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  • 5th Grade

    Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water. 5-LS1-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment. 5-LS2-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Use models to describe that that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun. 5-PS3-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

Science and Engineering Practices

Developing and Using Models

Modeling in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to building and revising simple models and using models to represent events and design solutions.

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Engaging in argument from evidence in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to critiquing the scientific explanations or solutions proposed by peers by citing relevant evidence about the natural and designed world(s).

Disciplinary Core Ideas

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections


  • RI.5.1 - Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. (5-LS1-1)
  • RI.5.7 - Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently. (5-LS2-1), (5-PS3-1)
  • RI.5.9 - Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably. (5-LS1-1)
  • SL.5.5 - Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes. (5-LS2-1), (5-PS3-1)
  • W.5.1 - Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. (5-LS1-1)


  • 5.MD.A.1 - Convert among different-sized standard measurement units within a given measurement system (e.g., convert 5 cm to 0.05 m), and use these conversions in solving multi-step, real world problems. (5-LS1-1)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (5-LS1-1), (5-LS2-1)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (5-LS1-1), (5-LS2-1)
  • MP.5 - Use appropriate tools strategically. (5-LS1-1)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  •   This game can be played by one or two players. Each player chooses an animal and then has to build a habitat with an ecosystem that will let them survive and thrive. Food Fight has a feature called SnapThought ™  that allows the ...

  • Over the course of lessons 4 and 5 (of a 14 lesson unit) students set up experiments comparing the growth of plants under different conditions, then observe their experiments over several weeks, recording observations along the wa ...

  • In this activity, the class will set up an investigation to determine which materials plants need for growth. One of five plants has an appropriate amount of water, light, soil and air. Each of the other four has had one of these& ...

  • This article provides background and tips for using the “Needs of Seeds” formative assessment probe. Students demonstrate pre-knowledge as to whether or not seeds have needs both similar to and different from mature plants and other ...

  • This Concord Consortium unit utilizes Science, Math, and ELA lessons to teach students about plants' need for sunlight, air and water. Students take an online pre-test, read a story, reflect on their understanding through writ ...

  • Students will be acting as agricultural engineers as they conduct a scientific experiment to test the effectiveness of a sustainable pest-control technique called soil biosolarization that uses organic waste (oatmeal, flour or cornstarch) r ...

  • This activity is a culmination of a 16 day unit of study where students explore the biosphere's environments and ecosystems. In this final activity, students apply what they learned about plants, animals, and decomposers to design and create ...

  • Students use an ecosystem simulator to test their hypotheses about producer/consumer and predator/prey relationships. The simulation includes grass, rabbits, hawks and foxes interacting together in one ecosystem. Students can ...

  • Students identify an owl pellet's contents and practice recording and analyzing the data.

  • This resource consists of five activities for students to explore food webs and food pyramids within the context of a wetlands ecosystem. The example ecosystem is based in Ohio but would work as an ecosystem introduction in any state. The lessons hig ...

  • Students will create a terrarium, make observations of the terrarium, then develop a model to explain how matter transfers within the ecosystem. This resource describes the process of creating a terrarium (which will serve as the phenomena that th ...

  • In this lesson students participate in a classroom model of a food web. During the creation of the model, students discuss types or organisms, relationships between organisms in an ecosystem, energy, and matter. An extension activity at the end of th ...

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  • The growth of food depends on the nutrients in the soil. Participants will gain hands-on experience in doing food tests. Literature books are used to arouse students’ understanding of food sources.

  • This modeling sequence allows students to explore how factors, both environmental and otherwise, can affect the relationships within an ecosystem through changes in population size.

  • Lessons in this unit: Lesson 1 - Which Materials Are Most Important for Plant Growth? Lesson 2 - Photosynthesis Lesson 3 - Air Plants Lesson 4 - Hydroponics Lesson 5 - Writing Your Claim

  • From TeachEngineering - In this multi-day activity, students explore environments, ecosystems, energy flow and organism interactions by creating a scale model biodome, following the steps of the engineering design process. The Procedure section provi...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students explore the concept of biodegradability by building and observing model landfills to test the decomposition of samples of everyday garbage items. They collect and record experiment observations over five days, seeing ...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students learn a simple technique for quantifying the amount of photosynthesis that occurs in a given period of time, using a common water plant (Elodea). They use this technique to compare the amounts of photosynthesis that o...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students learn about energy flow in food webs, including the roles of the sun, producers, consumers and decomposers in the energy cycle. They model a food web and create diagrams of food webs using their own drawings and/or im...

Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.