5th Grade - Integrated Lesson - Earth Science
The integrated lesson is designed to blend math content learning and science standards where the science standards are the means to apply the math learning.


Math Standards:
1st- 5.MD.C.5b- Apply the formulas V=l x w x h and V= b x h for rectangular prisms to find volumes of right rectangular prisms with whole numbers edge lengths in the context of solving real world and mathematical problems.
2nd - 5.MD.C.5c- Recognize volume as additive. Find volumes of solid figures composed of two non overlapping right rectangular prisms by adding the volumes of the non overlapping parts, applying this technique to solve real world problems.

Science Standards:
SPI 0507.8.2 Explain how mountains affect weather and climate

Mountain Assembly Instructions:

  1. Collect various sizes of boxes.
  2. Divide the class into 4-6 groups
  3. The teacher will assign the temperature groups so that the students will be able to determine the amount of boxes needed to either have the greatest temperature difference between the leeward and windward side of the mountain, or the least temperature difference.WindwardVSLeeward.jpg
  4. The group will measure and determine the volume of each box, to determine the volume of the mountain range, which will be used to create their mountain range and record the data in the volume column. (Let the students discover how to find the total volume, guiding only if needed.)
  5. The students will then create their mountain range to meet the teacher assigned criteria.
  6. The students will then measure the length, width (the widest point of the base), and height of the mountain range. The data will be recorded in the table.
  7. The students will set up a pan of water that is ¼ full to represent a large body of water, an oscillating fan on the windward side to simulate wind, and a pan of potting soil/sand that is ¼ full on the leeward side.
  8. Set up a heat lamp so that the lamp can be moved, periodically, to represent the Earth’s movement around the Sun.
  9. Set up the Vernier Probes and have the students record the temperature changes (in Celsius), on the leeward and windward side, throughout the “day”, using decimals to the tenths place.

Photos of Cardboard Box Mountain Range
Cardboard Box Mountain Range - Students find volume of each box and add together for total.

Windward Side of Mountain with Soil, Water, Wind Source - Shown with Wireless Temperature Probe
Leeward Side of Mountain Range - Heat Lamp and Soil with 2nd Wireless Temperature Probe


(Record the answers in your journal/paper.)
  1. Hypothesis- What is your hypothesis for this activity?
    • Why might people choose to build a town on the leeward or windward side of a mountain? For example, “If I were a contractor, I would build a city on the leeward side of the mountain because .”
  2. Using the table below, predict the difference in the temperatures of each side of the mountain range, compared to the total mountain range volume.


(Record in your journal/paper.)

  1. Use what you have learned, in this activity, about how mountains affect weather and climate to explain why you would build your city on the leeward, or windward, side of the mountain. _
  2. In what condition would you want to build a city on the opposite side of the mountain you discussed in the previous question? _


Downloadable Resources