School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Science, Grade 5




State Curriculum Toolkit

Tools aligned to State Curriculum indicators and/or objectives.

  • Clarification of Indicator and/or Objective
    Explanation and/or examples of indicator and/or objective
  • Introduction for Standard or Indicator
  • Public Release Items
    Actual MSA items and annotated student responses as appropriate

Standard 2.0 Earth/Space Science

Students will use scientific skills and processes to explain the chemical and physical interactions (i.e., natural forces and cycles, transfer of energy) of the environment, Earth, and the universe that occur over time.


A. Materials and Processes That Shape A Planet


  • 2. Cite and describe the processes that cause rapid or slow changes in Earth's surface.
  1. Identify and describe events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and flooding which change surface features rapidly.
  2. Recognize that the natural force of gravity causes changes in the Earth's surface features as it pulls things towards Earth, as in mud and rock slides, avalanches, etc.
  3. Cite examples that demonstrate how the natural agents of wind, water, and ice produce slow changes on the Earth's surface such as carving out deep canyons and building up sand dunes.


  • 3. Explain how rock is formed from combinations of different minerals and that smaller rocks come from the breakage and weathering of bedrock (solid rock underlying soil components) and larger rocks; soil is made partly from weathered rock, partly from plant remains-and also contains many living organisms.
  1. Observe and classify a collection of minerals based on their physical properties.
  2. Identify and compare the properties of rocks that are composed of a single mineral with those of other rocks made of several minerals using their physical properties.
  3. Describe ways that the following processes contribute to changes always occurring to the Earth's surface.


D. Astronomy


  1. Recognize that like all planets and stars, the Earth is spherical in shape.
  2. Identify the properties of the planet Earth that make it possible for the survival of life as we know it.
  3. Compare the properties of at least one other planet in our solar system to those of Earth to determine if it could support life, as we know it.
  4. Identify and describe physical properties of comets, asteroids, and meteors.
  5. Provide evidence that supports the idea that our solar system is sun-centered.


  1. Describe the rotation of the planet Earth on its axis.
  2. Recognize and describe that the rotation of planet Earth produces observable effects
  3. Describe the revolution of the planet Earth around the sun.
  4. Recognize and describe that the revolution of the planet Earth produces effects.
    • The observable patterns of stars in the sky stay the same although different stars can be seen in different seasons.
    • Length of year
  5. Verify with models and cite evidence that the moon's apparent shape and position change.


E. Interactions of Hydrosphere and Atmosphere


  • 1. Recognize and describe that the amount of water on Earth continues to stay the same even though it may change from one form to another.
  1. Describe how water on Earth changes.
  2. Explain that the sun is the main source of energy that causes the changes in the water on Earth.
  3. Describe the relationship between the amount of energy from the sun and the quantity of water that is changed.
  4. Describe the processes that maintain a continuous water cycle.

Note: Highlighting identifies assessment limits. All highlighted Indicators will be tested on the Grades 5 and 8 MSA. The highlighted Objectives under each highlighted Indicator identify the limit to which MSA items can be written. Although all content standards are tested on MSA, not all Indicators and Objectives are tested. Objectives that are not highlighted will not be tested on MSA, however are an integral part of Instruction.

January 2008