U1 Performance Task

Ice Ice Baby

Winters in Canada (especially Alberta) are long, cold and snowy. Not only does this make people grumpy, but it also makes driving and walking around hazardous! Most Canadian cities have a snow removal and de-icing plan. There are various substances that can be used. Three of the most common choices are sodium chloride, magnesium chlporide and sand/gravel. Your task is to determine which of these three compounds is the most appropriate choice. You will test how well each substance works. You will also need to consider other factors such as cost and the environmental impact when making your choice.

The Task:

  • Research a Canadian city of your choice. Find out what that city uses, and try to find their snow removal budget.
  • Research and describe how the three compounds work to de-ice pavement.
  • Create and perform an experiment to determine the effectiveness of the three compounds.
  • Research any safety, health or environmental concerns about the compound you have decided is the best.
  • Evaluate the resources you have used to determine how accurate the information is.

The Product:

You will hand in the following:

  • A lab report, including an abstract summarizing your experiment and results, a diagram of your setup, a detailed procedure, a list of your manipulated, responding and controlled variables, a concluding statement, and an evaluation of the accuracy of your results.
  • A page with your description of how the de-icers work, the info about the city of your choice, a list of safety/health/environmental concerns for your choice, and a paragraph detailing your reasoning for your choice.
  • The evaluation questions you answered about the sources you used.
  • A bibliography listing the sources you used.


You will be evaluated by rubric on the following things

  • Accuracy and validity of your experiment
  • Thoroughness of your research
  • Rational for your choice
  • Completeness of task

Questions to ask when evaluating a source:

  1. Who is the author of the site? Is it a company, a government, an organization (like a professional association),or  an individual?
  2. Does the site want to sell you a product or a service? Could that cause a conflict of interest?
  3. Does the site back up their claims with facts, or make grand claims that seem too good to be true? Is it fact or opinion?
  4. Does the site make any claims about conspiracies or other odd things?
  5. What is the tone of the writing? Does it seem to be rude or snarky, or written in a professional manner?
  6. How is the spelling and grammar on the site? Has the author taken care to make it professional?


  • Teachers should allow 1 – 2 classes prior to starting the task to do initial research and set up their experiments
  • Set up will include getting ice, sand/gravel, sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, as well as lab equipment for students
  • Create the final criteria for the rubric as a class to give the students ownership of the task

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