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Fifth Grade, Environmental Science Lesson Plans (9 results)

As humans we are part of the environment. With over 7.5 billion of us on Earth, our combined actions also have a big impact on the environment. As long as we are aware of the impact, we can do things as individuals, and working together as groups, to lessen the detrimental impact of billions of people. Explore important topics like air quality, water quality, the effects of climate change, and many others to make informed decisions about caring for our planet.

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Try the annual Engineering Challenge from Science Buddies! Open to all students worldwide, a new challenge and prizes are announced every January. Explore the current challenge as well as ones from past years! Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th
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How do our everyday actions contribute to our ecological footprint? Can we change our individual actions to be more environmentally friendly and create a more sustainable lifestyle? In this lesson, students will evaluate their own environmental impact using an online tool called Your Plan, Your Planet, and evaluate simple ways to reduce their ecological footprint as an individual or community. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth's resources and environment.
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Try our new Science Project Pathways in Google Classroom. One tool to plan, assign, and manage a science project in your class.

Simply enter the project start date to get a customizable science project schedule that breaks the science project into a series of smaller more manageable assignments to keep students on track. The assignments use Science Buddies guide to the scientific method to take students step-by-step through a science project. From the schedule, teachers can make assignments in Google Classroom and view student progress on each assignment.

Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-8th
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The problems with using fossil fuels starts with extraction. In this activity, students "mine" chocolate chips out of cookies to demonstrate the effects mining can have on habitats. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 4-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
  • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th-9th
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Could you describe the kelp forest food web as a system? Your students will design and use a simple model to test cause and effect relationships or interactions concerning the functioning of a marine food web, ranking their hypothetical ecosystems according to their stability when faced with a natural or man-made disturbance. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
  • MS-LS2-3. Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th-8th
Do sea levels rise when ice melts? Does it matter whether the ice is on land or in the ocean? Students design an experiment to find out. They collect data, graph their results, and interpret their findings. Along the way, they learn about density, displacement, and climate change. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-PS1-2. Measure and graph quantities to provide evidence that regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling, or mixing substances, the total weight of matter is conserved.
  • MS-PS1-5. Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-11th
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Have you ever thrown away food after a meal? Have you ever thrown away a whole piece of food? What are some of the reasons you threw away that food? During this Food Waste Audit, students will explore their own impact on our food system. Students will brainstorm solutions to reduce their food waste and be challenged to try out their solution! Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-7th
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In this two-part inquiry-based activity, students will practice using the scientific method while learning about decomposition, exploring how some types of garbage will decompose while others will not. Students can then go on to design their own experiment to test different variables affecting the rate of decomposition. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-8th
In these two activities, students will explore two consequences of burning fossil fuels: air pollution and the greenhouse effect. For a comprehensive unit on fossil fuels, this lesson works especially well as an extension to Fossil Fuels: Chocolate Chip Mining. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 4-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment
  • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-7th
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Spill it and clean it! Students will observe the effects of a simulated oil spill on land, water, and wildlife. In groups, students will then test different materials and tools used to clean up oil spills and evaluate them for their effectiveness. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 4-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.
  • 3-5ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
  • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th-12th
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Where does CO₂ come from and how does excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affect the ocean and aquatic life? In this lesson students are introduced to the carbon cycle and explore pH and acidification with hands-on experiments. They then connect their experimental data with real-world data to evaluate claims about carbon dioxide and ocean acidification. Finally, students are introduced to how different companies and research groups are using green chemistry to build carbon capture… Read more
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