Fifth grade kicked off the year discussing what scientists do and how they study and learn. The fifth grade scientists then practiced these skills by selecting seashells from Ms. Siacor’s beach bag to observe scientifically. As part of their observations, the students drew detailed diagrams of the sea shells, and developed inquiry questions about them. This was a great way to prepare for their first Earth science unit of the year, focusing on the Earth’s systems and hydrology.
Next, the fifth graders started learning about hydrology by looking at how much water is in the world. For this inquiry, the students divided world maps between them and added up how many squares of salt, frozen, and fresh water they found on each map. They then created a bar graph of their results, using math skills to divide the totals of each type of water by 50, and using one sticker to represent each 50 squares. The students were astonished to discover that fresh, ‘scoopable’ water makes up only about 1% of planet Earth’s surface water!