999 West Dundee Road
Wheeling, Illinois 60090

Phone: 847-537-8270

Superintendent: Dr. Michael Connolly

School Board & Administration



CCSD21 is a school district comprised of 13 schools across 6 different communities in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.



School District 21 prides itself on its Professional Learning Community and its rich tradition of professional collaboration, high levels of professional development, and family-like atmosphere. If you see the opportunity to work with colleagues in making a difference in the lives of students and families in a truly diverse setting, School District 21 seeks your application.

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Fifth Grade

Earth Science

Power Standards
  • Support an argument that differences in the apparent brightness of the sun compared to other stars is due to their relative distances from Earth. (5-ESS1-1)
  • Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in the length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky. (5-ESS1-2)

Critical Content

Concepts and Skills

* Power Standard Content

ESS1.A: The Universe and Its Stars

  • *The sun is a star that appears larger and brighter than other stars because it is closer.  Stars range greatly in their distance from Earth. (5-ESS1-1)

ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System

  • *The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its north and south poles, cause observable patterns.  These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year. (5-ESS1-2)

PS2.B: Types of Interactions

  • The gravitational force of Earth acting on an object near Earth’s surface pulls that object toward the planet’s center. (5-PS2-1)

Critical Language (Science & Engineering Practices)

Language Usage

  • A student in fifth grade can demonstrate the ability to apply and comprehend critical language by explaining data represented in a graph that provides information related to patterns, interactions, and/or the impact of human activity.


Content-Specific Vocabulary

  • Gravitational force
  • Range
  • Distance
  • Axis
  • Solar system
  • Galaxy
  • Milky Way
  • Rotation
  • Revolution
  • North and South Poles
  • Observable patterns
  • Universe
  • Orbit
  • Shadow
  • Star


Process-Specific Vocabulary

  • Orbit
  • Rotate
  • Revolve
  • Obtain

Concept-Based Connections

Essential Understanding

  • The sun is a star that appears larger and brighter than other stars because it is closer. (5-ESS1-1)
  • Predictable patterns are caused by Earth’s movement in the solar system. (pg. 175 in NGSS Framework)


Factual Guiding Questions

  • What is gravity?
  • What causes shadows to change throughout the day?
  • Why do planets orbit?
  • Why does the sun appear to be very bright?


Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • How does the rotation of the Earth affect which stars are seen?
  • How does the movement of the Earth impact the seasons?
  • If the sun were further away from the Earth would it be as bright? warm?
  • What causes day and night?
  • If we could travel from Earth to Neptune, would there be any stars in our way?  Why or why not?


Engaging/Debatable Guiding Questions

  • How could being able to predict patterns in day and night, what stars are seen, and the seasons be beneficial to mankind?
  • Will mankind ever find another planet similar enough to Earth to be inhabited by humans?