• Elementary Science Grade 5 Unit 1

    Subject:  Science
    Grade:  5
    Timeline:  12 weeks
    Unit Title:  Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

    Unit Overview:
    In this unit students engage in scientific inquiry.  They identify and control variables and conduct controlled experiments using several multi-variable system such as pendula, airplanes, boats, and catapults. Students observe and compare the outcomes of experiments and identify relationships between independent and dependent variables.  They gather data from their experiments and graph the relationships that they observe.  From these graphs, students make predictions using the results of their experiments. Students discover how to organize, compare, and communicate data from scientific inquiries.

    Unit Objectives:
    The objectives of this unit are to apply the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) Crosscutting Concepts that bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas throughout the fields of science and engineering.
    Observed patterns of forms and events guide organization and classification, and they prompt questions about  relationships and the factors that influence them.
    Cause and effect - Mechanism and explanation: 
    Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. A major activity of science is investigating and  explaining causal relationships and the mechanisms by which they are mediated. Such mechanisms can then be tested across given contexts and used to predict and explain events in new contexts.
    Scale, proportion, and quantity: 
    In considering phenomena, it is critical to recognize what is relevant at different   measures of size, time, and energy and to recognize how changes in scale, proportion, or quantity affect a system’s structure or performance.
    Systems and system model: 
    Defining the system under study—specifying its boundaries and making explicit a model of that system—provides tools for understanding and testing ideas that are applicable throughout science and engineering.
    Energy and matter:  Flows, cycles, and conservation: 
    Tracking fluxes of energy and matter into, out of, and within systems helps one understand the systems’ possibilities and limitations.
    Structure and function:
    The way in which an object or living thing is shaped and its substructure determine many of its properties and functions.
    Stability and change:
    For natural and built systems alike, conditions of stability and determinants of rates of change or evolution of a system are critical elements of study. 
    Focus Standards:
    PSSA Eligible Content:
     S5.A.2.1.1: Design a simple, controlled experiment (fair test) identifying the independent and dependent variables, how the dependent variable will be measured and which variables will be held constant.
     S5.A.2.1.2: Describe relationships between variables through interpretation of data and observations (i.e. make predictions for the outcome of a controlled experiment using data tables and graphs).
    S5.A.2.2.1: Describe the appropriate use of instruments and scales to accurately measure time, mass, distance, volume, and temperature safely under a variety of conditions.
    S5.A.1.1.1: Explain how certain questions can be answered through scientific inquiry and/or technological design (e.g. investigate to find out if all clay or foil boats designs react the same when filled with paperclips). 
    S5.A.1.1.2: Explain how observations and/or experimental results are used to support inferences and claims about an investigation or relationship (e.g. make a claim based on information on a graph).
    S5.A.1.1.3: Describe how explanations, predictions, and models are developed using evidence.

    NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:

    ETS1.A: Defining and delimiting the problem.  Possible solutions to a problem are limited by available materials and resources (constraints).  The success of a designed solution is determined by considering the desired features of a solution (criteria).   Different proposals for solutions can be compared on the basis of how well each one meets the specified criteria for success or how well each takes the constraints into account. 
    ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions.   Research on a problem should be carried out before beginning to design a solution.  Testing a solution involves investigating how well it performs under a range of likely conditions.
    PS2.A: Forces and Motion.  An understanding of the forces between objects is important for describing how their motions change, as well as for predicting stability or instability in systems at any scale.                                                                 

