Barbara Soots, Washington OSPI OER Project, Pranjali Upadhyay
Applied Science, Environmental Science, Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson, Lesson Plan, Unit of Study
Upper Primary
  • 5th grade
  • 5th-grade
  • Climate Science
  • ClimeTime
  • Earth Space Science
  • Solving Global Problems
  • WA social studies
  • climate action
  • climate-action
  • earth-space-science
  • solving-global-problems
  • wa-science
  • wa-social-studies
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs

    Education Standards

    Becoming Protectors of the Earth

    Becoming Protectors of the Earth


    This 5th grade STEM Storyline Unit from Washington Educational Service District 112 is focused around Climate Justice, Over five NGSS aligned lessons and using the 5E model, students are presented with the ideas of environmental stewardship and restoration.


    In this 5th grade STEM Storyline Unit focused around Climate Justice, we present students with the idea of environmental stewardship and restoration. Students learn from communities and activists who are working to protect the Earth against negative human impacts. We believe that a part of STEM literacy is the ability for students to be aware of and think critically about the ways in which we are protecting or disturbing the natural world. We hope to use this unit to amplify the voices of Youth Activists of Color and support your 5th graders in developing their own voices as leaders in their community. The unit culminates with students presenting their learning to their community in order to expand their community’s understanding of environmental stewardship.


    1. Becoming Protectors of the Earth: In this lesson, students will be introduced to the idea of becoming stewards of the Earth. Students will think about what it means to be a protector of the Earth and will think about what more they must learn in order to conserve and restore the environment.
    2. Where in the Galaxy are We!?: In this lesson, students will explore our place in the universe by learning about the Earth and its location in the solar system and in the galaxy. Students will better understand the way that celestial objects are located in relation to the Earth and the afect that they have on Earth’s processes. The lesson will culminate with the students writing a statement to describe the uniqueness of the Earth and the need for planetary stewardship.
    3. Air and the Earth: In this lesson, students will use investigations to learn more about the way that the Earth is afected by changes in air, water, and land which have an impact on our weather and climate.
    4. The Living Earth: In this lesson, students will create a model to show how the Earth’s Systems interact. Students will work with expert groups to more deeply understand one Earth System and will help their Earth Model team in creating a model of the systems of the Earth. Students will apply their understanding to interpret interactions they see in their local setting. Students will also apply their understanding to interpret the problem being faced by youth activists across the country.
    5. Imagining a Brighter Future: In this lesson, students will work with another (diferent) Expert Group team to study one aspect of the climate change phenomenon or human-related negative impact to the Earth’s systems. Teams will study specifc instances of activism that relate to the problem they are learning more about. Then, teams will create a public-facing product to share their learning, highlight the eforts of activism that is happening, and share some recommendations that they learned from their study.

    Storyline Training

    Becoming Protectors of the Earth | STEM Storylines


    download iconA digital copy of this document is available on the STEM Materials Center website 

    Attribution and License


    This unit is a result of a collaborative efort between Educational Service District 112 and educators and specialists from other school districts and agencies. 

    Pranjali Upadhyay, Integrated Curriculum Coordinator
    Educational Service District 112

    Graphic Designer
    Melissa Burt, Sr. Graphic Designer & Content Strategist
    Educational Service District 112

    Revision Team
    Stacy Meyer, Regional Science Coordinator, ESD 112
    Rae Jing Han, Research Scientist, University of Washington Institute of Science and Math Education

    Cover Image by Prawny from Pixabay 
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