Grade 5

In Grade Five, students are given the opportunity to continue to deepen their understanding about the flow of energy and matter in ecosystems, the Sun, Earth and Moon system, and the Science and Engineering involved in how our water systems work. They start to put together this new knowledge and many of the concepts they have learned before in new and more sophisticated ways. The crosscutting concept of Systems and System Models are a theme throughout the year (ecosystems, the Sun, Earth and Moon system, water systems, and the water cycle). 

Unit Name Understandings Essential Questions
Introduction to Science and Science Notebooks
At every grade level (JK-8), Cambridge students begin the year exploring what science is, why science is important to them, who scientists are and what they do, and how they will use science notebooks to record their questions, observations, ideas and explanations throughout the year. These skills build over time as students move from grade to grade.
What is science? Why is it important to me? 

Who are scientists and what do they do? 

How and why do scientists use science notebooks?
Where Do Living Things Get Matter and Energy? 
Students investigate and figure out how matter and energy are cycled through the living and nonliving parts of ecosystems. 
Why do dead animals and plants seem to disappear over time?

Why is the Sun important for all life on Earth? 
How Do Patterns of the Sun, Earth and Moon System Affect Living Things? 
At the start of this unit, students choose an animal found in Cambridge and reflect on how they think the patterns of the Sun, Earth and Moon system affect that animal. As they gather evidence to find out more, students explore why those patterns occur (day and night, patterns of the moon, seasons) and the effect that each of those patterns have on animals and plants that live in Cambridge. 
How day and night, patterns in the moon, and the seasons affect living things in Cambridge?

What causes those patterns in the Sun, Earth and Moon system?
Where Does Our Clean Water Come From and Where Does It Go When It’s Dirty? 
In this unit, students investigate where our clean water comes from in Cambridge and what happens to the water that goes down the drain. They create wastewater treatment models to explore how our dirty water is cleaned and the basic chemistry involved in getting different types of contaminants out of the water. Then students gather evidence on what happens to water in the Earth system (and how the water in Cambridge is part of that). Finally, they grapple with the idea on the global scale of who has access to clean water and why, and who are the Water Changemakers who are working to make sure that clean water is available to all. 
Where does our clean water come from? How is it treated so it’s safe to drink?

Where does our dirty water go? How is it treated?

How does water cycle around on Earth? How can we use the water cycle to clean water?

Is all water on Earth connected?

Why don’t all people on Earth have easy access to clean water? What can we do about it?

Department Information

Elementary Science

Middle School Science

High School Science

Contact Us
Janet MacNeil, JK-12 Science Coordinator
Allan Gehant, Dean of Curriculum, CRLS
Patty McGaffigan, District Science Coach (6-8)
Susan Agger, Maynard Ecology Center Director
Donna Pereira, Science Materials Manager

Science Department
359 Broadway, Cambridge
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