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Science provides an empirical way of answering interesting and important questions about the biological, physical and technological world. The knowledge it produces has proved to be a reliable basis for action in our personal, social and economic lives.



The Australian Curriculum: Science aims to ensure that students develop:

an interest in science as a means of expanding their curiosity and willingness to explore, ask questions about and speculate on the changing world in which they live.


Key ideas

In the Australian Curriculum: Science, there are six key ideas that represent key aspects of a scientific view of the world and bridge knowledge and understanding across the disciplines of science, as shown Figure 1 below. These are embedded within each year level description and guide the teaching/learning emphasis for the relevant year level.



The three interrelated strands of science
The Australian Curriculum: Science has three interrelated strands: science understanding, science as a human endeavour and science inquiry skills.


Science Scope and Sequence (PDF)

Resources and support materials for the Australian Curriculum: Science are available as PDF documents. 
Science: Sequence of content
Science: Sequence of achievement 




Year 5

Year 5 Level Description

The science inquiry skills and science as a human endeavour strands are described across a two-year band. In their planning, schools and teachers refer to the expectations outlined in the achievement standard and also to the content of the science understanding strand for the relevant year level to ensure that these two strands are addressed over the two-year period. The three strands of the curriculum are interrelated and their content is taught in an integrated way. The order and detail in which the content descriptions are organised into teaching and learning programs are decisions to be made by the teacher.

Incorporating the key ideas of science

Over Years 3 to 6, students develop their understanding of a range of systems operating at different time and geographic scales.

In Year 5, students are introduced to cause and effect relationships through an exploration of adaptations of living things and how this links to form and function. They explore observable phenomena associated with light and begin to appreciate that phenomena have sets of characteristic behaviours. They broaden their classification of matter to include gases and begin to see how matter structures the world around them. Students consider Earth as a component within a solar system and use models for investigating systems at astronomical scales. Students begin to identify stable and dynamic aspects of systems, and learn how to look for patterns and relationships between components of systems. They develop explanations for the patterns they observe.

Year 5 Content Descriptions

Biological sciences

Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043 - Scootle )
  • explaining how particular adaptations help survival such as nocturnal behaviour, silvery coloured leaves of dune plants
  • describing and listing adaptations of living things suited for particular Australian environments
  • exploring general adaptations for particular environments such as adaptations that aid water conservation in deserts

Chemical sciences

Solids, liquids and gases have different observable properties and behave in different ways (ACSSU077 - Scootle )
  • recognising that substances exist in different states depending on the temperature
  • observing that gases have mass and take up space, demonstrated by using balloons or bubbles
  • exploring the way solids, liquids and gases change under different situations such as heating and cooling
  • recognising that not all substances can be easily classified on the basis of their observable properties

Earth and space sciences

The Earth is part of a system of planets orbiting around a star (the sun) (ACSSU078 - Scootle )
  • identifying the planets of the solar system and comparing how long they take to orbit the sun
  • modelling the relative size of and distance between Earth, other planets in the solar system and the sun
  • recognising the role of the sun as a provider of energy for the Earth

Physical sciences

Light from a source forms shadows and can be absorbed, reflected and refracted (ACSSU080 - Scootle )
  • drawing simple labelled ray diagrams to show the paths of light from a source to our eyes
  • comparing shadows from point and extended light sources such as torches and fluorescent tubes
  • classifying materials as transparent, opaque or translucent based on whether light passes through them or is absorbed
  • recognising that the colour of an object depends on the properties of the object and the colour of the light source
  • exploring the use of mirrors to demonstrate the reflection of light
  • recognising the refraction of light at the surfaces of different transparent materials, such as when light travels from air to water or air to glass

