STEM Lab Grade 5   (#5020120)

Version for Academic Year:

Course Standards

General Course Information and Notes

Version Description

This course offers students an opportunity to deepen science, mathematics, engineering, and technology skills.  The primary content focus will be to expand knowledge of current grade level standards in mathematics and science by applying that content in a real world, hands-on situation involving engineering and technology.  For fifth grade, themes will focus on the investigation of number sense, measurement, geometry, and physical science concepts.

Students will participate in various hands-on STEM activities in this supplemental course to assist in the mastery of current grade level mathematics and science standards.

Instructional Practices 
Teaching from a range of complex text is optimized when teachers in all subject areas implement the following strategies on a routine basis:

  1. Ensuring wide reading from complex text that varies in length.
  2. Making close reading and rereading of texts central to lessons.
  3. Emphasizing text-specific complex questions, and cognitively complex tasks, reinforce focus on the text and cultivate independence.
  4. Emphasizing students supporting answers based upon evidence from the text.
  5. Providing extensive research and writing opportunities (claims and evidence).

Science and Engineering Practices (NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education, 2010)

  • Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering).
  • Developing and using models.
  • Planning and carrying out investigations.
  • Analyzing and interpreting data.
  • Using mathematics, information and computer technology, and computational thinking.
  • Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering).
  • Engaging in argument from evidence.
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.

English Language Development (ELD) Standards Special Notes Section:

Teachers are required to provide listening, speaking, reading and writing instruction that allows English Language Learners (ELL) to communicate information, ideas and concepts for academic success in science and math.  For the given level of English language proficiency and with visual, graphic, or interactive support, students will interact with grade level words, expressions, sentences and discourse to process or produce language necessary for academic success.  The ELD standard should specify a relevant content area concept or topic of study chosen by curriculum developers and teachers which maximizes an ELL's need for communication and social skills.  To access an ELL supporting document which delineates performance definitions and descriptors, please click on the following link:  {{AzureStorageLink}}/uploads/docs/standards/eld/sc.pdf.

For additional information on the development and implementation of the ELD standards, please contact the Bureau of Student Achievement through Language Acquisition at

General Information

Course Number: 5020120
Course Path:
Abbreviated Title: STEM LAB 5
Course Length: Year (Y)
Course Attributes:
  • Class Size Core Required
Course Status: Course Approved

Educator Certifications

One of these educator certification options is required to teach this course.

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this course.

Original Student Tutorials

Making Art Part 2: Solving Addition and Subtraction Fraction Word Problems:

Learn to solve addition and subtraction word problems involving fractions with unlike denominators. As you complete this art-themed, interactive tutorial, you'll use visual models, write and solve equations, and check the reasonableness of results based on estimates.

This is part 2 of a two-part series. Click below to open part 1.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Making Art Part 1: Estimating Adding and Subtracting Fractions Using Benchmarks:

Read word problems and use number lines with benchmarks to solve multi-step problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions with unlike denominators. In this tutorial, you will help Daisy and Angie paint pictures using fractions. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Kickin' It: Playing Soccer with Inertia:

Explore the relationship between mass, forces, and motion on the soccer field in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Electric Circuits:

Investigate how the flow of electricity requires a closed circuit in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

A Day at the Park: Time:

Learn how to convert time from seconds to minutes, minutes to hours, and hours to days. In this interactive tutorial, you will also practice converting time to fractional amounts.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Push It! Force and Motion:

Explore different kinds of forces, including pushes, pulls, magnetism, gravity, and friction in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Buffy's Bakery Part 4- Multiplying a Fraction by a Whole: Standard Algorithm:

Help Buffy multiply fractions by whole numbers using the standard algorithm in addition to visual fraction models in this bakery-themed, interactive tutorial.

This is part 4 of a 4-part series. Click below to open other tutorials in the series.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Adding Potions with Unlike Fractions Part 1:

Explore how to add fractions less than one with unlike denominators in this magical, interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Healthy Distance: Social Distancing Measurement Conversions:

Learn why it's sometimes important to use social distancing to reduce the spread of germs and how to estimate and convert this customary distance with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Energy Transformations:

Investigate electrical energy and how it can be transformed into different forms including heat, light, sound, and motion energy in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Grasshopper Hut for Gus: Line Plots:

Help build a Grasshopper Hut for Gus by creating line plots and answering questions about the line plots in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Video Game Store: Volume!:

Help solve the problem of shipping video games and accessories to customers by calculating the volume of the containers needed in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Building Blocks of Volume :

Build on your previous knowledge of area and learn how to calculate volume in cubic units with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Just Get to the Point!:

Practice plotting coordinates, in Quadrant I, using ordered pairs in this interactive tutorial for students.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

What Do You Mean the Coordinate Plane Doesn’t Fly?:

Learn about the basics of the coordinate plane by focusing on Quadrant I and see why the coordinate plane is useful in everyday life in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Bee A Coder Part 1: Declare Variables:

Learn how to define, declare and initialize variables as you start the journey to "bee" a coder in this interactive tutorial. Variables are structures used by computer programs to store information.  You'll use your math skills to represent a fraction as a decimal to be stored in a variable.

