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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

2015, High School Intro Physics

  Question 44: Open-Response  
A student was investigating cooling times for two pots made of different materials. One pot was stainless steel and the other pot was iron. The pots were placed on a table in a 25°C room. The pots were roughly the same size and shape, and contained the same amount of water. The pots and water were originally at 100°C. The student recorded the temperature of the water in each pot over time. The graph below shows the results.
A graph is shown with horizontal axis labeled time in hours and the vertical axis labeled temperature in degrees Celsius. The graph shows the temperature of each pot at different times with lines connecting each of the different points. The resulting curve for the stainless steel pot is higher on the graph than the resulting curve for the iron pot. The data recorded by the student for the iron pot are one-hundred degrees at zero hours, eighty-five degrees at point two five hours, seventy-eight degrees at point four hours, sixty-six degrees at point seven five hours, sixty-two degrees at point eight hours, fifty-one degrees at one point four hours, and thirty-nine degrees at two point six hours.
  1. Determine the amount of time it took the water in the iron pot to cool from 100°C to 60°C.
  1. Based on the graph, which pot, the iron pot or the stainless steel pot, was a better conductor of thermal energy? Explain your answer.
  1. Identify two methods of heat transfer that occurred as the water in the pots cooled, and describe how the transfer of heat occurred for each method.
  1. Describe when the pots no longer experienced a net loss of thermal energy.

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 heat transfer by convection, conduction, and radiation and of thermal equilibrium. The response correctly determines the time it took for water in the iron pot to cool to 60°C, and clearly explains which pot is a better conductor. The response also correctly identifies and clearly describes two methods of heat transfer that occurred as the water cooled, and describes when the pots no longer experienced a net loss of thermal energy.
4
3 The response demonstrates a general understanding of heat transfer by convection, conduction, and radiation and of thermal equilibrium.
2 The response demonstrates a limited understanding of heat transfer by convection, conduction, and radiation and of thermal equilibrium.
1 The response demonstrates a minimal understanding of heat transfer by convection, conduction, and radiation and of thermal equilibrium.
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: Motion and Forces
Question 44: Heat and Heat Transfer
Question 45: Waves and Radiation

Return to the MCAS 2015 Student Work Directory



Last Updated: July 22, 2016
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