In grade five, English focuses on increasing students’ global awareness and citizenship through the reading and analysis of various genres including realistic fiction, mystery, poetry, mythology, and fantasy. Deeper critical thinking and analytical skills are emphasized through discussion and written assignments. Students engage in more detailed writing in response to texts and use of evidence to support claims and opinions. Writing integrates concepts and skills studied in literature and grammar. Practice is given in various types of writing such as expository, comparisons, and poetry. Emphasis is placed on developing well-written 5-paragraph essays. Grammar skills are emphasized throughout the year in speaking and writing. Topics include: action verbs, direct objects, linking verbs, prepositional phrases, adjective forms; the eight parts of speech; effective word use, run-on sentences, fragments, and dictionary skills. Vocabulary is also an integral part of the curriculum. New words are studied through lessons from a vocabulary text. Focus is on definitions, synonyms, antonyms, context, and analogies. Students also engage in a spring storytelling unit in which they retell a story for an audience of their peers and younger students.
Math in fifth grade stresses proficiency in basic skills and emphasizes problem solving. This includes ratios and rates, fractions/decimals/percents, review of operations with whole numbers, fractions, and decimals, and operations with integers, as well as pre-algebraic concepts - expressions, equations,functions and inequalities. Geometry concepts such as surface area and volume are examined, as well as basic data and statistics.
The major themes in science are studied each year in the lower school including: classification, change over time, energy, engineering design, forces and interactions, measurement, problem solving/process/scientific methods, structure and function, systems, and collaborative discovery through hands-on explorations. Units studied in grade five include, animal classification, botany, electricity, and energy forms, microscopy, and ornithology. In class activities and experiments, along with field trips, support and enhance concepts.
Ancient History includes the study of prehistoric humans and the civilizations of Sumeria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India, Greece, and Rome. Focus is on the geography and contributions of each civilization. Map skills and graphing skills are further developed. Research and study skills including note taking, outlines, oral and written reports are emphasized.
Spanish instruction includes the core elements of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Vocabulary acquisition and correct grammar are practiced through targeted language conversation, games, songs, and projects. Students engage in more in-depth study of the Spanish language including pronouns, conjugation of verbs, questions and answers, common expressions, and the elements of basic conversation. Learning the geography and culture of Spanish speaking countries is an integral part of the course.