4th Grade Performance Task
Contributed by: New York State Education Department (NYSED)
NYS Alternative Assessment in Science Project (1996)
Description:
Students will use an electrical tester to determine
where electricity flows between circles on a mystery card.
This task assesses students' abilities to observe,
record, and interpret data, generalize and infer, and create a diagram.
This task is designed to take students approximately
10 minutes to complete.
Overall Task Content Area:
 Physical Science
Specific Knowledge Areas:
 Transfer of energy
Performance Expectations:
 conducting investigations
 using equipment
 gathering, organizing, and representing data
 formulating conclusions
National Science Education Standards:
4 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific
inquiry: Grades K4
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 students’ 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.
4 B PS 3: Light, heat, electricity, and
magnetism: Grades K4
3.3 Electricity in circuits can produce light, heat, sound,
and magnetic effects. Electrical circuits require a complete loop
through which an electrical current can pass.
(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:
AL3: Use mathematical models to represent and understand
quantitative relationships:
Grades pre K5 b. model problem situations with objects and
use representations such as graphs, tables, and equations to draw
conclusions.
DAP3: Develop and evaluate inferences and predictions
that are based on data:
Grades pre K5 b. propose and justify conclusions
and predictions that are based on data and design studies to further
investigate the conclusions ore predictions
RP3: Develop and evaluate mathematical arguments and
proofs:
Grades pre K5
CON3: Recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside
of mathematics:
Grades pre K5
REP2: Select, apply, and translate among mathematical
representations to solve problems:
Grades pre K5
General Instructions to the Teacher:
This task is designed to take most students 10 minutes
to complete.
Students will be working individually for the experiment/activity
part of this exercise.
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 "Mystery Card 3":
The teacher will need:
 4" X 6" index cards
 heavy duty foil
 hole punch
 masking tape
 permanent black marker
 heavy duty, clear packing tape
At each station students should have:
 1 Dcell battery
 1 battery holder
 3  6" wires with alligator clips
 1 flashlight bulb (1 or 1.5 volts)
 1 bulb holder
 1 circuit card
Preparation:
 The circuit card can be made by taping aluminum foil (heavy
duty) between two 4" X 6" or 5" X 8" index
cards. You can use old folders or poster board too. It is better
to use colored index cards rather than white because they are
not as see through.
 Punch holes for the terminals and label on one of the index
cards. A standard size hole punch is large enough.
Index card #1
 Cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to fit over the top
of the six terminals. Heavy duty aluminum foil works the best.
 Cut out the bottom middle of the aluminum foil so that terminal
"E" is not connected to the other terminals.
 Tape the foil securely to the index card.
 It is important to put foil over all of the terminals
because it is visible in each of the holes.
 Be sure that you do not put tape over the top of the
terminals or the test card will not work properly.
Index card #2
 Tape the two index cards together on all four sides so
that is cannot be taken apart easily. Clear packing tape works
well for this.
 Connect wires, bulb, and battery to form an electrical tester
(see diagram on student ask sheet).
 Be sure that all the electrical testers and mystery cards are
in good working condition before students begin the task. It may
be necessary to use two (2) batteries for the light bulbs to light
sufficiently.
Safety:
 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.
Extensions and Modifications:
 Mystery Card 1 and Mystery Card 2
 Have students create their own mystery cards.
 Task does not easily lend itself to including mathematical criteria
in the rubric.
