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Science Inquiry in Springfield—Student Learning and Exploration, Project SISSLE

The Project SISSLE team is developing two interdisciplinary units that comprehensively address all of the 5th grade science standards. These units are being developed using the Project Based Inquiry Learning and 7E Models of curriculum design. Both units incorporate reading, writing, and math skills as well as provide students with an opportunity to explore science topics to a deep level of understanding through the scientific inquiry process. The order in which lessons are given is important to the success of these units; however, more time can be given for certain activities. The units are also designed with some flexibility to allow adding in additional lessons or even other related topics.

Some lessons require Vernier software and scientific probes; other lessons require only access to student computers and the Internet. Many resources for these units are available through the WET Project (a district managed grant from EWEB).

The first unit is about the Sun, Earth, Moon System. The second unit is about Systems Science. Download the unit folders for specific content standards addressed, overviews, calendars, lesson plans, and teacher background information.

Project SISSLE supports the integration of online activities aligned with the Oregon Science Standards with a heavy emphasis on the scientific inquiry process. Many of these online activities have been integrated into the two unit plans. Some require prerequisite knowledge; some may be used as stand alone inquiries.

Each of the online manipulatives listed below was selected because it allows students to:

  • pose relevant questions,
  • plan and conduct investigations, and
  • use appropriate tools/techniques to gather data (e.g. do students have to select the correct tool or is the tool given to them; do they know what data to gather).

Each activity is paired with an online activity inquiry guide, which provides structure so that students can:

  • use their skills to organize and interpret data,
  • construct explanations,
  • use evidence to communicate defensible explanations of cause and effect, and
  • use scientific criteria to analyze alternative explanations.

Direct your students to the student-friendly page, 5th Grade Science Standards and Online Resources for links to the online manipulatives (NOTE: Chrome or Firefox are recommended for using these online resources).

If you choose to use these online inquiry activities as stand alone lessons, download the Online Inquiry Activity Guides for your use. If you choose to follow the unit plans, the guides are included in the unit plan links as well.

For more information about this project, or to see our latest work, see the project wiki.

5th Grade Science Standards and Online Resources

"Fifth grade science students develop an understanding of living and non-living things as systems composed of related parts that function together and interact with force, energy, and matter. They investigate the Sun-Earth-Moon system, how energy from the sun affects Earth’s weather and climate, and how forces affect objects on Earth. They study adaptation and the interdependence of organisms and the environment."

5.1 Structure and Function: Living and non-living things are composed of related parts that function together to form systems.

5.1E.1 Describe the Sun-Earth-Moon system.

5.1L.1 Explain that organisms are composed of parts that function together to form a living system

5.2 Interaction and Change: Force, energy, matter, and organisms interact within living and non-living systems.

5.2E.1 Explain how the energy from the sun affects Earth’s weather and climate.

5.2L.1 Explain the interdependence of plants, animals, and environment, and how adaptation influences survival.

5.2P.1 Describe how friction, gravity, and magnetic forces affect objects on or near Earth.

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