Nature and development of science

Science involves testing predictions by gathering data and using evidence to develop explanations of events and phenomena and reflects historical and cultural contributions (ACSHE081 - Scootle )
  • developing an understanding of the behaviour of light by making observations of its effects
  • testing predictions relating to the behaviour of solids, liquids and gases by conducting observational experiments
  • researching how scientists were able to develop ideas about the solar system through the gathering of evidence through space exploration
  • describing how scientists from a range of cultures have improved our understanding of the solar system, such as Copernicus, Khayyám and Galileo
  • researching the different types of scientists who work in teams in space exploration, and Australia's involvement in space exploration
  • learning how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples used observation of the night sky to assist with navigation

Use and influence of science

Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE083 - Scootle )
  • considering how best to ensure growth of plants
  • considering how decisions are made to grow particular plants and crops depending on environmental conditions
  • comparing the benefits of using solid, liquid or gaseous fuels to heat a home
  • describing the safety aspects of using gases
  • investigating how the development of materials such as plastics and synthetic fabrics have led to the production of useful products

  • describing how technologies developed to aid space exploration have changed the way people live, work and communicate

  • exploring objects and devices that include parts that involve the reflection, absorption or refraction of light such as mirrors, sunglasses and prisms

Questioning and predicting

With guidance, pose clarifying questions and make predictions about scientific investigations (ACSIS231 - Scootle )
  • exploring the range of questions that can be asked about a problem or phenomena and with guidance, identifying those questions that could be investigated
  • applying experience from similar situations in the past to predict what might happen in a new situation

Planning and conducting

Identify, plan and apply the elements of scientific investigations to answer questions and solve problems using equipment and materials safely and identifying potential risks (ACSIS086 - Scootle )
  • experiencing a range of ways of investigating questions, including experimental testing, internet research, field observations and exploring simulations

  • explaining rules for safe processes and use of equipment

  • discussing the advantages of certain types of investigation for answering certain types of questions

  • considering different ways to approach problem solving, including researching, using trial and error, experimental testing and creating models
Decide variables to be changed and measured in fair tests, and observe measure and record data with accuracy using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS087 - Scootle )
  • discussing in groups how investigations can be made as fair as possible
  • using tools to accurately measure objects and events in investigation and exploring which tools provide the most accurate measurements
  • using familiar units such as grams, seconds and meters and developing the use of standard multipliers such as kilometres and millimetres
  • recording data in tables and diagrams or electronically as digital images and spreadsheets

Processing and analysing data and information

Construct and use a range of representations, including tables and graphs, to represent and describe observations, patterns or relationships in data using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS090 - Scootle )
  • constructing tables, graphs and other graphic organisers to show trends in data
  • identifying patterns in data and developing explanations that fit these patterns
  • identifying similarities and differences in qualitative data in order to group items or materials
Compare data with predictions and use as evidence in developing explanations (ACSIS218 - Scootle )
  • sharing ideas as to whether observations match predictions, and discussing possible reasons for predictions being incorrect


Reflect on and suggest improvements to scientific investigations (ACSIS091 - Scootle )
  • working collaboratively to identify where methods could be improved, including where testing was not fair and practices could be improved


Communicate ideas, explanations and processes using scientific representations in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS093 - Scootle )
  • discussing how models represent scientific ideas and constructing physical models to demonstrate an aspect of scientific understanding
  • constructing multi-modal texts to communicate science ideas
  • using labelled diagrams, including cross-sectional representations, to communicate ideas

Year 5 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 5, students classify substances according to their observable properties and behaviours. They explain everyday phenomena associated with the transfer of light. They describe the key features of our solar system. They analyse how the form of living things enables them to function in their environments. Students discuss how scientific developments have affected people’s lives, help us solve problems and how science knowledge develops from many people’s contributions.

Students follow instructions to pose questions for investigation and predict the effect of changing variables when planning an investigation. They use equipment in ways that are safe and improve the accuracy of their observations. Students construct tables and graphs to organise data and identify patterns in the data. They compare patterns in their data with predictions when suggesting explanations. They describe ways to improve the fairness of their investigations, and communicate their ideas and findings using multimodal texts.

Year 5 Work Sample Portfolios