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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2013, High School Intro Physics

  Question 44: Open-Response  
A student heats a 200 g sample of water from 20°C to 80°C. The specific heat of water is 4.18 J/g • °C.
  1. Calculate the thermal energy absorbed by the water. Show your calculations and include units in your answer.
The student then boils the water.
  1. Describe what happens to the temperature of the water as it boils. Explain your answer.
The student repeats the experiment, this time placing a small block of iron into another 200 g sample of water. The specific heat of iron is 0.45 J/g • °C. Both the iron and the water are initially at 20°C and are heated to 80°C.
  1. Compare the amount of thermal energy absorbed by the water in this experiment with your calculation in part (a). Explain your answer.
  2. Describe how repeating the second experiment with a block made of a material with a greater specific heat will affect the amount of time it takes to heat the block. Assume the blocks have the same mass.

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

ScoreDescription
4 The response demonstrates a thorough understanding of the relationship between thermal energy, temperature change, mass, and specific heat. The response correctly calculates the thermal energy absorbed by the water. The response clearly describes what happens to the temperature of the water as it boils and explains the answer. The response correctly compares the amount of thermal energy absorbed by the water in the first and second experiments and clearly explains the answer. The response also clearly describes how using a material with a greater specific heat will affect the time it takes to heat the block.
4
3
The response demonstrates a general understanding of the relationship between thermal energy, temperature change, mass, and specific heat.
2
The response demonstrates a limited understanding of the relationship between thermal energy, temperature change, mass, and specific heat.
1
The response demonstrates a minimal understanding of the relationship between thermal energy, temperature change, mass, and specific heat.
0 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: Motion and Forces
Question 44: Heat and Heat Transfer
Question 45: Waves and Radiation

Return to the MCAS 2013 Student Work Directory



Last Updated: March 12, 2015
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