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Fifth Grade Science & Engineering

Course Description

In fifth grade, students will take a deeper, more advanced dive into matter, energy, and their relationship with ecosystems and environments.  They will study the characteristics and motion of objects in our solar system and examine how relative distance in space impacts light.  Students will end their year with a unit on robotics and automation, developing skills needed to build and program an autonomous robot.

Grade Level(s): Fifth Grade

Related Priority Standards (State &/or National):  K-5 Science Missouri Learning Standards & Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Essential Questions

  • How do we learn about the world around us?
  • How do we design solutions to problems?
  • How can I learn about something I wonder about or solve a problem that is important/interesting to me?
  • What is engineering?
  • How do people design solutions to problems?
  • What is matter?
  • What happens when matter undergoes changes?
  • What is a system?
  • How do matter and energy flow through and ecosystem?
  • How do we know where Earth is in space?
  • How do different parts of the planet act as a system?

Enduring Understandings/Big Ideas

  • Learning about the world and solving problems begins with wonder, observations and questions.
  • Science is both a body of knowledge that can be learned and a process of discovery of the natural world.
  • Engineering is the process of identifying problems and using scientific knowledge to design solutions.
  • Learning about and engaging in the practice of science and engineering requires curiosity, hard work, and persistence.
  • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified and used to explain change.
  • Natural objects exist from the very small to the immensely large.
  • Standard units are used to measure and describe physical quantities such as weight, time, temperature, and volume.
  • A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions.

Course-Level Scope & Sequence (Units &/or Skills)

Unit 1: Matter - Properties, Changes, and Conversation

Students will develop a model to explain that matter is made of particles too small to be seen. They will 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. They will plan and conduct investigations to separate the components of a mixture/solution by their physical properties (i.e., sorting, filtration, magnets, screening), and then conduct an investigation to determine whether the combining of two or more substances results in new substances.  Students will:

  • Apply cause and effect relationships to the study of changes that occur in matter
  • Explain that matter is comprised of particles too small to be seen
  • Develop the ability to identify materials based on their properties.
  • Study changes in matter and recognize that sometimes these changes result in new substances with new characteristics.
  • Apply the concept of scale to the study of matter, specifically that different forms of matter in different states are re-combinations of
    particles too small to be seen

Unit 2: Matter, Energy, Life, and the Earth

In this unit, students will combine the study of energy (4th grade) with that of matter (5th grade).  Students will use models to describe that energy stored in food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun. They will support an argument that plants get the materials (i.e. carbon dioxide, water, sunlight) they need for growth chiefly from air and water.  Students will:

  • Explore the flow of energy and matter through the living and non-living elements of an ecosystem.
  • Track the flow of matter and energy through ecosystems and the role that various organisms and the environment play in their transfer.
  • Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment and then develop a model using an example to describe the ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
  • Describe and graph the amounts and percentages of water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.
  • Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use scientific ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

Unit 3: Patterns in Space

Students will study the physical characteristics and motions of objects in our solar system and beyond and examine how the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed toward the planet's center.  They will support the argument that relative distances from Earth affects the apparent brightness of the sun compared to other stars. Students will:

  • Recognize patterns in the motion and appearance of objects in the sky.
  • Develop a sense of scale with regard to distances to objects within and outside of our solar system.
  • Explain that gravity is a force exerted by the Earth (or any body of mass) pointed toward its center.
  • Relate the distance to stars to their apparent brightness.
  • Make observations during different seasons to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year.
  • Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.
  • Describe interactions between the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere.
  • Describe the amounts, percentages, and locations of water and freshwater around the Earth.
  • Obtain and combine information from various research and media sources
  • Describe how communities use scientific ideas to protect the Earth's resources and environment.

Unit 4: Robotics and Automation

This module focuses on developing skills needed to build and program autonomous robots.  In the challenge portion of this unit, students expand their understanding of robotics as they explore mechanical design and computer programming.  Students work with a group to apply their knowledge to design, build, test, and refine a mobile robot that meets a set of design constraints.  Students will:

  • Students explore the ways robots are used in today’s world and their impact on society and the environment.
  • Learn about a variety of robotic components as they build and test mobile robots that may be controlled remotely.
  • Design, model, and test a mobile robot that solves a design problem.

Course Resources & Materials: PLTW LaunchBrainPop Jr, and various district-created resources to support instruction

Date Last Revised/Approved: 2015