One of the most common questions I receive:
In what order do I teach these science concepts?
I love combining standards as much as possible. However, with a pacing guide and state testing in 5th (not to mention retests until the end of the school year), combining topics to be more thematic can be difficult.
Here’s one idea for thematic teaching. Study the ocean. Experiment to see how sand doesn’t dissolve in water, but salt does dissolve. Study constant properties of water and relative density. Learn about the ocean’s role in the water cycle, tides, and weathering, erosion, and deposition. Study ocean plants and animals. Learn about their life cycles, traits, and adaptations.
How fun does that sound? See my thematic Oceans Unit on TpT.
While thematic teaching may not be an option for all of us, we can go in a particular order and still review other concepts in a thematic way. Also, you can do a culminating project at the end of the year to combine all the topics learned.
I’ve always been provided with a pacing guide from my districts so I never really got to CHOOSE the order in which to teach the concepts. For the most part, the sequences provided made good sense, so I went with it. Here is the order I prefer.
1. Nature of Science
I like to get a head start on measurement tools, observations, and the scientific method before moving forward with new content. We reinforce and use these skills all year long, so a little introduction is great.
2. Physical Science
I like moving to physical science next mainly because properties of matter will be something students use the rest of the school year, especially in earth science. Let’s be real here too. There is a lot of prep that goes into physical science lessons and I’m at my best in September so it’s better. It’s just better…
Properties of Matter
Constant Properties of Water
Mixtures, Solutions, and Compounds
Force and Motion
Forms of Energy
3. Earth Science
Earth science is nice for the middle of the year. These concepts can be a bit more dense and it’s helpful to be further into the year to begin earth science.
Natural Resources and Fossil Fuels
Alternative Energy Resources
Rocks and Fossils
Weather and Climate
Sun, Earth, and Moon
Cycles in Space
4. Life Science
I like ending with life science because it’s in spring, the time for life. This makes outdoor observations, plants, and ecosystems a lot easier. We typically spend less time on life science concepts, so it helps to end the year with it.
Inherited Traits and Learned Behaviors