Fifth Grade Science
Where does our clearn water come from and where does it got after we dirty it?
In this unit on earth systems and the structure and properties of matter, students investigate where the dirty water that drains out of their homes and schools goes and where the clean water they use comes from. Their investigations lead them to discover connections between the hydrosphere, geosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. Their discoveries spark a series of design problems to solve in order to protect freshwater reservoirs and minimize human impacts on the environment, including ways to mitigate flooding and erosion, naturally filter water and prevent contamination of water reservoirs, and conserve water usage in drought-prone areas of the world.
How can we create a water reuse system for an extreme environment?
In this unit students become water resource engineers as they use the steps of the Engineering Design Process to design creative ways to reuse water in closed systems such as the international space station or a house boat.
Why do we have different amounts of daylight in the summer and winter months?
In part one of this unit students will explore why we have more hours of daylight in the summer and less hours of daylight in the winter by developing a model and scientific explanation for the summer and winter solstice and why it occurs every year.
Why do we see falling stars?
In part two students will Students argue that the sun is a star close to Earth and other stars are very far away. Students use models to explain, that falling stars are observed at night due to Earth’s rotation, falling stars are caused by the Earth moving through the debris in space along Earth’s orbit around the sun, and falling stars fall to Earth due to the force of gravity.
How can we design a parachute to safely land a spacecraft on another plant?
This unit introduces students to aerospace engineering—and how aerospace engineers use their knowledge of astronomy to design space technologies. Starting with the storybook Paulo’s Parachute Mission, students learn about a boy from Brazil who designs a parachute to get a large, heavy fruit down from a tree. Students apply their knowledge of drag (air resistance) and conditions on other planets to engineer a model parachute that’s “mission ready” to land a payload on a planet with an atmosphere much thinner than Earth’s.
Why do dead things disappear over time?
In this unit on interrelationships in ecosystems, students investigate the apparent disappearance of the body of a dead raccoon over time. Their findings lead them to uncover the role of decomposers in this process, as well as the role of decomposers in the disappearance of plant debris over time. Students ultimately track down where the materials come from that all living things need for repair and growth and where the energy comes from that they use to move and stay warm.