Fifth grade literature encourages students to explore novels, biographies, and poetry through critical thought, analysis, and the understanding of literary and poetic devices including exaggeration, conflict, resolution, suspense, climax, personification, foreshadowing, contradiction, symbolism, meter, rhyme, metaphor, setting, and irony. Reading strategies focus on effective underlining, inference making, predicting, summarizing, and the understanding of character motivation. The overarching goal is the establishment of concrete understanding and love of many differing categories of literature.
Fifth grade writing lab begins with explicit grammar instruction to establish a common vocabulary revolving around the eight parts of speech. Students practice comma rules, sentence construction, and the proper use of phrase and clause. Subsequently, a concentration on written organization and paragraph writing utilizing the six-trait method is expanded into multi-paragraph writing. Specific areas of written focus include poetry, narrative writing, journaling, letter writing, persuasive writing, analytical writing, comparing and contrasting, revising, editing, and peer review. Students are challenged to reach beyond the simple sentence and formulaic paragraph to express and apply the abstract thoughts they are beginning to understand and utilize.
The content emphasized in the math curriculum includes numeration, operations, data analysis, geometry, measurement, patterns, functions and algebra. Fifth graders are expected to be able to use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division efficiently and accurately. Students use concrete materials to investigate mathematical concepts. Problem solving approaches and logic further develop critical thinking skills. Throughout the year, students will receive a thorough review and extension of place value, addition and subtraction of large numbers, and basic multiplication facts. The study of the concept of division and how it relates to fractions, decimals and percents will be introduced. Once students understand the definition and function of a fraction, they are exposed to the ideas of equivalent fractions, improper fractions vs. mixed numbers, fraction inequalities, the addition and subtraction of fractions, and ultimately, changing fractions into decimals and percents. Data collection, data analysis, and graphing are also studied. Students are encouraged to verbalize and record their mathematical processes and thinking.
5th Grade science includes three modules which span the three major strands of science. At the beginning of the year, we study Mixtures and Solutions, which is part of Physical science. During second trimester, we study Astronomy, with a particular emphasis on the solar system. This module is part of Earth Science. We end the year with a study of Living Systems.
Our curriculum is inquiry based and relies heavily on hands on activities. We focus on learning the skills associated with experimentation such as measurement, observation, drawing conclusions, and designing experiments.
Fifth grade social studies explores the history and development of the United States of America. Study begins with the Native peoples of North America and the relationship of the development of native civilizations to the physical environment of the tribal home. Students next explore the reasons and motivations behind the Age of Exploration. Explorers from European powers are examined and the lasting effects of specific explorations are connected to “famous” explorers. Early colonial settlements are studied through a colonial American simulation activity which incorporates the religious, economic, cultural decisions necessary to develop a community. Students study the actions leading to the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War, major battle action during the war and the ultimate victory of the new country. Finally, students study the development of the United States Constitution. Throughout the year, students learn research skills, discernment strategies, economic decision making, and examine positive character traits.
Each trimester of this course is devoted to one language: German, French, and Spanish. The curriculum in each is shaped by the objective of enabling a student to acquire and convey basic information as a traveler. Students engage in a dialogue in the target language, incorporating greetings, exchanging information about names, spelling of names, addresses, and telephone numbers. Students also study the target countries, particularly their geography and currency. As part of the currency study, students learn how to count, readying them to master the art of telling time correctly.
Towards the end of the year, a student selects foreign languages to study during sixth – eighth grade.