Level 3

Alaska Science
Key Element

A student who meets the content standard should use the processes of science; these processes include observing, classifying, measuring, interpreting data, inferring, communicating, controlling variables, developing models and theories, hypothesizing, predicting, and experimenting.


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Performance Standard Level 3, Ages 11–14

Students hypothesize, make qualitative and quantitative observations, control experimental variables, interpret data; and use this information to explain everyday phenomena and make predictions.

Sample Assessment Ideas

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Sample Assessment Ideas

  • Students predict date of ice break-up on the river or ocean based on qualitative and quantitative observations of temperature, ice thickness, rate of run-off, and wind factors.

  • Students identify the variables involved in local erosion, including water levels, wave action, nature of soil, wind, etc.

Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

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Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

  • Students design several boats, using the same material, to test their own hypotheses about the relationship between mass, volume, and water displacement.


Students will:

  1. Design and build a boat that will move a 2 kg mass across a wading pool or large tub. Use a variety of materials.

  2. Test the design. Review results and repeat with a design change.

  3. Keep a daily log during the construction and testing. Include observations, measurements, predictions, data collection, and controlled variables.

  4. Explain relationships of design differences and ability to hold increased mass.

Reflection and Revision

Compare boat designs with other groups and suggest changes to their boat designs.


Levels of Performance

Stage 4
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Student work is correct, complete, and appropriate. It includes evidence-based hypothesis, accurate measurements and observations, control of all relevant variables, and uses data to design the second boat. Boat designs are creative and elaborate.
Stage 3
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Student work is generally correct, complete, and appropriate. It includes evidence-based hypothesis, accurate measurements and observations, control of all relevant variables, and uses data to design the boat. Boat designs are functional.
Stage 2
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Student’s hypothesis is reasonable, some variables are controlled, measurements and observations are generally accurate, though there may be flaws. Boat designs show some use of the data collected.
Stage 1
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Student shows little or no ability to complete the task. The hypothesis is not relevant. Variables are not identified or controlled. Observations are mostly flawed. Boat designs are not functional.
Standards Cross-Reference green rule

Standards Cross-References
( Alaska Department of Education & Early Development Standards

National Science Education Standards

Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data. The use of tools and techniques, including mathematics, will be guided by the question asked and the investigations students design. The use of computers for the collection, summary, and display of evidence is part of this standard. Students should be able to access, gather, store, retrieve, and organize data, using hardware and software designed for these purposes. (Page 145)

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 standard requires a subject-matter 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. (Page 145)

Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations. Thinking critically about evidence includes deciding what evidence should be used and accounting for anomalous data. Specifically, students should be able to review data from a simple experiment, summarize the data, and form a logical argument about the cause-and-effect relationships in the experiment. Students should begin to state some explanations in terms of the relationship between two or more variables. (Page 145)

Communicate scientific procedures and explanations. With practice, students should become competent at communicating experimental methods, following instructions, describing observations, summarizing the results of other groups, and telling other students about investigations and explanations. (Page 148)

Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry. Mathematics is essential to asking and answering questions about the natural world. Mathematics can be used to ask questions; to gather, organize, and present data; and to structure convincing explanations. (Page 148)

Mathematics is important in all aspects of scientific inquiry. (Page 148)

Technology used to gather data enhances accuracy and allows scientists to analyze and quantify results of investigations. (Page 148)



If more than one variable changes at the same time in an experiment, the outcome of the experiment may not be clearly attributable to any one of the variables. It may not always be possible to prevent outside variables from influencing the outcome of an investigation (or even to identify all of the variables), but collaboration among investigators can often lead to research designs that are able to deal with such situations. (Page 12)

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