School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Science, Grade 5




State Curriculum Toolkit

Tools aligned to State Curriculum indicators and/or objectives.

  • Introduction for Standard or Indicator
  • Public Release Items
    Actual MSA items and annotated student responses as appropriate

Standard 3.0 Life Science

The students will use scientific skills and processes to explain the dynamic nature of living things, their interactions, and the results from the interactions that occur over time.


A. Diversity of Life


  • 1. Explain the idea that in any particular environment, some kinds of plants and animals survive well, some less well, and some cannot survive at all.
  1. Identify and describe features and behaviors of some of the plants and animals living in a familiar environment and explain ways that these organisms are well suited to their environment.
  2. Based on information about the features and behaviors of animals and plants from very different environments describe reasons that they might not survive if their environment changed or if they were moved from one environment to another.
  3. State reasons why certain animals such as whales, salmon, could not survive in the Chesapeake Bay.
  4. Research the kind of environment needed by the Maryland blue crab, the Black-eyed Susan (Maryland's state flower), or another Maryland native organism.
  5. Explain that the survival of individual organisms and entire populations can be affected by sudden (flood, Tsunami) or slow (global warming, air pollution) changes in the environment.


B. Cells


  1. Use microscopes, other magnifying instruments, or video technology to observe, describe, and compare single celled organisms, such as amoeba, euglena, paramecium, etc.
  2. Describe the observable behaviors of single celled organisms
  3. Cite evidence from data gathered that supports the idea that most single celled organisms have needs similar to those of multicellular organisms.


  • 2. Investigate and provide evidence that living things are made mostly of cells that can be seen and studied only through a microscope.
  1. Use microscopes and/or other video technology to investigate and describe that some organisms are composed of a collection of similar cells working together to meet basic needs of a "colony" of cells.
  2. Use microscopes and pictures to investigate, describe with drawings, and compare the cells in a variety of multicellular organisms, such as cells in elodea and onions; muscle cells, nerve cells, skin cells, etc in animals.
  3. Select information gathered from readings that provides evidence that some organisms' cells vary greatly in appearance and perform very different roles in the organism .


E. Flow of Matter and Energy


  • 1. Recognize that some source of energy is needed for all organisms to grow and survive.
  1. Identify the sun as the primary source of energy for all living organisms.
    • Plants use sunlight to make food
    • Plants and animals use food for energy and growth
  2. Cite evidence from observations and research that some insects and various other organisms depend on dead plant and animal material for food.
  3. Provide examples that justify the statement "Most animals' food can be traced back to plants."

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