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Grade 8 Magnetic Fields Task: Administration and Scoring Materials

This page provides the directions and questions as they were presented to students who took the Magnetic Fields task. In addition, following each question is a sample response, the scoring criteria used to judge performance on the question, and performance data for students in the nation.

In this task, students design and conduct investigations based on observations of magnetic properties to determine what materials four metal bars contain using only the metal bars. Students then follow this activity by repeating the investigation using a test magnet and comparing the results of the investigations to confirm their conclusions. Finally, students design and conduct investigations using various materials to compare the strengths of two magnets.

See the test booklet.

Directions and Materials for Magnetic Fields
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3



For this task, you received a kit that contains materials you will use to perform your investigation during the next 40 minutes. Please open your kit now, take all of the things out of the bag, and put them on your desk.

Use the diagram on the next page to check that all of the materials in the diagram are included in your kit. If any materials are missing, raise your hand and the administrator will provide you with the materials you need.


Diagram 1

Picture of a test magnet, four metal bars, a bag of steel washers, a centimeter ruler, and a white piece of paper with a grid.




In this task you will design and conduct an investigation to identify four mystery metal bars using two different methods. You will also make measurements of the magnetic properties of these metal bars.

This task contains the following three parts:

Part 1: Identifying Metal Bars Using Only the Bars
Part 2: Identifying Metal Bars Using the Test Magnet
Part 3: Comparing the Strengths of the Magnets

You will be scored on how well you

  • design your procedures to identify metal bars,
  • design your procedures to compare the strengths of different magnets,
  • record your observations, and
  • provide explanations based on your investigation.

Follow the directions on each page and write your answers to the questions in the spaces provided in your booklet.