Work samples


Year 8

Above satisfactory

Solar car experiment

Summary of task

As part of an integrated STEM project, students had previously designed and built a solar-powered toy car and they used this to investigate the transformation of light energy into electrical and kinetic energy. Students designed and performed an experiment to determine how the angle of the car’s solar panel, relative to the direction of incident radiation, affects the speed of the toy car. Students were explicitly taught how to use spreadsheet software to process and analyse data and represent their results in tabular and graphic form.

In this task, students were presented with data from a similar hypothetical investigation. They were asked to process the data and create a graph of the results using spreadsheet software, analyse and discuss trends, evaluate the method used, and write a conclusion with reference to the stated hypothesis.

This task was given as a class activity to give students an opportunity to practice their skills in processing and representing data using digital technologies, consolidate their understanding of energy transformations in the context of solar cells, and challenge their ability to critically evaluate methods and conclusions of scientific investigations made by others.

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 8, students compare physical and chemical changes and use the particle model to explain and predict the properties and behaviours of substances. They identify different forms of energy and describe how energy transfers and transformations cause change in simple systems. They compare processes of rock formation, including the timescales involved. They analyse the relationship between structure and function at cell, organ and body system levels. Students examine the different science knowledge used in occupations. They explain how evidence has led to an improved understanding of a scientific idea and describe situations in which scientists collaborated to generate solutions to contemporary problems. They reflect on implications of these solutions for different groups in society.

Students identify and construct questions and problems that they can investigate scientifically. They consider safety and ethics when planning investigations, including designing field or experimental methods. They identify variables to be changed, measured and controlled. Students construct representations of their data to reveal and analyse patterns and trends, and use these when justifying their conclusions. They explain how modifications to methods could improve the quality of their data and apply their own scientific knowledge and investigation findings to evaluate claims made by others. They use appropriate language and representations to communicate science ideas, methods and findings in a range of text types.

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