Lesson 11

What's The Matter Plaid Pete?: Mid-Unit Assessment

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SWBAT show what they know about the 8 Science Practices of the Next Generation Science Standards and conducting controlled experiments.

Big Idea

Students take a 3 part Mid-Unit Assessment, before moving on to apply their new Science skills in investigations around the Disciplinary Core Ideas of Matter and Its Interactions.

Investigation Set Up

Connection to the Next Generation Science Standards:

Students who demonstrate understanding of the 8 Science Practices of the Next Generation Science Standards; and the Crosscutting Concept of Cause and Effect will be able to complete this collaborative assessment successfully.  In my classroom, I am aiming for 80% accuracy.

If you would like to take a peek at what Washington State students have to do by the end of the school year, or are looking at some excellent classroom based assessments, the following link to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Washington has some outstanding examples, as well as teacher scoring guides.

Powerful Classroom Assessments - Grade 5

 Preparation time is minimal for this Lesson.  Scoring of the assessment is dependent on the number of students.  I estimate it takes approximately 3-4 minutes per student.  I score a page at a time, which goes much more quickly.


One copy for each student of the What's The Matter Plaid Pete?- Mid-Unit Assessment

One copy of Mid-Unit Assessment - Answer Key



60 minutes


The first time I gave this assessment, I was surprised at how difficult it was for my students, despite all of the scaffolds in place.

After watching a number of students take this assessment (and different versions of it) across multiple years and multiple classrooms, I have come to the realization that because of the language demands, it is best given in a team setting.  This is also consistent with the Next Generation Science Standards which specify students are to "conduct investigations collaboratively."

So, as in previous years, I allow my students to work in their heterogenous teams on this assessment.  They are not allowed to use their Science Notebooks, and I cover the Word Wall Cards.  

When they have finished, I will score the assessment and we will go over it in class together the following day.  

In terms of grading, I have student's check-up scores, and their notebooks to guide me at this mid-point.  Science content will begin next lesson.  By the end of this unit, I will have sufficient data with which to assess every student.

Notebook Revision

When students are finished with the assessment, I tell them to return to page #1 of their Science Notebooks, where they have written the Big Idea for this first half of the unit on the top half of the page:

Big Idea #1:  Scientific Inquiry is the process and practices that scientists engage in to develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas and the natural world.

I read this Big Idea out loud.  I ask students to think about all they have learned in this first half of the unit, and to create a pictures or series of pictures on this half of the page that best represents their new learning.  This is the independent part of the assessment that will give me a window into student understanding.  I allow students time to work and then collect their notebooks.