objects by size, number, and other properties

AL4: Analyze change in various contexts :
Grades pre K-5 a. describe qualitative change, such as a student's growing taller

RP2: Make and investigate mathematical conjectures:
Grades pre K-5

COM1: Organize and consolidate their mathematical thinking through communication:
Grades pre K-5

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.


The Teacher needs:

  • 1 yellow water soluble marker
  • 1 red water soluble marker (dot B)
  • 1 blue permanent marker
  • 1 red permanent marker (dot A)
  • scissors
  • 1 thin line black permanent marker
  • extra paper towel
  • extra prepared filter papers (9 cm)

At this station students should have:

  • 1-5 oz clear plastic cup of water
  • 1- filter paper with colored dots
  • paper towel

Advance Preparation:

  1. Cut the filter paper with 4 tabs (about 1 cm x 3 cm) as shown in the diagram below. Place a different dot on each of the four tabs about 1 cm from the end.

  2. On the clear plastic cup, draw a thin line with a black permanent marker all the way around the cup about 4 cm from the bottom of the cup.

  3. The line will serve as a fill line for the water. The tabs from the filter paper should just reach the top of the water line.

  4. You may have to adjust the tab cuts on the filter paper or the fill line on the clear glass.


  • 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.


  • Colored Dots 2 and Colored Dots 3
  • Task does not easily lend itself to including mathematical criteria in the rubric.


Teacher: 1) Mark filter paper with dots.
2) Cut flaps.
3) Draw "water line" in cup.


Student: 1) Fill cup with water to "water line." 2) Place filter in cup.



©1997-2005 SRI International. All rights reserved. Terms of Use