Grade 5

Properties of Metals

Author(s): Philip Merksamer, Beatrice Wang, Sue Mocklin, Sarah Simson

Properties of Metals

Students will be able to see the iron filings in breakfast cereal fortified with iron and qualitatively compare the iron content between 2 different cereals.   They will also see that as part of a salt solution, some elements give off characteristic colors when placed in a flame.

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What is matter?

Author(s): SEP staff

What is matter?

This activity is based on a lesson from the Living by Chemistry curriculum developed by the Lawrence Hall of Science (see citation).

During this activity students explore in depth their own understanding of what constitutes "matter" and work together as a group to create a definition for matter.

Students work in pairs to debate how to sort "items" printed on cards into three categories: "matter", "non-matter" and "unsure" and then try to determine what properties all items in each category have in common. A whole class discussion about "tricky" items follows during which students ultimately agree on a definition of matter.

You can choose which cards you would like to use depending on your students' age, abilities, and experiences.  As an example, for elementary grades, you might choose not to use the entire set.

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Measuring Calories in Food

Author(s): Luna Abdallah, Elinor Sullivan, Bethany Currin, Mathew Campana

Measuring Calories in Food

The lesson introduces the concept of calories and provides examples of high calorie and low calorie foods. Students learn a number of ways to determine how many calories a food item has and discuss how calories influence body weight. Students learn how to measure calories by constructing and using a calorimeter.

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Introducing the Process of Investigative Science Using Worms

Author(s): Linda Akiyama

Introducing the Process of Investigative Science Using Worms

Students are introduced to the process of investigative science through a guided inquiry activity. Given a testable question and materials, students as a class make predictions, and design an investigation with guidance from the teacher. Then in pairs, students do the investigation, collect data, draw conclusions, and discuss ways to improve on the investigative design.  After this activity, students will be able to develop independent investigations in this and other subject areas.

Students learn that a living thing can sense and respond to its environment.

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Understanding Air Pressure (a lesson series)

Author(s): Nathan Gosse and Kim Probst

Understanding Air Pressure (a lesson series)

The activitites establish the concepts of atmospheric pressure, differences in pressure, how changing volume affects pressure, and a molecular model of how air pressure arises.  Modified from the 5th grade FOSS Water Planet Investigation "The Pressure is On" (Investigation 4, part 3)

The lesson opens with some demonstrations and activities to introduce the properties of air. Moving on to air pressure, the teacher demonstrates how one can pick up liquid in a straw using a finger as a stopper. The students make a barometer, experiment with a bag and a jar, and participate in a straw race. For each activity the question of what is causing each phenomenon is asked. Students then do single and double syringe activity from FOSS Water Planet Investigation #4. After discussion of syringe activities students are asked to go back to initial demonstrations/activities and pick one to explain in a poster format.

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States of Matter (lesson five of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti and Helen Wong-Lew

States of Matter (lesson five of eight)

Students investigate the difference between ice and dry ice, and review the concept of control and variable. The scientists demonstrate condensation, sublimation, and freezing with a series of object lessons.

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The energy of life in zebrafish (lesson six of eight)

Author(s): Ben Engel, Arthur Millius, Lisa Monti and Helen Wong-Lew

The energy of life in zebrafish (lesson six of eight)

We introduce the concept that life needs energy to grow. We explain a little about microscopy and then the students observe different stages of zebrafish development (except we do not tell them that it is a zebrafish). Then student predict what animal they are observing leading up to a big reveal.

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Introducing Models to Elementary School Students

Author(s): Linda Akiyama and Ranyee Chiang

Introducing Models to Elementary School Students

Students learn what a model is by comparing a model of the tongue to their own tongue. They practice asking themselves, "How is this model like the thing it represents, and how is it different?"  This format of questioning can be used when using any model in science and can be used to check students' understanding and misconceptions.

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What is an atom?

Author(s): Linda Akiyama and Ranyee Chiang

What is an atom?

The students will repeatedly cut a piece of aluminum foil into smaller and smaller pieces to model the process of how you can break a substance down from a large number of atoms to a single atom.  This activity is meant to supplement the introduction to atoms on Foss Matter and Energy, Investigation 4: Changing Matter, Part 2: Melting and Evaporation, page 183.

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Heating Earth

Author(s): Nathan Gosse and Kim Probst

Heating Earth

Students develop an experimental plan to investigate the question how solar energy heats different earth materials (water and land). A container half filled with water and half with soil is exposed to full sun (if doing it outside) or placed under incandescent lights (inside). Students take temperature readings of both materials for 15 minutes and then either bring setups to a shady spot or turn off the lights. Again students record change in temperature in intervals during the next 15 minutes and then graph results. Lesson introduces the concepts energy transfer, solar energy, and heat sink.

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Investigating the Relationship of Mass to Volume

Author(s): Linda Akiyama and Ranyee Chiang

Investigating the Relationship of Mass to Volume

Students practice the process of doing investigative science through team investigations. They investigate two materials that weigh the same amount. The testable question: If I have an amount of gravel and an amount of sand of the same weight, will they take up the same amount of space? Together, the class makes predictions, and decides on materials and procedures. Then in pairs, students do the investigation, collect data and draw conclusions.  After this activity, students will be better able to develop independent investigations in this and other subject areas.

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Oh Deer! and English Language Learner Writing Extensions

Author(s): SEP Quattro Staff

Oh Deer! and English Language Learner Writing Extensions

Teacher(s) will describe an ecosystem scenario and ask students to ponder why the population of deer in a particular area fluctates from year to year. Students will research the question through a simulation of deer in nature. The teacher will record data from the activity in the form of a graph. Before analyzing the graph, students will record words they used in the activity and sort others used in the context of ecology. While analyzing the graph and sharing their experiences, students will use these words to create sentences and eventually a paragraph describing the patterns of the data collected.

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What is Life?

Author(s): SEP Academic staff, past and current

What is Life?

Students will investigate different objects and discuss whether they are alive or not alive. Students are challenged to provide evidence for their decision and defend their opinion.

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Wetland Ecosystems, Non-living and living components and Brine Shrimp

Author(s): Jen Chu

Wetland Ecosystems, Non-living and living components and Brine Shrimp

Students work in whole class and small group settings to discuss, observe and learn about a wetland ecosystem (salt ponds) and some of the organisms that live there. Abiotic and biotic factors of species survival are discuss. Live brine shrimp are used in observation.

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Making an electromagnet

Author(s): SEP staff

Making an electromagnet

Students discover that, when electric current flows through an insulated wire wound around a steel core, the steel core becomes a magnet. They learn that this happens because an electric current produces a magnetic field. They experiment with a number of variables and try to find out how to increase the strength of the electromagnet.

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