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5th Grade Massachusetts Curriculum

In 5th grade, students explore natural phenomena and the designed world across nine month-long units. As scientists and engineers, students evaluate, analyze, and model the relationships between observable components of different systems across life science, Earth and space sciences, physical science, and technology/engineering.
5th Grade STEM Curriculum Massachusetts

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  • Unit 1
  • Unit 1: Matter in Motion

    In Unit 1 Matter in Motion, students are introduced to the scientific process as they analyze matter in the universe and Earth’s place in the solar system.

    • Students design an experiment to compare the masses of two different substances before and after a chemical reaction, analyzing how matter is never created or destroyed.
    • Students create a scale model of the sun-Earth-moon system to observe the relative properties (size, distance, and gravity) of these bodies in the solar system.
    • Students use models and analyze data to evaluate how the position of the sun in the sky affects the length of shadows and daylight hours in the winter and summer seasons.

    Grade-Specific Standards: 5-PS1-1, 5-PS1-2, 5-PS1-4, 5-PS2-1, 5-ESS1-1, 5-ESS1-2

    Massachusetts 5th Grade STEM Curriculum - Matter in Motion - 5-PS1-1, 5-PS1-2, 5-PS1-4, 5-PS2-1, 5-ESS1-1, 5-ESS1-2
  • Unit 2
  • Unit 2: Earth Materials

    In Unit 2 Earth Materials, students explore how different geologic processes change Earth’s surface, and how the matter that makes up rock is constantly being transformed through heat and pressure.

    • Students analyze the formation of the Hope Diamond by exploring how elements make up minerals, which make up rocks. They use various tools to analyze the properties of different minerals to identify them.
    • Students plot the locations of earthquakes and volcanoes on a world map to analyze their distribution patterns relative to Earth’s tectonic plates.
    • Students design an experiment to investigate the processes that change Earth’s surface over time by analyzing how mechanical weathering affects the breakdown of different rock categories.

    Grade-Specific Standards: 5-PS1-3, 5-PS1-4

    Supporting Standards: 4-ESS1-1, 4-ESS2-1, 4-ESS2-2

    Massachusetts 5th Grade STEM Curriculum - Earth Materials - 5-PS1-3, 5-PS1-4
  • Unit 3
  • Unit 3: Water on Earth

    In Unit 3 Water on Earth, students analyze Earth’s interacting systems, focusing on how the hydrosphere interacts with and is influenced by the other systems.

    • Students graph and model the distribution of fresh water and salt water on Earth and use a physical model to analyze why ocean water is salty.
    • Students analyze how heat affects the evaporation rate of water and then develop a model to explore how Earth’s atmosphere and hydrosphere interact to form hurricanes.
    • Students work in small teams to engineer prototype filtration devices that treat polluted runoff water to protect the water quality in a bay.

    Grade Specific Standards: 5-ESS2-1, 5-ESS2-2, 5-ESS3-1, 5-ESS3-2 (MA), 5.3-5ETS3-1 (MA), 5.3-5-ETS3-2 (MA)

    Supporting Standards: 3-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-2, 3.3-5-ETS1-1, 3.3-5-ETS1-2, 3.3-5-ETS1-4 (MA), 4.3-5-ETS1-3, 4.3-5-ETS1-5 (MA)

    Massachusetts 5th Grade STEM Curriculum - Water on Earth - 5-ESS2-1, 5-ESS2-2, 5-ESS3-1, 5-ESS3-2 (MA), 5.3-5ETS3-1 (MA), 5.3-5-ETS3-2 (MA)
  • Unit 4
  • Unit 4: Matter and Energy Cycles

    In Unit 4 Matter and Energy Cycles, students explore pond and forest ecosystems, analyzing how living things interact with one another and their environment for survival.

    • Students create cell models to explore how plants and animals access energy to grow.
    • Students design an experiment to test how seeds planted in soil grow compared to seeds planted without soil.
    • Students work in small teams to develop models that show how energy flows and matter cycles through a temperate forest ecosystem.
    • Students explore how composters work by designing an experiment to analyze how water affects the decomposition of organic matter over time.

    Grade-Specific Standards: 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1, 5-LS2-2 (MA), 5-PS3-1

    Supporting Standard: 4-LS1-1

    Massachusetts 5th Grade STEM Curriculum - Matter and Energy Cycles - 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1, 5-LS2-2 (MA), 5-PS3-1
  • Unit 5
  • Unit 5: Ecosystem Interactions

    In Unit 5 Ecosystem Interactions, students investigate how environmental changes impact the ability of organisms to survive, grow, and reproduce, passing their traits on to future generations.

