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Energy For Life Science Stations for Fifth Grade

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Every living thing requires energy to sustain life, but where does the energy come from? Sometimes, it seems like your fifth-graders have boundless energy. Maybe, because they’re stealing all of yours! Thankfully, there is always coffee and chocolate.

Your students may know they need food for energy, but do they know how food gives them energy? While they might think chocolate is magic (who can blame them?), do they understand that the energy they get from it can be traced back to the sun?

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

We developed an entire series of science stations all about coffee and chocolate…er…Energy for Life. (Really, it’s about Energy for Life, and they’re great). Eight different science stations guide your students through the fascinating worlds of photosynthesis, cellular respiration, and much more. All of the stations meet the Next Generation Science Standards for Fight Grade (5-PS3-1).

Everything your fifth-graders need to know about Energy for Life is included. These eight different science stations all teach and incorporate important skills through labs, experiments, videos, reading passages, and games. They are fun, engaging, and will make sure your students understand all the concepts required by the NGSS standards.

What’s Included in the Energy for Life Science Stations

What are these science stations about? Good question! In these stations, students will learn how every living organism needs energy to survive and how they get that energy. It explores concepts like photosynthesis and cellular respiration. The stations answer questions such as “What role does chlorophyll play in the lives of plants? How do oxygen and sugars work together inside cells? What does the sun have to do with any of this?”

Students make observations, construct explanations, use evidence to support a claim, and design solutions to problems throughout the unit to find answers to these questions and more. The science stations contain challenging material for fifth graders, with new words and concepts in easy-to-implement, interactive stations.

Focus on NGSS Standards for 5-PS3-1

Next Generation Science Standards are written to be “Three Dimensional.”  The three dimensions are Performance Expectation, Disciplinary Core Idea, and Science and Engineering Practices/Crosscutting Concepts.

The Energy for Life Science Stations Unit focuses on these standards:

  • Performance Expectation 5-PS3-1. “Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.”
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas:
    • 5-PS3.D – “The energy released [from] food was once energy from the sun that was captured by plants in the chemical process that forms plant matter (from air and water)”
    • 5-LS1.C – “Food provides animals with the materials they need for body repair and growth and the energy they need to maintain body warmth and for motion.”
  • Science and Engineering Practice: Developing and Using Models
    • Modeling in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to building and revising simplemodels and using models to represent events and design solutions
      • Use models to describe phenomena
  • Crosscutting Concept: Energy and Matter
    • Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects

Big Idea Posters for Energy for Life

Our Energy for Life Science Stations Unit comes with Big Idea posters that are perfect for students to understand the science concepts at the heart of this study.

Some of the Big Ideas include:

  • Photosynthesis:
    • happens when carbondioxide and water use the sun’s energy to form sugar and oxygen
    • turns the sun’s energy into chemical energy
  • Cellular Respiration:
    • happens when sugar and oxygen react to form carbon dioxide and water
    • turns chemical energy into energy for life’s processes
These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

There are six Big Idea Posters in this unit. Only the Energy for Life Unit Bundle includes the Big Idea Posters. The Posters are not included for each individual station.

Vocabulary Cards

Vocabulary cards can be fun! (And it’s not just the caffeine talking right now). We’ve made vocabulary cards with vibrant pictures and easy-to-understand definitions. Included with the Unit are two sets of vocabulary cards.

One set contains the vocabulary word with a picture and definition. Each card has cutting lines so that you, or your students, can cut out the three sections of each card. Mix up all the words, pictures, and definitions, and you have an instant game your students will enjoy.

Hint: You can laminate these, too, and use them year after year, OR have students glue the completed vocabulary cards into their science notebooks.

Oh, they are the perfect size for pocket charts, too!

The second set of vocabulary cards has the words and definitions in a larger font. This set is great for a science word wall. Both sets contain the same words, so you pick which one(s) are most suitable for your classroom without having to worry whether or not you’re covering it all.

The Energy for Life vocabulary cards are only available in the Unit Bundle. They are not available for each individual science station.

Differentiated Responses for Each Science Station

Not every classroom looks the same. Not every child learns the same way. That’s why all of our science stations include a variety of ways for students to interact with each station. There are five different ways to respond to each station:

  • short answer questions
  • fill-in-the-blank questions without a word bank
  • fill-in-the-blank with a word bank
  • task cards with short answers
  • task cards with multiple choice

All the variations are similar to one another, but require a different level of independence. The fill-in-the-blank is the easiest and is perfect for your students who struggle with reading.  The short answer is the most difficult as it requires students to construct their own responses without much support.

