8th Grade Performance Task
Contributed by: New York State Education Department (NYSED)
NYS Alternative Assessment in Science Project (1996)
Students will determine the relationship between the height of
bounce of a ping-pong ball and the height from which it was dropped.
This task assesses students' abilities to record and interpret
data, graph data, make predictions, and make inferences.
This task is designed to take students approximately 15-20 minutes
Overall Task Content Area:
Specific Knowledge Areas:
Motions and forces
- conducting investigations
- gathering, organizing, and representing data
- formulating conclusions from investigational data
- applying scientific principles to develop explanations
National Science Education Standards:
8 B PS 2: Motions and forces: Grades 5-8
2.1 The motion of an object can be described by its position,
direction of motion, and speed. That motion can be measured and
represented on a graph.
8 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry:
1.4 Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and
models using evidence. Students should base their explanation on
what they observed, and as they develop cognitive skills, they should
be able to differentiate explanation from description — providing
causes for effects and establishing relationships based on evidence
and logical argument. This standards requires a subject knowledge
base so the students can effectively conduct investigations, because
developing explanations establishes connections between the content
of science and the contexts within which students develop new knowledge.
(Use the "hot" link on the PALS home page
to check the full text of related National Science Education Standards,
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:
AL1: Understand patterns, relations and
Grades 6-8 f. represent, analyze, and generalize a variety
of patterns with tables, graphs, words, and, when possible, symbolic
AL4: Analyze change in various contexts
Grades 6-8 e. use graphs to analyze the nature of changes
in quantities in linear relationships
DAP2: Select and use appropriate
statistical methods to analyze data:
Grades 6-8 e. find, use, and interpret measures
of center and spread, including mean and interquartile range
DAP3: Develop and evaluate
inferences and predictions that are based on data:
Grades 6-8 e. use conjectures to formulate
new questions and plan new studies to answer them
NO1: Understand numbers, ways of representing
numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems :
Grades 6-8 q. understand and use ratios and proportions to
represent quantitative relationships
PS1: Build new mathematical knowledge through
RP2: Make and investigate mathematical conjectures:
CON1: Recognize and use connections among
REP1: Create and use representations to
organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas:
General Instructions to the Teacher:
This task is designed to take approximately 15-20 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 "Height of Bounce":
At each station students should have:
- 1 Ping-Pong ball
- 1 box top fitted with a metric scale (0-40 cm)
- 3 books
- masking tape or duct tape
- The metric scale is attached to the outside of a large box top.
A copy paper box works very well.
- Use adhesive metric tape or a tape measure for the scale.
- The box top must be anchored to the workspace with books or
tape before the students begin the task.
- An acceptable range of answers for height of bounce needs to
be established by the teacher before student testing. To establish
ranges for the scoring rubric, testing should be done on the same
surface and with the same equipment that the students will be
- See the scoring rubric for further clarification.
- The Ping-Pong balls will occasionally roll off of the work space.
Instruct the students to retrieve them, but not to run
or disturb others around them.
- Remind students not to throw Ping-Pong balls.
- 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.
- Instead of the box set up, a metric ruler may be taped to a