4th Grade Performance Task
Contributed by: The New York State Education Department (NYSED)
1996 Administration
Description:
Students will test the solubility of different items used in packing.
Based on their observations, the student will explain which of the
materials would be least harmful to the environment.
The task assesses students' ability to make simple observations
and make generalized inferences from their observations.
This task is designed to take students approximately 1520 minutes
to complete.
Overall Task Content Area:
 Physical Science
Specific Knowledge Areas:
 Properties of matter
Performance Expectations:
 conducting investigations
 using equipment
 gathering, organizing, and representing data
 formulating conclusions from investigational data
 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 K4
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 matter: Grades K4
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 E ST 2: Understanding about science and technology:
Grades K4
2.2 People have always had problems and invented tools and
techniques (ways of doing something) to solve problems. Trying to
determine the effects of solutions helps people avoid some new problems.
(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:
AL4: Analyze change in various contexts :
Grades pre K5 a. describe qualitative change, such as a student's
growing taller
DAP1: Formulate questions that can
be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant
data to answer them:
Grades pre K5 f. represent data using tables
and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs
CON3: Recognize and apply mathematics in contexts outside
of mathematics:
Grades pre K5
REP3: Use representations to model and interpret physical,
social, and mathematical phenomena:
Grades pre K5
General Instructions to the Teacher:
This task is designed to take students approximately 1520 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 Packing Materials:
Central Supply:
 water waste bucket
 jug of warm water
At this station students should have:
 4 clear cups with warm water (at least 7 oz)
 4 stirring sticks (coffee stir sticks)
 waste cup
 1 biodegradable (starch) packing pellet
 1 piece of freshly popped corn
 1 piece of newspaper (5cm square)
 1 Styrofoam packing peanut
 hand lens
 paper towels
Advance Preparation:
 Cut newspaper into 5 cm square pieces.
 Label cups A, B, C, and D for each student station.
 Put warm tap water into each of the cups at the stations just
prior to student testing.
 Keep a jug of warm water handy to replenish cups C and D at
each of the student stations after each student test.
 Put cupful of each of the test items at each of the student
stations. The children will then have access to the supplies and
the teacher will not have to replenish after each student finishes.
 After each student, cups C and D will need to be thrown out
and replaced by the teacher.
 Starch packing pellets can be obtained from a science supply
company or mailing (UPS) center.
 Popcorn should be freshly popped (within 24 hours).
Safety:
 Instruct the students not to eat any of the materials.
 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/modifications:
 Task does not easily lend itself to including mathematical
criteria in the rubric.
Advanced Preparation Set Up:
Label cups AD.

Cut newspaper samples.

Prepare cups of materials.

Help students pour water into cups if necessary.

