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Grade 5

"In grade 5, students model, provide evidence to support arguments, and obtain and display data about relationships and interactions among observable components of different systems. By studying systems, grade 5 students learn that objects and organisms do not exist in isolation and that animals, plants and their environments are connected to, interact with, and are influenced by each other. They study the relationships between Earth and other nearby objects in the solar system and the impact of those relationships on patterns of events as seen from Earth" in our Earth, the Moon and the Stars unit. In this first unit they engage in modeling of things they can see but cannot touch. Then, “they learn about the relationship among elements of Earth’s systems through the cycling of water and human practices and processes with Earth’s resources.” In our Matter in Earth Systems unit students explore the particulate nature of matter and use the concrete context of the water cycle to model what cannot be seen. In the Living Things and Ecosystems unit students “learn about the connections and relationships among plants and animals, and the ecosystems within which they live, to show how matter and energy are cycled through these (building on the theme of grade 4).” Finally, students explore the properties of matter in our Chemistry: Properties of Matter unit. “An ability to describe, analyze, and model connections and relationships of observable components of different systems is key to understanding the natural and designed world” a cornerstone of the science department’s vision for science instruction." (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 44)

Unit Name Understandings Essential Questions
Earth, the Moon, and the Stars The relative position and distance of objects in space affects our perception of them here on Earth.

The joint motions of the moon and Earth cause predictable repeating daily, monthly, and yearly patterns that we can observe and model.
Why do our eyes deceive us about the size and position of objects?


Why do we mark time in the way that we do?
Matter in Earth Systems All systems on earth are made of matter and connected through water, which is conserved and cycled continuously.

Observations of how water changes phase and cycles provides evidence for the scientific model of matter as particles.

As people meet their needs, they impact Earth’s resources and the environment; they also engineer solutions to reduce these impacts.
Can water be used up?




How do scientists develop models for things they cannot see?



How can human behaviors change the water supply?
Living Things and Ecosystems Producers capture energy and combine matter from non-living parts of the ecosystem for their life processes.

All consumers and decomposers require other living things to obtain matter and energy for their life processes.

Both matter and energy change form as they move within an ecosystem, but matter is cycled and conserved while energy flows and is transferred.
What makes an ecosystem a system?
Chemistry: Properties of Matter Chemists can learn about different kinds of matter by identifying the specific, characteristic properties.

Combining matter can result in changes to characteristic properties (a chemical reaction) or the formation of a mixture. In either case, no matter is gained or lost.
What does it mean for matter to be the same or different?

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (2016). 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework. Malden, MA: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.