administration student task rubric student work technical quality
Measurement: Length, volume, and temperature
Administration Procedures
Contributed by: Illinois Science Teachers Association (ILS)


Students perform routine laboratory procedures and report results.

The task assesses primary students' abilities to perform measurement and reporting skills.

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:

  • using equipment
  • gathering, organizing, and representing 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.

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.

(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:

MEAS1: Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement:
Grades pre K-5 e. understand such attributes as length, area, weight, volume, and size of angle and select the appropriate type of unit for measuring each attribute

MEAS2: Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements:
Grades pre K-5 c. use tools to measure
Grades pre K-5 f. select and apply appropriate standard units and tools to measure length, area, volume, weight, time, temperature, and the size of angles
Grades pre K-5 g. select and use benchmarks to estimate measurements

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

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 "Measurement: Length, volume, and temperature":

The teacher will need:

  • pen
  • ruler
  • cardboard
  • cups
  • Graduated cylinder
  • scissors
  • plastic bags
At this station students should have:

  • Piece of cardboard
  • ruler
  • Cup A (with a line marked on it)
  • Cup B (3/4 full of water)
  • Graduated cylinder
  • Thermometer

Advance Preparation:

  • Determine the volume of water needed to fill Cup A to the line marked on its side. This volume should be for all stations. The suggested volume is 85 ml. To mark the cup, measure exatly 85 ml in the graduated cylinder and pour into Cup A. With a permanent marker, make several dashes along the water level on the outside of the cup. Then connect these dashes with a continuous line.
  • Place enough water in Cup B to provide students with sufficient water to both measure temperature and measure out 85 ml of water.
  • Allow the water to set for sufficient time to warm to room temperature. Record this temperature in your scoring sheet at the end of this section.
  • Place all materials on top of the table.
  • OPTION: place tape over the English scales of both the thermometer and ruler, thus forcing students to use only metric measurements.


  • 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.


  • Measurement: Length, volume, and temperature is one part of a five part assessment that was administered in Illinois. The other 4 stations are "Classification," "Measurement: Using the balance," "Mystery Boxes," and "Magnetic Testing."
  • Ask students to select and use benchmarks to estimate measurements.
  • Rubric language should be expanded and targeted to the specific NCTM standard(s) to be measured.

Advanced Preparation Set Up

Pour water into cup.

Draw water line.

Label cups and take temperature of cup B.

Cut cardboard.

Organize student work station.


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