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Identifying Creatures
Administration Procedures

4th Grade Performance Task
Contributed by: New York State Education Department (NYSED)
NYS Alternative Assessment in Science Project (1996)


Students will identify three (3) creatures using a classification key.

This task assesses students' abilities to interpret data, make decisions, identify, and classify.

This task is designed to take approximately 15-20 minutes to complete.

Overall Task Content Area:

Life Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Understandings About Scientific Inquiry

Performance Expectations:

  • organizing and representing data

National Science Education Standards:

4 A SI 2: Understandings About Scientific Inquiry: Grades K-4
2.2 Scientists use different kinds of investigations depending on the questions they are trying to answer. Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting).

(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.

DAP1: Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them:
Grades pre K-5 b. sort and classify objects according to their attributes and organize data about the objects

GEO1: Analyze characteristics and properties of two- and three-dimensional shapes and develop mathematical arguments about geometric relationships:
Grades pre K-5 b. describe attributes and parts of two- and three-dimensional shapes

GEO3: Apply transformations and use symmetry to analyze mathematical situations:
Grades pre K-5 b. recognize and create shapes that have symmetry

PS2: Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts:
Grades pre K-5

REP1: Create and use representations to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas:
Grades pre K-5

General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task is designed to take approximately 15-20 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 "Identifying Creatures":

The teacher will need:

  • none

At each station students should have:

  • Student task sheet & Creature sheet




  • 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.


  • Rubric language should be expanded and targeted to the specific NCTM standard(s) to be measured.


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