administration student task rubric student work technical quality
Magnetic Testing
Administration Procedures
Contributed by: Illinois Science Teachers Association (ILS)


Students make observations then use their experience to make a prediction.

The task assesses primary students' abilities to observe differences and similarities and make predictions.

This task is designed to take students approximately 8 minutes to complete.

Overall Task Content Area:

Physical Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Properties of Objects and Materials

Performance Expectations:

  • conducting investigations
  • applying scientific principles to develop explanations and solve new problems

National Science Education Standards:

4 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry: Grades K-4
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 B PS 1: Properties of Objects and Materials: 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 B PS 3: Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism: Grades K-4

3.4 Magnets attract and repel each other and certain kinds of other materials.

(Use the "hot" link on the PALS home page to check the full text of related National Science Education Standards, if desired.)

General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task is designed to take students approximately 8 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 "Magnetic Testing":

The teacher will need:

  • plastic bags
  • washers
  • nails
  • pennies
  • popsicle sticks
  • rubber bands
  • magnets

At this station students should have:

  • Plastic bag containing objects and a magnet

Advance Preparation:

  • Place set of objects in plastic bag.
  • Place all materials on top of table.


  • 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.


  • Magnetic Testing is one part of a five part assessment that was administered in Illinois. The other 4 stations are "Measurement: Length, volume, and temperature," "Measurement: Using the balance," "Classification," and "Mystery Boxes."

Advance Preparation Set Up:

Organize student work station with items in bag.


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