Within this STEAM Reader Activity Book, the students of fifth grade at Sunny Street Elementary School continue their journey with our readers. The following describes key content areas in the book and is meant as a general summary as is not comprehensive of content.
It is the last year of elementary school and the students have arrived back ready to begin their final year. When they share their summer stories Mee tells her story of how a mountain lion scared the squirrels and rabbits from her backyard. This leads to a study of ecosystems, food chains and webs, and how ecosystems can be impacted by humans and natural disasters. They then study animal and plant adaptations and how they are either inherited through genes. They also lean about learned behaviors. On an overnight campout in a treehouse with their fathers, Zane and Tlingit are able to observe the adaptations of animals and how raccoons have adapted their paws to obtain food from a variety of sources including Zane’s lunch box that was left out.
The students review their knowledge of weather and climate and the interactions between the Sun, Moon and Earth that impact our daily lives. They prepare for a field trip to Padre Island where they study its climate. When they arrive, they study the processes of weathering, erosion and deposition and how this can lead to the formation of landforms such as the dunes they observe on the island. They learn that rock formations and fossils tell the history of the Earth. When they are back at school some of the students discover fossils unearthed by excavations of a new tennis court. A paleontologist visits the class and teaches them about the different fossils and how they tell stories about the history of the Earth.
The class embarks on the study of the different forms of matter, their physical properties and mixtures. This culminates in a Mystery Matter Game where they work in teams to identify matter based upon its physical properties. On a trip to Florida, Lia and her grandfather learn how fishing line bobbers float based upon their density.
The students work on a review of energy, force and work. They learn that energy can never be destroyed and how it transforms into other forms of energy. They learn about atoms and their particles, neutrons, protons and electrons and review circuits. They design engineer different circuits with different functions. In a field trip to a recording studio, they learn about sound as a form of energy and how it can be manipulated. Finally, they study light energy and how it travels through certain mediums. When Lia, Sarah and Yue are driven home in dense fog they see for themselves how light appears differently when shone through fog.
In the final chapter the class studies force and work. They study imbalanced forces for example in a tug-of-war and gravity, friction, inertia, speed and velocity. Finally, after winning a hard-won tennis competition, Alejandro puts the win down to physics and the gentle force required to tap the ball over the net.