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Grade 5. In 7 lessons spanning 29 class sessions, Earth and Space Systems has students explore how Earth is both part of a larger system and is itself composed of interconnected systems. Building Blocks of Science® lessons are structured in 30-minute class sessions, making it easy to fit science into your day. The Earth and Space Systems 3-Use Unit Kit includes a Teacher’s Guide (item #515402A) and enough supplies and apparatus to teach the unit 3 times to a class of up to 30 students.
Grade 5. In 7 lessons spanning 29 class sessions, Earth and Space Systems has students look at interactions within and between systems of matter and energy to produce observable and predictable patterns that comprise all of nature. The study of systems and interactions is fundamental in science. This unit provides a variety of concrete experiences that allow students to explore how Earth is both part of a larger system and is itself composed of interconnected systems. As a pre-unit assessment, students consider Earth’s place in space. Students then examine the nearest and most familiar bodies to Earth and consider the observable effects they have on Earth.
In a series of hands-on lessons, students gain experiences with modeling, scale, and cause-and-effect relationships. Students are encouraged to record their investigations, observations, and new questions and ideas in their science notebooks, a process that helps prepare them to conduct their own investigations.
Students identify Earth’s major spheres and investigate how they interact. They explore the importance of water as a resource and calculate the ratio of salt water to fresh water. Students then research ways humans can impact, both positively and negatively, Earth’s systems and resources and make class presentations to communicate their findings.
Students work independently, in pairs, in small groups, and on larger teams at various times throughout the unit. They are challenged to share what they have learned to help classmates construct knowledge and to build their own understanding from information that classmates share. As a culmination, students revisit activity sheets from the unit to develop and then answer questions to unite content and reinforce the concept of the interrelationship of systems.
Building Blocks of Science® lessons are structured in 30-minute class sessions, making it easy to fit science into your day. The Earth and Space Systems 3-Use Unit Kit includes a Teacher’s Guide (item #515402A) and enough supplies and apparatus to teach the unit 3 times to a class of up to 30 students.
Next Generation Science Standards®
The Building Blocks of Science® unit Earth and Space Systems, 2nd Edition, integrates process skills as defined by the Next Generation Science Standards®.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Science and Engineering Practices
This unit offers several ways to assess students, including a pre- and a post-unit assessment opportunity. Teachers can also use class discussions and charts to assess each lesson. Student activity sheets and science notebook entries—including drawings, writings, and dictated statements—can be used to gauge individual understanding of objectives and key vocabulary throughout the unit. A general rubric is provided to help teachers evaluate individual students at any point in the unit. The rubric provides a progression of skills and understanding that covers exploration, vocabulary, concept building, and notebook entries. Finally, a summative assessment gives students the opportunity to demonstrate unit-specific content knowledge by responding to questions in a variety of formats.
Lesson 1: What’s Earth’s Place in the Universe?
To stimulate prior knowledge, students begin by discussing the systems in space of which Earth is a part. They complete a class concept map as a pre-unit assessment, relating space systems and the interactions of their parts to patterns that are observable on Earth. Students produce a model to relate the distance from Earth to relative brightness of the Sun and other stars. Then students calculate the difference in size of the Sun and Earth and design scale models that accurately represent the ratio of their relative size.
Lesson 2: How Do the Sun, Earth, and Moon Interact?
Students add the Moon to their evaluation of objects in Earth’s space system, first examining scale. Through interactive demonstrations, they learn about the effects of gravity and examine how Earth’s spherical shape and orbit around the Sun are caused by the pull of gravity. Students construct a clay model to represent the revolution of Earth around the Sun and the revolution of the Moon around Earth. They explore the cause of seasons by measuring the angle of Earth’s tilted axis and modeling the planet’s changing position relative to the Sun throughout the year.
Lesson 3: Patterns of Change
Through graphing and hands-on activities, students explore how movements of Earth and the Moon cause observable patterns. They review the concepts of rotation and revolution, then organize and analyze data on the changing number of daylight hours during the year to relate this pattern with the changing the position of Earth in its orbit around the Sun. Student use a model to explore Moon phases. Then they investigate and graph how shadows change throughout a day. As a mid-unit assessment, students revisit the concept map from Lesson 1 and suggest changes based on what they have learned so far.
Lesson 4: Earth’s Systems
Working in groups, students take a jigsaw approach to learning about the characteristics of Earth’s major systems and their interactions. They conduct research individually (or in pairs) about their assigned system and share their findings with their group. As a group, they merge what they have learned and use it to plan, prepare, and deliver a presentation through which they educate the class about their assigned system. Student pairs demonstrate understanding of some ways Earth’s systems interact by making a terrarium.
Lesson 5: Water on Earth
Students calculate to determine the ratio of fresh water to salt water on Earth and use their calculations to make a circle graph. Then they use additional data to make a bar graph of Earth’s freshwater distribution. Students access prior knowledge of water cycle processes, and through hands-on investigation develop a model of the water cycle to observe and record evidence of processes of evaporation and condensation. Through demonstration and class discussions, students analyze environmental consequences of water cycle processes.
Lesson 6: Protecting Earth’s Systems
Working in groups, students take a jigsaw approach to learning about how communities apply science to protect Earth’s major systems. Pairs research the issues their assigned system faces and share their findings with their group. As a group, pairs merge what they have learned and use it to plan, prepare, and deliver a presentation through which they educate the class about the problems of their system. Pairs then research how a chosen community applies science to protect Earth’s systems, resources, and environments. Finally, pairs research how the communities in which they live do the same, and they present ways that they too can help protect the resources and environment around them.
Lesson 7: What Have We Learned About Earth and Space Systems?
Prompted by sets of key terms, students develop questions that, taken together, survey the content of the unit. They work independently to produce models or example displays that answer their questions and then join their projects in a class display. As a post-unit assessment, students revisit and expand the concept map from Lesson 1.
|Unit Technology Pack (includes digital access to teacher’s guide and 30-student digital access to student reader)||1||Included|
|Earth and Space Systems Student Reader||1||Included|
|Clay, Modeling, Blue, 1/4 lb||7||Included|
|Clay, Modeling, Red, 1/4 lb||7||Included|
|Clay, Modeling, Green, 1/4 lb||7||Included|
|Cup, Plastic, 10 oz||24||Included|
|Jar, Plastic, Clear, 32 oz||3||Included|
|Closure, Plastic, Clear, for Jar||3||Included|
|Compass, School, with Pencil||15||Included|
|Protractor, Plastic, 6”||15||Included|
|Flashlight, Standard, with Battery||20||Included|
|Sphere, Styrene, 7.5 cm (3”)||25||Included|
|Bottle, Plant Mister||4||Included|
|Sprayer, Plant Mister||4||Included|
|Bag, Plastic, Resealable, 6 x 9”||48||Included|
|Rubber Band, #64||120||Included|
|String, Super Twine, 200-ft Roll||3||Included|
|Tape, Masking, 3/4”, Roll||10||Included|
|Tape, Measuring, 150 cm/60”||16||Included|
|Sand, Marine, 1 lb||1||Included|
|Gravel, Aquarium, 5 lb||5||Included|
|Mix, Potting, 2 L||6||Included|