Introduction to Science – Students were given an orientation to their science classroom. They were oriented on where to find student supplies, where to find science reading books and games, where the off limit areas are and how to safely observe our class pets. New this year is class jobs. Students now take care of several jobs when they come to science, such as watering the plants, passing out notebooks, monitoring the laptop cart, and checking in and out borrowed science books. Safety rules and emergency procedures in the science classroom were discussed as well as practiced.
Humans and the Environment - This trimester the fifth graders explored how humans impact the environment. Main topics included air pollution, water pollution, and global warming. Students studied the layers of the atmosphere, types of pollution, the results of having pollution and the global effect of these pollutants. The fifth graders conducted experiments to simulate an oil spill and how scientists collect air pollution. Students were assessed through teacher observations, reflection, labs, class discussions, quizzes and a final assessment.
Heredity & Survival – Where do you get your physical features? How do organisms survive? Ask the fifth graders as their second trimester was exploring the world of heredity and survival. Students learned about how traits are passed down from generation to generation through the process of heredity. They looked at how some sibling can look the same or look different depending on the gene inherited. In a lab activity students created their own unique dog by randomly picking traits. They explore the role of recessive and dominant genes have in families by rolling dice for dominant and recessive genes to create a family.
Students also looked at how organisms can survive through mutation, camouflage and symbiosis. They learned that mutation could be beneficial or harmful to an organisms survival. Other organisms survive by having a close relationship with another organism, which is called symbiosis. While other organisms survive by using camouflage, mimicry or color warning.
Students demonstrated their understanding of concepts through class discussion, reflections, lab activities, quizzes and a final assessment.
Energy Transformation – This trimester the fifth graders put their inquiry, communication and creative skills to work. Their task was to create a solar boat using recycled materials that could travel two-meters in 15 seconds and travel two-meters in 30 seconds carrying a three ounce fishing weight. Groups worked together to design and construct a running boat. They communicated their ideas and compromised on designs and construction ideas. Students worked together to solve problems related to leaking boats, not having the right materials, and unbalanced boats. Students reflected on their experiences and worked on reflection sheets that had them thinking about how to transfer alternative energy sources into usable energy, the importance of simulations and models, and the value of communicating. Another component of this whole project was creating an iMovie of their experience and providing advice for next year’s fifth graders.