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  • 5th Grade

    Earth's Systems

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact. 5-ESS2-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Describe and graph the amounts and percentages of water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth. 5-ESS2-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment. 5-ESS3-1

    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.

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

Mathematical and computational thinking at the 3–5 level builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to extending quantitative measurements to a variety of physical properties and using computation and mathematics to analyze data and compare alternative design solutions.

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to evaluating the merit and accuracy of ideas and methods.

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-ESS3-1)
  • 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-ESS2-1), (5-ESS2-2), (5-ESS3-1)
  • RI.5.9 - Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably. (5-ESS3-1)
  • 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-ESS2-1), (5-ESS2-2)
  • W.5.8 - Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources. (5-ESS2-2), (5-ESS3-1)
  • W.5.9 - Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (5-ESS3-1)


  • 5.G.A.2 - Represent real world and mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane, and interpret coordinate values of points in the context of the situation. (5-ESS2-1)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (5-ESS2-1), (5-ESS2-2), (5-ESS3-1)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (5-ESS2-1), (5-ESS2-2), (5-ESS3-1)

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.
  • Using real data from NASA’s GRACE satellites, students track water mass changes in the U.S. over time. Students estimate water resources using heat-map data, create a line graph for a specific location, then assess trends and discuss implicatio ...

  • Students watching this Water Pollutants video will learn about the different types of pollutants that can be found in water sources. It highlights the damage that these pollutants can do to the environment as well as to humans. The video is 5:08 minu ...

  • In this activity, students learn about oil spills and the effects they have on Earth’s environment. The driving question students will be making sense of is: What can engineers design to prevent oil spills from polluting beaches and harming wil ...

  • This 28 minute movie from PBS depicts middle school aged students working in unison with the U.S. Naval Academy investigating oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay.  Oysters are known to help filter water, but due to a declining population of oyste ...

  • With approximately 1% of water on the planet Earth available for human consumption students will investigate various ways that engineers are working to maintain and conserve water sources. Students will research, design, and build ...

  • This unit activity combines learning about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth's resources and environment along with the engineering design process to create a water filtration system.  Constraints a ...

  • This 8 minute instructional video provides a model for teachers to follow of a week long investigation of oil spills and the environmental impact they have on shorelines and creatures. Students take on the task of cleaning up a simulated oil spill. E ...

  • Through role-playing as a particle of water, students gain an understanding of the complexity of the movement of water through earth’s systems. Stations are set-up for nine different water reservoirs associated with the water cycle. On each turn, stu ...

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