In fifth grade, students hone in on their mathematical and reasoning skills. The curriculum is designed to encourage fluency and efficiency with problem solving. Students learn the relationships among fractions, decimals and percents and convert with facility from one form to another. They deepen their knowledge of geometry by using known angle sizes to determine the sizes of other angles and calculating the perimeter and area of rectangles. Students also strengthen their data analysis skills by using decimals, fractions and percents to describe and compare the theoretical probabilities of events with a certain number of equally likely outcomes.
Fifth graders read and discuss literature with a focus on historical fiction. They also seek information and develop new concepts and ideas from reading, as well as provide specific examples and evidence to support class discussions about a text. They are encouraged to read independently books that offer “Windows and Mirrors” (a variety of cultures and perspectives) for their own experience. Students write in various genres using authors and texts as mentors. While writing, they learn to write more precise language and sentence variety, as well as revise and edit writing during and after composing.
Fifth grade is a multi-faceted year for science curriculum. Students explore both the natural world, as well as dive into engineering, robotics and software coding. In their human biology study, students dive into brain research by exploring metacognition and learning styles, as well as learn the beginnings of the human race, and explore the relationships between biological gender, gender identity, gender roles and sexual orientation. Students also learn that DNA contains the code for life and that small but regular changes in DNA facilitate evolution and can lead to adaptations. Fifth graders learn about bees and beekeeping, including construction of hives, introduction of bee colonies, and harvesting of honey and wax. To round out the science curriculum, students complete an introduction to robotics, including design and construction of a robot capable of reacting to its environment and explore coding using C++ based Arduino kits to control lights, motors and servos.
The fifth grade curriculum seeks to understand our historical roots and to locate ourselves in time, developing a historical perspective by examining the exploration of North America by world explorers. They learn that personal identity is shaped by one’s culture, by groups, and by institutional influences. Students also analyze the motivations for, and implications of, the movement of peoples to the United States, between the years 1880 and 1920. They also continue working on the development of research skills begun in fourth grade by producing a formal research paper.
In the fifth grade, students are introduced to reading and writing in the target language, and they begin to create their own sentences accompanied by illustrations to reinforce the content and ideas.
In fifth grade, students learn to sing in two part-harmonies, three part canons and sight-read SAT music. They also learn the history of the steel drums and perform five-part arrangements on the steel drums. Fifth graders read and perform complex rhythms using eighth and sixteenth notes, as well as write music using Garage Band.
Fifth graders explore folk art traditions around the globe, focusing on traditional art forms of different cultures. They also dive into color theory and color mixing as well as practice basic drawing, painting, collage, and mixed-media processes and techniques. Peer feedback and formal critiques of student artwork is introduced in fifth grade.
Students deepen their sport-specific practices in field hockey, soccer, flag football, speedmitten, basketball, volleyball, badminton, track and field and lacrosse. While doing so, they also develop sportsmanship in increasingly competitive situations and explore ways to self-assess strengths and areas of opportunity.
Fifth graders learn about online risks, privacy issues, ethical behavior and online security. Students use software for web mapping and outlining and are introduced to the networking environment and file servers.