Choose the format that best fits your classroom and students. Students are also encouraged to use their science journal task cards.  Answer keys are included.

Some activities also include an activity sheet or worksheet in addition to the differentiated responses. This activity sheet is the “work” of the station while the differentiated responses require students to think broadly about the topic and concept.

You can find examples of the questions in some of the images below.

Reading Passages

All stations, except the Watch and Play stations, include reading passages. Most of the reading passages are optional, but they do build students’ background knowledge and solidify key concepts. Use them if your students do not have prior knowledge of the topic of the station.

The reading passages come in two formats. You’ll see versions of both of these formats in the photographs below. Both versions have the same text, but different layouts.

  • Full-page with color border
  • Two-Column with a black border

See examples of the two formats in the images below.

Google Classroom Components

All of our fifth-grade science stations come with components easily integrated with Google Classroom. Google Forms and Google Slides are included for most stations.

  • A Google Form™️ with Reading Passage & Differentiated Questions is available for the Watch, Investigate, Diagram, Read, Model, Explore and Sort stations.
  • Google Slides™️ with Activity Directions & Worksheets are available for for Investigate, Diagram, Model, Explore, and Sort.

Most of the hands-on activities still require physical components, but we have provided the directions and recording sheets in Google Slides.

Watch a Video about Energy for Life

This is a pretty popular station with students. Videos often bring understanding science to a whole new level. There are two videos to choose from; one about photosynthesis, and the other one about energy flowing through living things. While we do recommend picking one video to watch, feel free to do both if you have the time.

After watching, students will answer questions about the video. This station contains several worksheets with open-ended, short-answer questions, fill-in-the-blank sentences, and more. Task cards are also included.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Play a Game About Energy for Life

Let’s get ready to ruuummble! Kidding! The Play a Game Science Station is probably THE favorite station of students. It includes two board games, a word search puzzle, and a crossword puzzle. Each is designed for maximum fun, and to reinforce what students have learned about Energy for Life.

There are two board games for students to choose from; the normal race to the end, and the infinite loop! With each game, students have to answer questions in order to advance their tokens. The infinite loop adds a little extra surprise to make things more interesting.

Also included are a crossword puzzle and word search. There are two versions of the crossword puzzle; one with a word list, and one without. The crossword puzzle and word search also come in digital formats. The digital form changes each time the page is loaded so each student can work on their own versions of the puzzles.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Investigate Photosynthesis with Sun Bubbles

In the Investigate Sun Bubbles station, students read about photosynthesis and investigate the sun’s importance in the process. Like all of our science stations, differentiated questions are included to help cement students’ understanding.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.
These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Diagram From Sunlight to Sugar

In the Diagram station, students will read about the flow of energy through living things. They will create diagrams of the flow based on their reading. When they are finished, they will answer questions to reinforce what they learned.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.
These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Read About Energy in Living Things

In this science station, students read a passage about the energy flow through living things. Students then answer questions about the reading passage.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Model Energy Flow through Living Things

How does energy flow through all living things? How do the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration create the energy needed for life? In this Model Science Station, students read about how energy flows through living things and then create models of each process. They will then answer questions about the concepts they learned.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.
These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Explore Sugar Eaters

In the Explore station, students read about chemical reactions. They will record reactions and determine if a chemical or physical reaction has taken place. They will answer questions in order to reinforce what they have learned.

In the Explore Sugar Eaters station, students will read about…sugar eaters! Or, they might actually be reading about the flow of energy through living things. Basically, the same thing. After they read the passage, they will perform an Explore activity where they will witness the connection of energy and life firsthand. They will then answer questions to help them understand the concepts better.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.
These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Sort Photosynthesis or Cellular Resperation

For the Sort Science Station, students read about the energy flow through living things. They will sort scenarios into three categories: Related to Photosynthesis, Related to Cellular Respiration, or Neither. Students will then answer questions to further their understanding.

These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

Here are a few examples. Can you determine which is photosynthesis and which is cellular respiration?

  • Leaves absorb sunlight.
  • The planets stay in orbit around the sun.
  • Provides energy for plants to grow
  • Provides energy for animals to run
  • Bears are mammals.
These Energy for Life Next Generation Science Stations include eight different science stations where students deepen their understanding of photosynthesis, energy in food that transfers to animals for life processes. The focus is on 5-PS3-1. Each station is designed to last about 15-20 minutes.

How to Purchase the Fifth Grade Energy for Life Science Stations

The Energy for Life Science Station Unit can be purchased on my website or on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Other Fifth Grade Science Stations

We have fifth-grade science stations for all of the NGSS Standards. Click below for information about each one!

Energy For Life Science Stations for Fifth Grade

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