Curriculum-Embedded Performance Task
Strand I: Energy Transformations
This curriculum-embedded science performance task is related to the content standards and expected performances for Grades 9-10, as described in the Core Science Curriculum Framework, under Scientific Inquiry, Literacy and Numeracy, Strand I – Energy Transformations.
Students will be able to use solar energy to heat water and understand the design factors that influence the effectiveness of capturing solar energy in this context.
Listed below are the suggested materials for the laboratory exercise. You may use additional materials if they are available.
heat lamps or sunlight tape
aluminum foil water
containers for water colored paper or paint
Teams of two students are ideal for laboratory work, but circumstances may necessitate teams of three students. Students will need a minimum of 90 minutes to complete this laboratory exercise if you expect their lab reports to be written during class time. You should allow at least 60 minutes of instructional time for the students to design and conduct their experiment and a minimum of 30 minutes for the students to write about their results. As an alternative, the students can write their lab report for homework. These time frames are merely suggestions. Additional time is appropriate if the circumstances and schedule at your school call for it. A sample scoring rubric is provided for your convenience or you may design one of your own.
If the weather is unfavorable and the laboratory exercise must take place indoors, heat lamps can be used as an alternative to sunlight. If your students are unfamiliar with solar cookers, various designs and photographs of solar cookers may be found at these and many other sites:
The curriculum-embedded task can be integrated into a unit on energy sources and used in any high school physical or Earth science course. The curriculum-embedded task is intended to be used as a formative assessment during the appropriate instructional unit. The Connecticut Academic Performance Test – Generation III will include some open-ended items that will assess scientific inquiry and communication skills in the same context as this task.
Curriculum-Embedded Laboratory Investigation
3 The problem and hypothesis are stated clearly and completely. Clear identification of independent and dependent variables.
2 The problem and hypothesis are stated adequately. Adequate identification of independent and dependent variables.
1 The problem and/or hypothesis are poorly stated. Poor identification of independent and dependent variable.
0 The statement of the problem and/or hypothesis is very limited or missing altogether. No identification of independent and dependent variables.
3 The experimental design matches the stated problem. Variables are held constant. The procedures are clear, complete and replicable. A control is included when appropriate.
2 The experimental design generally matches the stated problem. Attempt at holding variables constant is made. Procedures are generally complete. Minor modifications or clarifications may be needed.
1 The experimental design matches the stated problem to some extent. Little attempt to hold variables constant. Procedures are incomplete. Major modifications or clarifications may be needed.
0 The experimental design does not match the stated problem, is very incomplete or missing. There is no attempt to hold variables constant.
3 Data are well organized and presented in an appropriate manner.
2 Data are organized and presented in an appropriate manner. Minor errors or omissions may be present.
1 Data are poorly organized or presented in an inappropriate manner. Major omissions or errors may be present.
0 Data are very poorly organized or presented in an inappropriate manner or missing altogether.
3 Conclusions are fully supported by data and address the hypothesis. Reliability of data and validity of conclusions are thoroughly discussed.
2 Conclusions are generally supported by data and address the hypothesis. Minor errors in interpretation of results may be present. Discussion of reliability of data and validity of conclusions is limited.
1 Conclusions are supported by data and address the hypothesis to a limited extent. Major errors in interpretation of results may be present. There is little discussion of the reliability of the data or validity of conclusions.
0 Conclusions are not supported by data, do not address the hypothesis or are missing. There is no discussion of the reliability of data or validity of conclusions.
Excellent performance 10-12 points
Proficient performance 7-9 points
Marginal performance 4-6 points
Unsatisfactory performance 0-3 points