Grade 5 Science

Within the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), there are three distinct and equally important dimensions to learning science. These dimensions are combined to form each standard—or performance expectation—and each dimension works with the other two to help students build a cohesive understanding of science over time.

We Are Scientists and Engineers!

Unit Sketch

Students learn about what scientists do and what tools, practices, and processes they use to develop explanations related to natural phenomena. They launch their Science Notebooks and use them to collect and analyze data from various observational activities and/or investigations. Students learn about what engineers do and what tools, practices, and processes they use to design solutions to problems. Students launch their Engineering & Design Notebooks and use the Design Process to participate in an Engineering Challenge. Students begin to engage in consistent vocabulary related to science and engineering.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • Science begins with a question or wondering.
  • Scientists use a variety of tools and methods to answer questions about the world and its phenomena.
  • There is not just one scientific "method".
  • Science practices include:

1. Asking questions

2. Developing and using models

3. Planning and carrying out investigations

4. Analyzing and interpreting data

5. Using mathematics and computational thinking

6. Constructing explanations

7. Engaging in argument from evidence

8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

  • Engineering begins with a problem.
  • Engineers use a variety of tools and methods to solve problems through design thinking.
  • There is not just one engineering process, but there are common steps:
  • Engineering practices include:

1. Defining problems

2. Developing and using models

3. Planning and carrying out investigations

4. Analyzing and interpreting data

5. Using mathematics and computational thinking

6. Designing solutions

7. Engaging in argument from evidence

8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Identify what science is and what it isn't
  • Apply scientific tools and practices
  • Reflect on "doing science"
  • Identify what engineering is and what it isn't
  • Apply engineering tools and practices
  • Reflect on "doing engineering"

Structure and Properties of Matter

Unit Sketch

This unit provides students with opportunities to explore matter through modeling and investigation. The unit begins with a challenge to create a particle-based model of matter showing water in three different stages (solid, liquid, and gas). Throughout the first bend, students use their learning experiences to revise and improve upon their models, arriving at a model that represents atomic structures for solids, liquids, and gases. Students also conduct investigations to understand the conservation of matter, as well as properties of matter. The unit concludes with fun and practical ways to mix matter.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • Matter can be seen but subdivided into particles that are too small to see.
  • Matter exists whether it can be seen or not.
  • The weight of matter stays constant even when its form changes.
  • Measurements of physical and chemical properties can be used to identify materials.
  • When two or more different substances are mixed, a new substance with different properties may be formed.

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen
  • Measure and graph quantities to provide evidence that regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling, or mixing substances, the total weight of matter is conserved.
  • Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.
  • Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.

Earth's Systems: Our Watery Planet

Unit Sketch

This unit is a combined Science and Social Studies unit, beginning with Earth's systems (geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere) and progressing to "Global Interactions" in Social Studies. Students begin with an understanding of the spheres of the Earth and their interconnectivity. The focus is then turned on the hydrosphere with the Mystery Science unit "Watery Planet," which helps students develop the idea that water is a profoundly important natural resource, but one which requires surprising ingenuity to find and maintain. Mysteries 1 and 3 will employ the scientific practices, while Mysteries 2 and 4 are engineering challenges. The read aloud, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park accompanies the "Watery Planet" unit.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • Earth is a system of interrelated sub-systems (geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere) continually interact with one another.
  • Water is a profoundly important resource.

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Demonstrate the inter-relatedness between geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere
  • Use estimation and graphing to discover the surprising difference in the amounts of fresh and salt water on Earth.
  • Construct an explanation about a surprising phenomenon: the existence of underground water
  • Develop a model to explain how water cycles from the Earth’s surface to the atmosphere and back again.
  • Propose plans to prevent flooding of a coastal town from a hurricane

Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems

Unit Sketch

This unit focuses on the students' understanding that energy does not appear or disappear but rather that is is ever-changing within a variety of food chains and webs.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • An ecosystem is an interdependent system.
  • All organisms have different and distinct roles within an ecosystem.
  • Plants can make their own food using air, water, materials in the soil, and light energy from the sun.
  • Animals eat plants or other animals for food.
  • Fungi use dead plants and animals for food.
  • Living things are interdependent with their living and nonliving surroundings.
  • There are harmful effects of pollution and identify various ways to protect the environment from pollution.
  • For any particular environment, some kinds of plants and animals survive will, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
  • Insects and various other organisms depend on dead plant and animal material for food.
  • Organisms interact with one another in various ways besides providing food.
  • Changes in an organism’s habitat are sometimes beneficial to it and sometime harmful.
  • Almost all kinds of animals’ food can be traced back to plants. Some source of “energy” is needed for all organisms to stay alive and grow.

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Create food chains that show transfer of matter and energy
  • Draw a model of matter movement among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment within an ecosystem
  • Describe relationships between organisms and environment
  • Combine food chains into food webs
  • Build balanced ecosystems and graph over time

Space Systems: Stars and the Solar System

Unit Sketch

Students will understand that the sun and planets are part of a system, and that there are observational changes that we experiences due to changes in the arrangement of components of the system.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • Similarities and differences in patterns can be used to sort, classify, communicate and analyze simple rates of change.
  • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change.
  • Natural objects and/or observable phenomena exist from the very small to the immensely large or from very short to very long time periods.

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Represent data in tables and/or various graphical displays (bar graphs, pictographs and/or pie charts) to reveal patterns that indicate relationships
  • Construct and/or support an argument with evidence, data, and/or a model