5 NGSS-Aligned Elementary Classroom Resources from AACT

By Kim Duncan on March 19, 2017

As more states and schools adopt the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or similar guidelines, teachers at every level are wondering if their current lessons meet these expectations and how to adjust their approach to make existing resources and lessons support NGSS. In this post, we highlight five AACT lesson plans that are aligned with NGSS and can be used in a fifth grade classroom.The performance expectations for fifth grade focus on the topics of water, chemical changes, change of matter, ecosystems, and energy. In all, there are 16 different performance expectations in the areas of physical science, life science, earth and space science, and engineering design. The five AACT lesson plans outlined below will help your students meet 13 of those 16 expectations.

  • Start your year off with the Modeling Molecules Lesson Plan which covers the foundational physical science topics of matter, atoms, molecules, and chemical bonding.In this two-part lesson that can span over several days, students explore the structure of matter by designing, building, comparing, and evaluating models of a variety of simple molecules. In the first part, they explore differences in composition between simple compounds. In the second part, they explore differences in structure. They then use what they have learned to better understand how substances are different and why every substance has its own unique properties.

    Modeling Molecules supports these NGSS Performance Expectations: 5-PS1-1, 5-PS1-3, 3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-2, 3-5-ETS1-3.
  • Next move on to the Plant Chemistry Lesson Plan, which explores the topics of matter, conservation of matter, chemical change, chemical reactions, and photosynthesis.In this lesson, students explore the concept of photosynthesis and have the opportunity to build molecules of water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and oxygen (O2). They then explore the structure of plant cells while creating models of plant cells and leaves. Finally, students model the chemical reaction for photosynthesis using their molecule models and leaf models.

    Plant Chemistry supports these NGSS Performance Expectations: 5-PS1-1, 5-PS3-1, 5-PS1-4, 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1, 5-ESS2-1, 5- ESS3-1, 3-5-ETS1-2.
  • For those of you who live in areas that get ice and snow, winter would be a good time to use the Salting Roads in Winter Lesson Plan which includes the topics of solubility, freezing point, solutes, solvents, and solutions.In this multi-day lesson plan, students investigate how the freezing point of water changes when salt is added. The hands-on investigations in this lesson help students understand why salt is spread on roads in cold and snowy conditions.

    Salting Roads in Winter supports these NGSS Performance Expectations: 5-PS1-1, 5-PS1-2, 5-PS1-4, 5-ESS2-1, 5- ESS3-1, 3-5-ETS1-1.
  • Now I Can Drink the Water! Lesson Plan follows nicely, as it covers the topics of states of matter, solutions, mixtures, and separating mixtures. In this three-day lesson, students review important concepts of the water cycle and then design, test, and evaluate a working model of a distiller. They extend their understanding of the critical need for desalination around the world as they research new and promising technologies.You might consider collaborating with the social studies teacher with this group of lessons to show your students the connections of science with the world around them.

    Now I Can Drink the Water! supports these NGSS Performance Expectations: 5-PS1-1, 5-PS1-2, 5-LS2-1, 5-ESS2-1, 5-ESS2-2, 3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-2, 3-5-ETS1-3)
  • Finish the year with a lesson that connects chemistry, biology, and earth science with the Environmental Problems Lesson Plan.This lesson, which explores the topic of mixtures, solutions, acids, and chemical reactions, is organized into four parts, each focused on a guiding question. Students are presented with an environmental problem which involves a lake with deteriorating water quality. Students are provided with a map of the area, its history, a list of problems that are occurring at Lake Kamari, and water-quality data. They are challenged to determine the cause of the problems and come up with possible solutions using important concepts of chemistry.

    Environmental Problems supports these NGSS Performance Expectations: 5-PS1-1, 5-PS1-3, 5-PS1-4, 5- PS3-1, 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1, 5- ESS2-1, 5- ESS2-2, 5- ESS3-1, 3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-2, 3-5-ETS1-3)

Not sure where to start with NGSS? AACT can help! These five AACT lesson plans have been aligned with NGSS and designed for use in the fifth grade science classroom. They each allow students to experience a number of fundamental chemistry topics, while being challenged to problem-solve, design and engineer solutions connected to real-world situations. I encourage you to embrace NGSS while providing an exciting science experience for your students by implementing one or more of these lessons in your own classroom today! You can find these lessons on the AACT website in the Elementary School Topics page. Members can view our archived webinar on NGSS Strategies for Facilitating Student Learning or our Chemistry Solutions article "Using NGSS in the Chemistry Classroom." Not an AACT member? Join today!