    • Students carry out an experiment to investigate how acid rain affects the external structures of aquatic plants.
    • Students investigate how the predation of rabbits is affected when the physical characteristics of one organism in the environment, the Guayule shrub, changes.

    Grade-Specific Standards: 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1

    Supporting Standards: 3-LS1-1, 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3, 3-LS4-4, 3-LS4-5 (MA), 4-LS1-1

    Massachusetts 5th Grade STEM Curriculum - Ecosystem Interactions - 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1
  • Unit 6
  • Unit 6: Energy and Forces on Earth

    In Unit 6 Energy and Forces on Earth, students explore the phenomena of dog sled racing and roller coaster rides to analyze energy systems.

    • Students design and carry out an experiment to investigate how surface friction affects the amount of force needed to pull a sled over surfaces with different textures.
    • Students work in small teams, applying what they know about energy transformation, forces, and motion to solve the problem facing an amusement park that needs a new roller coaster ride that meets specific requirements.

    Grade-Specific Standards: 5-PS2-1, 5-ETS3-1 (MA), 5-ETS3-2 (MA)

    Supporting Standards: 3-PS2-1, 4-PS3-2, 4-PS3-4

    Massachusetts 5th Grade STEM Curriculum - Energy and Forces on Earth - 5-PS2-1, 5-ETS3-1 (MA), 5-ETS3-2 (MA
  • Unit 7
  • Unit 7: Matter and Electricity

    In Unit 7 Matter and Electricity, students explore how devices such as doorbells and circuits function by investigating how electrical energy is transferred and can do work.

    • Students use various electrical components to observe the transfer of electrical energy in series and parallel circuits as they measure how electrical current is affected by the number of light bulbs in a series circuit compared to a parallel circuit.
    • Students use permanent magnets and electromagnets to create an electromagnetic motor system that transfers electric energy and converts energy from one form to another.

    Grade-Specific Standard: 5-PS1-3

    Supporting Standards: 4-PS3-2, 4-PS3-4

    Massachusetts 5th Grade STEM Curriculum - Matter and Electricity - 5-PS1-3
  • Unit 8
  • Unit 8: Matter and Sound

    In Unit 8 Matter and Sound, students explore the phenomena of echoes and concert hall acoustics by investigating how sound energy is transferred from one place to another in waves.

    • Students build wind instruments and use slinky springs to investigate how sound interacts with matter, moving in waves to transfer energy from one place to another.
    • Students examine the relationship between the thickness of different porous materials and the amount of sound energy those materials absorb and transmit.
    • Students work in small teams to design a sound-absorbing wall that reduces noise transmitted from one room to another, applying the concepts of sound energy and how it interacts with different materials.

    Grade-Specific Standards: 5-ETS3-1 (MA), 5-ETS3-2 (MA), 5-PS1-1, 5-PS1-3

    Supporting Standards: 3.3-5-ETS1-1, 3.3-5-ETS1-2, 3.3-5-ETS1-4 (MA), 4.3-5-ETS1-3, 4.3-5-ETS1-5 (MA)

    Massachusetts 5th Grade STEM Curriculum - Matter and Sound - 5-ETS3-1 (MA), 5-ETS3-2 (MA), 5-PS1-1, 5-PS1-3
  • Unit 9
  • Unit 9: Light Energy and Matter

    In Unit 9 Light Energy and Matter, students explore how light energy moves and interacts with different kinds of matter such as mirrors, water, and architectural light shelves.

    • Students investigate how light travels in a straight line until it interacts with matter, and how materials can reflect the light in different directions.
    • Students design and engineer a hand-held device that uses mirrors to redirect light so a viewer can see in front of and above their heads.

    Grade-Specific Standards: 5-PS1-3, 5-ESS3-1, 5-ETS3-1 (MA), 5-ETS3-2 (MA)

    Supporting Standards: 4-PS3-2, 4-PS4-2, 3.3-5-ETS1-1, 3.3-5-ETS1-2, 3.3-5-ETS1-4 (MA), 4.3-5-ETS1-3, 4.3-5-ETS1-5 (MA)

    Massachusetts 5th Grade STEM Curriculum - Light Energy and Matter - 5-PS1-3, 5-ESS3-1, 5-ETS3-1 (MA), 5-ETS3-2 (MA)

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