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Grade 12 Task: Bicycle Materials

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Sample Task

Analyze the properties of different metals to determine which would be best for producing a lightweight and strong bicycle frame.

Bicycle Materials is a 15-minute interactive computer task in Physical Science that assesses the properties of matter and changes in matter. Students analyze the atomic structure and physical properties (density and hardness) of three different metals to determine the best material to use for a lightweight and strong bicycle frame. The task assesses students’ understanding of how chemical elements are grouped in the periodic table based on similar characteristics and how this grouping can be used to predict an element’s physical and chemical properties. Concepts assessed include how the number and arrangement of electrons of an atom determine the types of chemical bonds that can form between atoms. Students are asked to make predictions about the properties of metals based on their atomic structure and use evidence to support scientific explanations about the chemical and physical properties of metals.

Bicycle stored in the corner of a room
Content area:
Physical Science
Using Science Principles and Using Scientific Inquiry
Learn about content areas and practices
Task type:
Interactive Computer Task
Task time:
15 minutes

Key findings about student performance on selected questions from this task.

Students were able to apply their Physical Science knowledge and scientific inquiry skills to do the following:

27% of students were able to use the periodic table of elements to identify the common properties of three metallic elements.

14% of students were able to explain how the electron configuration of an atom determines the chemical properties of an element.

36% of students were able to explain how the arrangement of atoms in a crystal structure affects the density of a metal.

44% of students were able to identify and explain the best metal to use for making a lightweight and strong bicycle frame using evidence gathered about the metal’s physical properties.

Try the Bicycle Materials task yourself and see student performance and scoring guides for all task questions.

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Task Simulation

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You can experience this task just as students did to understand how they applied their science knowledge and skills to read-world problem-solving scenarios. Select the play button below to start the task. After completing the task you can see the results alongside those of students.