Grade 5

Each unit, available in both print and digital formats, addresses the Next Generation Science Standards and interweaves each element of three-dimensional learning


Investigating Matter

The Investigating Matter topic recognizes that to understand their world, students must have many experiences with matter. During this topic, the students:

  • Define matter and identify many of its common properties. 
  • Become familiar with the common states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas.
  • Plan and conduct an investigation to prove that air has weight. 
  • Conduct investigations to show that materials can be identified based on their properties. 
  • Show that the weight of matter doesn’t change when heated or cooled or when mixed with other substances. 
  • Discover the differences between physical and chemical changes. 
  • Plan and conduct fair tests involving chemical changes to show that the weight of matter stays the same during these changes. 
  • Discover how unusual mixtures have properties, unlike other materials they explore in the topic.



From bacteria to plants to fungi to animals, students are always inspired by the diversity of life on Earth. The Ecosystems topic helps students to make sense of the dynamic nature of our biosphere by understanding how living things interact within ecosystems. During this topic, the students:

  • Study the ecosystems around the school. 
  • Describe the matter and energy found on food nutrition labels. 
  • Explain how matter and energy flow in food chains and food webs in an ecosystem.
  • Discover that plants get their materials for growth mostly from air and water and they get their energy from the sun. 
  • Compare how plants grow in organic versus inorganic soil.
  • Discuss why the world isn’t covered in nature’s waste and remains. 
  • Examine organic remains and ponder where they came from and what will happen to them. 
  • Explore the sequence of decomposition in a variety of organisms. 
  • Model how nutrients cycle through an ecosystem.


Earth’s Systems

The Earth’s Systems topic encourages students to be aware of the various interactions between different Earth’s systems, including the ways that humans impact those systems. During this topic, the students:

  • Discover that Earth’s systems are the hydrosphere (water), the geosphere (solid rock), the atmosphere (air), and the biosphere (living things). 
  • Observe and record interactions between the different Earth’s systems. 
  • Model an Earth’s system and the way it interacts with another system. Then present their models to the class. 
  • Describe how water can be on Earth’s surface, underground, or in the air. 
  • Model how Earth’s water circulates through the hydrologic (water) cycle. 
  • Explain some of the ways we use and can conserve water. 
  • Investigate ways to clean polluted water. 
  • Investigate ways that humans impact the environment in both positive and negative ways.


Earth in Space

The Earth in Space topic helps students discover the wonders of our planet and its relationship to objects in space, such as the sun and other stars. During this topic, the students:

  • Draw models of Earth and compare their models with the models scientists use. 
  • Discover that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed toward the center of Earth. 
  • Draw their ideas about the causes of daytime and nighttime. 
  • Explain how a shadow’s shape and direction are related to the sun’s position in the sky. 
  • Record, graph, and analyze data about the sun’s position in the sky and how shadows change during the day. 
  • Discover that the sun appears to travel in an arc across the sky. 
  • Create models of the causes of daytime and nighttime. 
  • Describe how the Earth’s rotation around its axis causes the sun's daily pattern in the sky, as well as the pattern of stars’ movement across the night sky. 
  • Explain that the sun appears larger and brighter than other stars because it is closer. 
  • Model why we see stars at night, but not during the day. 
  • Create charts that show when different constellations are visible in the Northern Hemisphere.