    Concepts - Students will know:
    • a pendulum is a mass suspended on a pivot point, free to swing.
    • a variable is anything that you can change in an experiment that might affect the outcome.
    • in a controlled experiment all variables are controlled except one, allowing the experimenter to observe the effect of the one variable on the outcome.
    • the length of a pendulum determines the number of swings per unit of time.
    • graphs can be used to display results, look for experimental errors, and make predictions. 
    • a two-coordinate graph displays the relationship between the independent and the dependent variables in an experiment.
    • the larger the capacity of a boat, the greater the number of passengers it can hold.
    • a system is a set of related objects that is working together.
    • Conducting multiple experimental trials adds validity to the results.
    Competencies - Students will be able to:
    • observe and compare the behavior of objects.
    • identify variables that might affect the outcome of an experiment.
    • design and conduct controlled experiments to find out what variables affect the outcome of the experiment.
    • measure the capacity, height, and distance of different objects in metric units using the appropriate tools.
    • create concrete, pictorial, and two-coordinate graphs of experimental results.
    • use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, and relating.

    Formative Assessments:
    • Pre-assessment
    • I-Checks
    • Formative assessment probes
    Summative Assessments:
    • I-Checks
    • Performance Assessments with rubrics
    • Post-assessment

    Elements of Instruction: 
    The NGSS identifies eight Science and Engineering Practices that all students in all grades must participate in to effectively investigate the natural world through the practices of science inquiry, or solve meaningful problems through the practices of engineering design.
    Science and Engineering Practices
    Practice 1 Asking Questions and Defining Problems
    Students should be able to ask questions of each other about the texts they read, the features of the phenomena they observe, and the conclusions they draw from their models or scientific investigations. For engineering, they should ask questions to define the problem to be solved and to elicit ideas that lead to the constraints and specifications for its solution.
    Practice 2 Developing and Using Models
    Modeling can begin with students’ models progressing from concrete “pictures” and/or physical scale models  to more abstract representations of relevant relationships in later grades, such as a diagram representing forces on a particular object in a system.

    Practice 3 Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
    Students should have opportunities to plan and carry out several different kinds of investigations. They should engage in investigations that range from those structured  by the teacher—in order to expose  an issue or question that they
    would be unlikely to explore on their own—to those that emerge from students’ own questions.
    Practice 4 Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    Once collected, data must be presented in a form that can reveal any patterns and relationships and that allows results to be communicated to others. Because raw data as such have little meaning, a major practice of scientists is to organize and interpret data through tabulating, graphing, or statistical analysis. Such analysis can bring out the meaning of data—and their relevance—so that they may be used as evidence.
    Practice 5 Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
    Although there are differences in how mathematics and computational thinking are applied in science and in engineering, mathematics often brings these two fields together by enabling engineers to apply the mathematical form of scientific theories and by enabling scientists to use powerful information technologies designed by engineers. Both can thereby accomplish investigations and analyses and build complex models, which might otherwise be out of the question. Students will practice these computations.
    Practice 6 Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
    The goal of science is to construct explanations for the causes of phenomena. Students are expected to construct their
    own explanations, as well as apply standard explanations they learn about from their teachers or reading.
    Practice 7 Engaging in Argument from Evidence
    The study of science and engineering should produce a sense of the process of argument necessary for advancing and defending a new idea or an explanation of a phenomenon and the norms for conducting such arguments. In that spirit, students should argue for the explanations they construct, defend their interpretations of the associated data, and advocate
    for the designs they propose.
    Practice 8 Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
    Any education in science and engineering needs to develop students’ ability to read and produce domain-specific text. As such, every science or engineering lesson is in part a language lesson, particularly reading and producing the genres of texts that are intrinsic to science and engineering.

    Each lesson has differentiation options for each portion of the lesson.
    •  Word walls and flip charts
    •  Structured notebooks
    •  Peer teaching
    •  Team with math teacher for more in-depth graphing
    •  Ordered pairs game
    • Research pendulums, boats, airplanes, and/or catapults.
    • Students design their own specific experiments with variables that they choose.
    • Explore similar topics such as, displacement, speed, math problems of the week.
    • Share topics with a younger class.

    Interdisciplinary Connections:
    Click here for Math/ELA Integration

    Social Studies: History of pendulums, boats, planes, and catapults

    Additional Resources :