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Interdisciplinary Task: Weather
Administration Procedures

3rd Grade Performance Task
Developed by: Maryland Department of Education
Maryland School Performance Assessment Program, 1992


This series of grade 3 activities are thematically related to the weather and require skills in science, reading, writing, and language arts.

This task assesses students' abilities to observe scientific phenomena, communicate findings, synthesize multiple ideas, develop interpretation/personal response/critical stance, appropriately use language, and write to inform.

This task (18 activities in all) is designed to be given over a period of five days.

Overall Task Content Area:

Earth and Space Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Changes in the earth and sky

Performance Expectations:

  • conducting investigations
  • using equipment
  • gathering, organizing, and representing data
  • formulating conclusions from investigational data

National Science Education Standards:

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.

1.4 Use data to construct a reasonable explanation. This aspect of the standard emphasizes the studentsí thinking as they use data to formulate explanations. Even at the earliest grade levels, students should learn what constitutes evidence and judge the merits or strength of the data and information that will be used to make explanations. After students propose an explanation, they will appeal to the knowledge and evidence they obtained to support their explanations. Students should check their explanations against scientific knowledge, experiences, and observations of others.

1.5 Communicate investigations and explanations. Students should begin developing the abilities to communicate, critique, and analyze their work and the work of other students. This communication might be spoken or drawn as well as written.

4 D ESS 3: Changes in the earth and sky: Grades K-4
3.2 Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons. Weather can be described by measurable quantities, such as temperature, wind direction and speed, and precipitation.

(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:

MEAS2: Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements:
Grades pre K-5 c. use tools to measure

DAP1: Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them:
Grades pre K-5 c. represent data using concrete objects, pictures, and graphs
Grades pre K-5 e. collect data using observations, surveys, and experiments
Grades pre K-5 f. represent data using tables and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs

COM2: Communicate their mathematical thinking coherently and clearly to peers, teachers, and others:
Grades pre K-5

COM3: Analyze and evaluate the mathematical thinking and strategies of others:
Grades pre K-5

CON1: Recognize and use connections among mathematical ideas:
Grades pre K-5

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

REP3: Use representations to model and interpret physical, social, and mathematical phenomena:
Grades pre K-5


General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task (18 activities in all) is designed to be given over a period of five days.

Students will be working both individually and in groups 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 "Weather":

At each station students will need:

  • piece of paper with anemometer outline
  • piece of cardboard
  • string
  • foam ball

Advance Preparation:



  • 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.





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