4th Grade Performance Task
Contributed by: Kentucky Department of Education (KDE)
Description:
In this task students will determine that a complete circuit is needed
to light the bulbs, experiment with the boards to develop strategies
for finding where the hidden connections are, and develop strategies
that can be used to efficiently solve circuit problems other than
on a circuit board.
Groups of students will use a battery pack and bulb to study an
electrical circuit board that is open underneath to expose connections
between some of the contacts on top of the board. From this experience
they will proceed to a closed board to use observations of the surface
connections that make the bulb light to decide what the hidden connections
under the board must be. Individuals will describe strategies that
they think are best for investigating the structure of the hidden
wires in the circuit board and in other electrical systems.
This task is designed to take students approximately 45 minutes
to complete.
Overall Task Content Area:

 Physical Science
Specific Knowledge Areas:

 Electricity
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: Science as inquiry: Grades K4
1.2 Plan and conduct an investigation. In the earliest years,
investigations are largely based on systematic observations. As
students develop, they may design and conduct simple experiments
to answer questions. The idea of a fair test is possible for many
students to consider by fourth grade.
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 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.
DAP1: Formulate questions that can
be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant
data to answer them:
Grades pre K5 d. design investigations
to address a question and consider how data collection methods affect
the nature of the data set
RP3: Develop and evaluate mathematical arguments and
proofs:
Grades pre K5
COM3: Analyze and evaluate the mathematical thinking
and strategies of others:
Grades pre K5
REP1: Create and use representations to organize, record,
and communicate mathematical ideas:
Grades pre K5
General Instructions to the Teacher:
This task is designed to take students approximately 45 minutes
to complete.
Students may work in groups of 4 (35) for the experiment/activity
part of this exercise. Students work together for up to 30 minutes.
They are instructed to notify you when finished with the group work,
and then to go on to the individual work. If students are still
working together 30 minutes after the testing begins, instruct them
to cease their group work and begin individual work. At this point,
they may no longer talk. Whether or not they are just beginning
their individual work, remind students that they now have about
15 minutes to complete the individual activity.
Students should be ready to work as soon as the period begins.
Group assignments should be made in advance. 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 "Pathfinder":
At this station students should have:
 An open circuit board ("practice board") made so that connections
under the board between some of the contacts on top may be studied
 A closed circuit board ("puzzle boad") with an unknown pattern
of connections between some of the contacts on top.
 A "tester" consisting of a battery pack connected to a light
bulb with two flexible wire leads with clip ends.
 A supply of flexible wires with clips that can be connected
to the contacts on the board.
 pencils
 scratch paper
Advance Preparation:
Be certain that the batteries are fresh and that the bulbs are
good before beginning this task.
Note: After the group work is done, each student will need to
be provided with an additional "puzzle" board (different from the
one used for the group work) in order to complete the individual
work portion of the test.
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/modifications:
 Task does not easily lend itself to including mathematical
criteria in the rubric
Advanced Preparation Set Up:
Make sure that all bulbs and batteries work before test.

Use circuit boards where the connections can be viewed on
one side.

Each student will need 3 boards 2 which are covered with
an index card.

For each student label one board"puzzle" and one
board "new puzzle.

Prepare student work station.

Make sure that apparatus works.

