ASSESSMENT TYPE: This can be public, group, or individual, embedded in teaching.

ASSESSMENT PURPOSE: This activity assesses student progress toward understanding the purpose and processes of design. The information will be used to plan the next design activity. The activity also permits the teacher to gather data about understanding of sound.

DATA: Observations of the student performances.

CONTEXT: Third-grade students have just completed a design project. Their task is to present the product of their work to their peers and talk about what they learned about sound and design as a result of doing the project. This is a challenging task for third-grade students, and the teacher will have to provide considerable guidance to the groups of students as they plan their presentations. The following directions provide a framework that students can use to plan their presentations.

  1. Play your instrument for the class.

  2. Show the class the part of the instrument that makes the sound.

  3. Describe to the class the purpose (function) that other parts of the instrument have.

  4. Show the class how you can make the sound louder.

  5. Show the class how you can change the pitch (how high or how low the sound is) of the sound.

  6. Tell the class about how you made the instrument, including

    1. What kind of instrument did you want to make?

    2. How like the instrument you wanted to make is the one you actually made?

    3. Why did you change your design?

    4. What tools and materials did you use to make your instrument?

  1. Explain why people make musical instruments.

EVALUATING STUDENT PERFORMANCE: Student understanding of sound will be revealed by understanding that the sound is produced in the instrument by the part of the instrument that vibrates (moves rapidly back and forth), that the pitch (how high or how low) can be changed by changing how rapidly the vibrating part moves, and the loudness can be changed by the force (how hard you pluck, tap, or blow the vibrating part) with which the vibrating part is set into motion. An average student performance would include the ability to identify the source of the vibration and ways to change either pitch or loudness in two directions (raise and lower the pitch of the instrument or make the instrument louder and softer) or change the pitch and loudness in one direction (make the pitch higher and the sound louder). An exemplary performance by a student would include not only the ability to identify the source of the vibration but also to change pitch and loudness in both directions.

Student understanding of the nature of technology will be revealed by the students' ability to reflect on why people make musical instruments—e.g., to improve the quality of life—as well as by their explanations of how they managed to make the instrument despite the constraints faced—that is, the ability to articulate why the conceptualization and design turned out to be different from the instrument actually made.

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