Mr. Sampsell 4-6 Science

Fifth graders at Parshall Elementary will be using FOSS to learn about the Earth and Sun, Mixtures and Solutions, and Living Systems.  Each of these units will span approximately 11 weeks allowing for in-depth study of the concepts.  Each unit consists of hands-on experiments, non-fiction reading and writing opportunities, and aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards.  Below is an overview of the topics we will cover in sixth grade, as well as list of focus questions which will guide our studies.

Earth and Sun

  1. The Sun
    • How and why does your shadow change during the day?
    • What can be learned by studying the length and direction of shadows?
    • What causes day and night?
  2. Planetary System
    • How can you explain why we see some natural objects only in the night sky, some only in the day sky, and some at both times?
    • How would you describe the size and distance between Earth, the Moon, and the Sun?
    • How does the shape of the Moon change over 4 weeks?
    • How do the parts of the solar system interact?
    • Why do stars appear to move across the night sky?
  3. Earth’s Atmosphere
    • What is air?
    • What is Earth’s atmosphere?
    • How do meteorologists measure and record weather variables?
  4. Heating Earth
    • What happens to earth materials when they are exposed to sunlight?
    • How does energy transfer to the air?
    • What happens when a volume of fluid is warmed at the bottom?
    • What is the best design for a solar water heater?
  5. Water Planet
    • What causes condensation to form?
    • How does water vapor get into the air?
    • What is the water cycle?
    • What is the difference between weather and climate?


Mixtures and Solutions

  1. Separating Mixtures
    • How can a mixture be separated?
    • Where does the solid material go when a solution is made?
    • How can you separate a mixture of dry materials?
    • Are there materials outdoors that will dissolve in water?
  2. Developing Models
    • What is the process to develop a model of the black box?
    • How does a drought-stopper system work?
    • What is the difference between dissolving and melting?
  3. Concentration
    • Are all solutions made with soft-drink powder and water the same?
    • How can you determine which salt solution is more concentrated?
    • How can you determine the relative concentrations of three mystery solutions?
    • What is the relationship between salt-solution concentration and density?
  4. Reaching Saturation
    • Is there a limit to the amount of salt that will dissolve in 50 mL of water?
    • Does it always take the same amount of solid materials to saturate 50 mL of water?
    • What is the identity of the mystery substance?
    • What is our water samples?
    • What is a design to remove salt from ocean water?
  5. Fizz Quiz
    • What is the effect of mixing two substances with water?
    • How can we identify the products from the baking soda and calcium chloride solution?
    • What happens when you mix substances with water in a bag?

Living Systems

  1. Systems
    • How can you identify a system?
    • Is planet Earth a system?
    • What organisms are both predators and prey in the kelp forest ecosystem?
    • What happens when compost worms interact with organic litter?
  2. Nutrient Systems
    • What does yeast need to break its dormancy?
    • How do plants get the food they need?
    • How do animals get the nutrients they need?
  3. Transport Systems
    • How are nutrients transported to cells in a plant?
    • How do humans transport nutrients to their cells?
    • Why do people breathe?
  4. Sensory Systems
    • In dodgeball, how are you able to avoid being hit?
    • What features of organisms attract attention?
    • What behaviors are instinctive, and what behaviors are learned?
    • What are the parts of a marine ecosystem?