This is part 1 of a 4-part series on coding. Click below to open the other tutorials in the series.


Type: Original Student Tutorial

Investigate Like a Scientist: Types of Scientific Study:

Explore the differences between an experiment and other types of scientific investigations as you complete this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Electrical To Thermal Energy:

Learn how electrical energy is produced from earth's natural resources. In this interactive tutorial, explore the process to power buildings and other electronic devices.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Einstein's Guide To Forces And Motion:

Investigate and explain that when a force is applied to an object but it does not move, it is because another opposing force is being applied by something in the environment so the forces are balanced. This interactive tutorial also includes practice items to check your knowledge.


Type: Original Student Tutorial

Energy and Motion:

Explore the connection between energy and motion.  Help Thomas the turtle win the race by using your knowledge of energy and work. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Samantha’s Shell-Collecting Adventure:

Learn to interpret data presented on a line plot and use operations on fractions to solve problems involving information presented in line plots as you complete this beach-themed, interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Measuring to Build a Ramp:

Learn how to convert among different-sized customary units of weight, length, capacity, and units of time at the skate park in the this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Identifying the Control Group:

Learn to identify a control group and explain its importance in an experiment with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Do You Need Me to Repeat That?:

Learn about the importance of repeated trials in a scientific experiment with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Energy Scavenger Hunt at an Amusement Park:

Visit an amusement park to be able to investigate and describe some basic forms of energy, including light, heat, sound, electrical, chemical, and mechanical.

Type: Original Student Tutorial


Learn to identify a fraction as division of the numerator by the denominator using fraction models in this interactive tutorial.  

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Some Like It Hot:

Learn how heat is a form of energy. You will also look at other examples of energy as they are found during a camping trip.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

You Sank my Battleship! :

Learn how to accurately plot coordinates on a plane in interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Working for Wonka:

Demonstrate how a rectangular prism can be carefully filled without gaps or overlaps using the same size unit cubes and then use this model to determine its volume, in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Marvelous Solid Mixtures: Let’s Sort them Out!:

Learn and demonstrate that mixtures of solids can be separated by observable properties in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

How Do We Do Science?:

Learn how authentic scientific investigations do not always follow the steps of the traditional "scientific method" with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Educational Games

Fraction Quiz:

Test your fraction skills by answering questions on this site. This quiz asks you to simplify fractions, convert fractions to decimals and percentages, and answer algebra questions involving fractions. You can even choose difficulty level, question types, and time limit.

Type: Educational Game

Maze Game:

In this activity, students enter coordinates to make a path to get to a target destination while avoiding mines. This activity allows students to explore Cartesian coordinates and the Cartesian coordinate plane. This activity includes supplemental materials, including background information about the topics covered, a description of how to use the application, and exploration questions for use with the java applet.

Type: Educational Game

Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Amplifying Forces with an Atlatl:

Ancient weapons technologies developed by humans proved that they were better at physics than the saber-toothed cats.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Problem-Solving Tasks

Computing Volume Progression 1:

Students are asked to determine the number of unit cubes needed to construct cubes with given dimensions.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Computing Volume Progression 2:

Students are asked to find the volume of water in a tank that is 3/4 of the way full.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Computing Volume Progression 3:

Students are asked to find the height of a rectangular prism when given the length, width and volume.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Computing Volume Progression 4:

Students are asked to apply knowledge of volume of rectangular prisms to find the volume of an irregularly shaped object using the principle of displacement.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Box of Clay:

This purpose of this task is to help students understand what happens when you scale the dimensions of a right rectangular solid. This task provides an opportunity to compare the relative volumes of boxes in order to calculate the mass of clay required to fill them. These relative volumes can be calculated geometrically, filling the larger box with smaller boxes, or arithmetically using the given dimensions.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

What is 23 ÷ 5?:

When a division problem involving whole numbers does not result in a whole number quotient, it is important for students to be able to decide whether the context requires the result to be reported as a whole number with remainder (as with Part (b)) or a mixed number/decimal (as with Part (c)). Part (a) presents two variations on a context that require these two different responses to highlight the distinction between them.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

How Much Pie?:

The purpose of this task is to help students see the connection between a÷b and a/b in a particular concrete example.  This task is probably best suited for instruction or formative assessment.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Mixed Numbers with Unlike Denominators:

The purpose of this task is to help students realize there are different ways to add mixed numbers and is most appropriate for use in an instructional setting. The two primary ways one can expect students to add are converting the mixed numbers to fractions greater than 1 or adding the whole numbers and fractional parts separately. It is good for students to develop a sense of which approach would be better in a particular context.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Making S'Mores:

The purpose of this instructional task is to motivate a discussion about adding fractions and the meaning of the common denominator. The different parts of the task have students moving back and forth between the abstract representation of the fractions and the meaning of the fractions in the context.

