5th Grade

“When we try to pick out one thing by itself we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” JohnMuir


Fifth grade students begin the year with an investigation of simple machines. Students design and operate six simple machines: lever, wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, and screw and investigates how each one makes work easier. Students also examine how simple machines and technology has changed over time.

Our Changing Earth focuses on the earth processes of erosion as well as the investigation of rocks and minerals. Students discover how and why Earth’s crust is constantly changing because of erosion. Hands-on activities focus on the processes of erosion as well as the resulting effects of erosion. During the study of rocks and minerals students explore the properties, uses, and origins of rocks and minerals. Throughout the unit students investigate and identify assorted rock and mineral specimens by observing, experimenting, and recording results. Students also explore the three ways rocks are made and how a minerals help with its identification.

Our Water Planet, (The Environmental Science unit) is designed to address and reinforce science standards that were previously introduced in earlier grades as well as introduce new life science concepts that are in alignment with the state standards. This content is reflected in the Grade 5 Science MCAS. Environmental Science is defined as “the branch of science that deals with the physical, chemical and biological components of the environment and their effects on organisms.”


The Environmental Science unit builds on ecological concepts introduced to students in Grade 4 as well as the skills and concepts introduced in the Earth Science unit; Our Changing Earth. During field and classroom investigations students will broaden and deepen their understanding of the importance of water in their lives. Students will use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations. Students’ investigations will explore where our water comes from? Where our water goes? and What factors (living including human and nonliving) affect water in the area where they live?

The Environmental Science unit, Our Water Planet concludes with an offshore coastal investigation of the Merrimack River watershed. Students board the Captains Lady II and join instructors from Merrohawk’s Boat Camp for a hands on study of our watershed. Click here for more about the field trip and Merrohawk.

Curriculum Map

Field Investigations


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