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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2011, High School Intro Physics

  Question 23: Open-Response  
Students in a physics class are studying the energy changes that objects experience as they fall. The students plan to drop a metal sphere with a mass of 0.05 kg from a height of 20.0 m onto a bed of sand. They predicted the results shown in the table below.
Time (s)Speed (m/s)Distance Fallen (m)Height (m)
0.000.020.0
0.551.318.7
1.0105.015.0
1.51511.38.7
2.02020.00.0
  1. Using the predicted values in the table, calculate the kinetic energy of the sphere just before it contacts the sand at 2.0 s. Show your calculations and include units in your answer.
  2. Using the predicted values in the table, calculate the gravitational potential energy at 0.0 s. Show your calculations and include units in your answer.
  3. Describe what happens to the gravitational potential energy and the kinetic energy as the sphere falls.
After the sphere is dropped, the students find that the results of the experiment are slightly different than they predicted.
  1. Assuming the students performed their calculations correctly, explain one possible reason for the difference they observed.

Scoring Guide and Sample Student Work
Select a score point in the table below to view the sample student response.

ScoreDescription
4 Response demonstrates a thorough understanding of how energy can be transformed from gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy. Response correctly calculates the kinetic energy, the gravitational potential energy, describes the energy conversion, and explains one reason for an observed difference.
4
3 Response demonstrates a general understanding of how energy can be transformed from gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy.
2 Response demonstrates a limited understanding of how energy can be transformed from gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy.
1 Response demonstrates a minimal understanding of how energy can be transformed from gravitational potential energy to kinetic energy.
0 The response is incorrect or contains some correct work that is irrelevant to the skill or concept being measured.

Note: There are 2 sample student responses for Score Point 4.

High School Intro Physics

Question 12: Electromagnetism
Question 23: Motion and Forces
Question 32: Waves and Radiation
Question 44: Motion and Forces
Question 45: Heat and Heat Transfer

Return to the MCAS 2011 Student Work Directory



Last Updated: August 24, 2016
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