Type: Problem-Solving Task


The purpose of this task is to present students with a situation where it is natural to add fractions with unlike denominators; it can be used for either assessment or instructional purposes. Teachers should anticipate two types of solutions: one where students calculate the distance Alex ran to determine an answer, and one where students compare the two parts of his run to benchmark fractions.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Salad Dressing:

The purpose of this task is to have students add fractions with unlike denominators and divide a unit fraction by a whole number. This accessible real-life context provides students with an opportunity to apply their understanding of addition as joining two separate quantities.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Minutes and Days:

This task requires division of multi-digit numbers in the context of changing units. In addition, the conversion problem requires two steps since 2011 minutes needs to be converted first to hours and minutes and then to days, hours, and minutes.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Finding Common Denominators to Subtract:

Part (a) of this task asks students to use two different denominators to subtract fractions. The purpose of this is to help students realize that any common denominator will work, not just the least common denominator. Part (b) does not ask students to do it in more than one way; the purpose is to give them an opportunity to choose a denominator and possibly compare with another student who chose a different denominator. The purpose of part (c) is to help students move away from a reliance on drawing pictures. Students can draw a picture if they want, but this subtraction problem is easier to do symbolically, which helps students appreciate the power of symbolic notation.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Finding Common Denominators to Add:

Part (a) of this task asks students to find and use two different common denominators to add the given fractions. The purpose of this question is to help students realize that they can use any common denominator to find a solution, not just the least common denominator. Part (b) does not ask students to solve the given addition problem in more than one way. Instead, the purpose of this question is to give students an opportunity to choose a denominator and possibly to compare their solution method with another student who chose a different denominator.  The purpose of part (c) is to give students who are ready to work symbolically a chance to work more efficiently.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Converting Fractions of a Unit into a Smaller Unit:

The purpose of this task is to help students gain a better understanding of fractions and the conversion of fractions into smaller units.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Egyptian Fractions:

One goal of this task is to help students develop comfort and ease with adding fractions with unlike denominators. Another goal is to help them develop fraction number sense by having students decompose fractions.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Do These Add Up?:

This task addresses common errors that students make when interpreting adding fractions word problems. It is very important for students to recognize that they only add fractions when the fractions refer to the same whole, and also when the fractions of the whole being added do not overlap. This set of questions is designed to enhance a student's understanding of when it is and is not appropriate to add fractions.

Type: Problem-Solving Task


Metric System: Units of Volume:

This Khan Academy tutorial video illustrates the conversion equivalence of liters, milliliters, and kiloliters.

Type: Tutorial

Coordinate Plane: Graphing Points Word Problem:

This Khan Academy tutorial video presentation represents a word problem's solution on a coordinate plane to determine the number of blocks walked from a home to a school.

Type: Tutorial

Coordinate Plane: Graphing Points in Quadrant I:

This Khan Academy tutorial video presents how to graph an ordered pair of positive numbers on the x- and y-axis of a coordinate plane.

Type: Tutorial

Redistributing Trail Mix:

This Khan Academy tutorial video presents a strategy for solving the following problem: given a dot plot with different measurements of trail mix in bags, find the amount of trail mix each bag would contain, if the total amount in all the bags was equally redistributed.

Type: Tutorial

Unit Measurement Word Problem: Distance (US Customary):

This Khan Academy tutorial video develops a visual diagram to use to solve a distance problem that requires converting feet to yards and other computations.

Type: Tutorial

Unit Conversion: Ordering Metric Distances Example:

This Khan Academy tutorial video demonstrates a strategy for ordering four different-sized metric length units.

Type: Tutorial

Volume through Decomposition:

This Khan Academy tutorial video illustrates how to find the volume of an irregular solid figure by dividing the figure into two rectangular prisms and finding the volume of each.  Although the tutorial works from a drawing, individual volume cubes are not drawn so students must work from the formula. 

Type: Tutorial

Volume: Decomposing a Solid Figure Example:

This Khan Academy tutorial video illustrates finding the volume of an irregular figure made up of unit cubes by separating the figure into two rectangular prisms and finding the volume of each part.

Type: Tutorial

Volume: Four Examples of Counting Unit Cubes:

This Khan Academy tutorial video illustrates measuring volume by counting unit cubes.  Models in this video include composite figure of rectangular prisms although only counting is used to find volume, not an equation.

Type: Tutorial

Volume: How to Measure It:

This Khan Academy tutorial video describes measurement in one, two, and three dimensions.

