Fifth Grade Science

Learning experiences mirror the practices of an authentic science research lab so the students’ experiences model those of practitioners within the discipline while also reinforcing essential Upper School skills being taught in language arts and mathematics. 

The students spend the year applying these habits of mind to a biology-focused curriculum that includes studies of cell biology, molecular biology and genetics, human biology, health/puberty, ecology, and evolution. Students document their learning in their interactive science notebooks and demonstrate their understanding through regular assessments. 

The fifth graders begin the year with an introduction to scientific process skills and lab safety. They explore how linkages and interactions of parts make up a system in general so that they can identify how and why, for instance, cells serve as the basic unit of structure and function in all living things. Topics like atoms, chemistry, cells, DNA are woven into the exploration of the body systems. 
As they broaden and deepen their understanding of the world within, the students will also be learning and applying essential skills that guide scientific inquiry. These process skills include:
  • Designing and conducting controlled experiments
  • Observing and collecting data using both measurement tools and technology
  • Analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and communicating these results
Special projects and current events throughout the year support these learning goals. Students are encouraged to ask questions and make observations about the world around them and to be aware of current scientific events. Investigations such as developing experiments to test feedback loops, observing digestive enzyme results, and modeling and improving on rudimentary eye designs by building pinhole cameras emphasize observation, data collection, and questioning skills.
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