Type: Tutorial

Creating Common Denominators:

This tutorial explores the addition and subtraction of fractions with unlike denominators. Using the number line, this mathematical process can be easily visualized and connected to the final strategy of multiplying the denominators (a/b + c/d = ad +bc/bd).  The video number line does show negative numbers which goes beyond elementary standards so an elementary teacher would need to reflect on whether this video will enrich student knowledge or cause confusion.

Type: Tutorial

Least Common Denominators:

In this tutorial, students will be exposed to the strategy of finding the least common denominator for certain cases.  Elementary teachers should note this is not a requirement for elementary standards and consider whether this video will further student knowledge or create confusion.  This chapter explains how to find the smallest possible common denominator. For example, 2/3 + 5/4 = 8/12 + 15/12 = 23/12.  

Type: Tutorial

The Cartesian Coordinate System:

The Cartesian Coordinate system, formed from the Cartesian product of the real number line with itself, allows algebraic equations to be visualized as geometric shapes in two or three dimensions.  While this tutorial includes the basis of Coordinate system, it also includes ideas beyond fifth grade standards.  Most likely only advanced fifth graders would find the video engaging.  

Type: Tutorial

Adding and Subtracting Fractions:

This tutorial for student audiences will assist learners with a further understanding of the rules for adding and subtracting fractions. Students will be able to navigate the teaching portion of the tutorial at their own pace and test their understanding after each step of the lesson with a "Try This" section. The "Try This" section will monitor students answers and self-check by a right answer turning orange and a wrong answer dissolving.

Type: Tutorial

Energy Story:

This site provides text explaining what energy is and how it works in our world. The site includes simple definitions of energy and interesting pictures that help students relate energy to their everyday world. To navigate through the site click the titles beside each chapter in the blue box on the left side of the homepage.

Type: Tutorial

Converting Speed Units:

In this lesson, students will be viewing a Khan Academy video that will show how to convert ratios using speed units.

Type: Tutorial


Testing for Static Electricity:

This four minute video features a great explanation and demonstration of static electricity. The video also includes a great activity suggestion: create your own electroscopes to test for the presence of static electricity.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Virtual Manipulatives

A Pendulum:

This virtual manipulative will help the students learn some important concepts of classical mechanics, such as gravitational acceleration, energy conservation and so on. This activity will also help in students learning via the process of making predictions (about number of pendulum swings), discussing outcomes and sharing results.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Friction (at Molecular Workbench):

Friction is important in enabling the movement of objects. Friction is a force that acts in an opposite direction to movement. Friction is everywhere when objects come into contact with each other. Observe what happens when the surfaces are very smooth or slippery, it reduces the friction and thus it makes harder to stop the motion.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Static Electricity:

This online manipulative models and simulates common static electricity concepts such as transfer of charge.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Signal Circuit:

This virtual manipulative will help you learn why the lights turn on in a room as soon as someone flip the switch. This virtual manipulative will allow you to flip the switch and watch the electrons.
Some of the sample learning goals can be:

  • Explain what happens when you turn on the switch.
  • Determine whether the blue spheres are positive or negative charges. Explain your thinking.

Type: Virtual Manipulative


This resource will build the following skills:

  • Describe the relationship of mass and volume to density.
  • Compare objects of same mass and different volume and vice versa.
  • Explain that density of a certain object does not vary with its mass or volume.
  • Measure the volume of an object from fluid displacement.
  • Use density to identify an unknown material.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Balance Challenge Game:

Play with objects on a teeter totter to learn about balance.

  • Predict how objects of various masses can be used to make a plank balance.
  • Predict how changing the positions of the masses on the plank will affect the motion of the plank
  • Write rules to predict which way plank will tilt when objects are placed on it.
  • Use your rules to solve puzzles about balancing.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Explore the forces:

Students can create an applied force and see how it makes objects move. They can also make changes in friction and see how it affects the motion of objects.

  • Identify when forces are balanced vs. unbalanced.
  • Determine the sum of forces (net force) on an object with more than one force on it.
  • Predict the motion of an object with zero net force.
  • Predict the direction of motion given a combination of forces.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Forces in 1 Dimension:

This is a virtual manipulative which demonstrates the principles of force. Students can click on a man and push different objects of varying masses across the screen. The resulting forces (frictional and total force) are shown. Graphs show forces, position and acceleration as a function of time. Free body diagrams of all the forces can also be viewed.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Circuit Construction Simulation:

An electronics kit in your computer! Build circuits with resistors, light bulbs, batteries, and switches. Investigate conductivity of various materials. Take measurements with the realistic ammeter and voltmeter. View the circuit as a schematic diagram, or switch to a life-like view.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Fraction Game:

This virtual manipulative allows individual students to work with fraction relationships. (There is also a link to a two-player version.)

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this course.