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Teaching and Learning » Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade

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Language Arts

Fifth grade students continue to develop and refine their language arts skills in reading, writing, thinking, speaking, listening, and viewing. Students demonstrate learning through a variety of methods. They work individually, in small and in large groups to produce oral/written reports, dramatizations, debates, and demonstrations. Students learn new vocabulary and apply it in reading, speaking, listening, and writing activities.

At this grade level, students understand new words through their study of context clues; root words, prefixes and suffixes; and synonyms and antonyms. Children develop comprehension by listening and reading for specific information. Identification of main ideas, sequencing of events, recalling details, making predictions, drawing inferences, comparing and contrasting, and understanding cause-and-effect relationships are emphasized.

Fifth graders also examine the story structure of different genres, analyze the author's viewpoint, and identify topic sentences, main ideas and supporting details. Activities are also used to stimulate ideas for focusing and organizing student writing across all curriculum areas. Emphasis is placed on using a variety of sentence patterns, developing clarity, individual style, and refining paragraph skills. Children experience a variety of writing activities such as reports, journals, learning logs, persuasive writing, and poetry. They also refine their proofreading skills to produce a quality document.


In fifth grade, students continue to investigate naming numbers in a variety of ways, including factors, exponents, fractions, decimals. They continue to practice with the division algorithm and apply their strategies for whole-number computation to decimals.

Fractions are used in measurement, equivalent forms, ratios, and addition and subtraction situations. Decimal and percent concepts are extended to equivalent forms, number lines, grids, probability, and circle graphs. Fifth graders use manipulatives to explore negative numbers and simple algebraic expressions and problems. They link their measurement and algebra skills by using formulas to find perimeters, areas, and volumes of shapes and solids. They continue their study of geometry, working with angles, 2-D and 3-D figures, and corresponding math tools.

Fifth graders participate in a yearlong American Tour. They examine changes in population, societal trends, demographics, and geography of the United States from its beginnings to the present. This integrated project allows students to use mathematics as a tool in a variety of applications. As with the other grade levels, parent involvement with Math Links is an important part of the program.

Media Center

By fifth grade, students can identify different literary genre such as historical fiction, science fiction, sports stories and mysteries. They are encouraged to read to enhance skills, such as vocabulary, context clues, sequence of events and prediction, which they are learning in language arts classes. Fifth graders use both print and electronic resources as they develop their research skills in conjunction with language arts, social studies and science projects. Treasure hunts and Internet activities teach them to apply skills they will use on their MEAP tests. They learn to evaluate web sites and print resources in order to prepare for independent use of the media center in middle school and beyond.


Students learn important science concepts and develop the ability to think critically by actively constructing ideas through their own inquiries, investigations, and analyses. Students are actively engaged in the process of science as they explore the natural world.

Some of the most important scientific concepts students learn are the result of their ability to see relationships between objects and events. Relationships always involve interactions, dependencies, and cause and effect. The Variables Module has four investigations that help students discover relationships through controlled experimentation. Students will fling, float, fly, and flip objects as they discover relationships in each investigation.

In the You and Your Body Module, students will examine the skeletal system and replicate the arm’s muscle coordination and measure reaction time. They model the pumping of the heart, calculate lung capacity, and investigate respiration. They find out why we have different types of teeth and how to keep them healthy. Students discover how the five senses work to perceive and evaluate incoming information. Finally, because the body runs on fuel, students test foods for nutrient content and practice reading nutrition labels.

The Earth Processes Module provides an opportunity for students to explore the ongoing forces inside Earth and on Earth’s surface that have been shaping our planet for hundreds of millions of years. Continental drift and plate tectonics are the central themes for this unit as students investigate the rock cycle, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

In the Newton’s Toy Box Module, students experiment freely with familiar toys and objects. As they explain their observations, they prove Newton’s three laws of motion. The path of a tossed ball, the flip of a grasshopper toy, and the endless swing of clackers reinforce the concepts of inertia, gravity, acceleration, mass, force, and momentum. Students engage in races, games, and challenges that emphasize the laws of motion which govern everyday tasks.

Social Studies

Students in fifth grade study the historical development of the United States, from the settlement by native peoples through colonization and, later, the American Revolution. They focus on the major events and people that have impacted our country's development. Fifth graders are introduced to ways in which business and industry have affected the economy over the years. Through interactive lessons, geography, problem solving, and study skills are expanded. Students also increase analytical skills by taking a position on an issue, and writing persuasive arguments on topics of social relevance. Fifth grade students further their knowledge and understanding of core democratic values upon which our government is based.

Visual Art

The visual art curriculum culminates at the fifth-grade level as students demonstrate their prior knowledge of the elements and principles of art; vocabulary; and cultural, historic, and aesthetic awareness through a variety of meaningful, artistic experiences. Fifth graders have the opportunity to respond visually, verbally, analytically, and creatively through the skillful handling of a wide variety of art media.

Throughout the year, student art may be displayed in individual school buildings and the community.

Instrumental Music

Elementary instrumental music is introduced at the fifth-grade level during the regular school day. This specialized music program focuses on the development of fundamental skills and concepts of playing a wind, percussion, or string instrument. Students learn instrument care, playing position, tone quality, music literacy, and vocabulary as they address the challenges of performing in a group ensemble. Stressed are concepts that will encourage students to play with confidence, enthusiasm, and enjoyment all the while fostering a sense of creativity, self- discipline, and personal achievement.

All students, in consultation with an instrumental music specialist, are given the opportunity to participate in either the elementary orchestra or band program. Instruments offered in the orchestra program include: Violin, viola, cello or string bass. Band instruments offered include: Flute, trombone, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, french horn, baritone or percussion.


Fifth-grade students identify the physical and personal characteristics that make them unique, worthwhile, and valuable. Students study the nervous and reproductive systems while focusing attention on the physical and emotional changes that occur during adolescence. They develop an awareness of the use and effects of drugs. They study how alcohol and tobacco affect the human body.

Physical Education

Students go to Physical Education class twice a week, once for 25 minutes and once for 30 minutes. Students continue to work and fine tune Gross-Motor skills, spatial awareness, and coordination. They increase their ability with the principles of eye, hand, and foot coordination through a variety of activities. Students continue to develop traditional team sports based skills through culminating activities and game play. They will be assessed in certain skills throughout the year. Students will develop positive characteristics and attitudes, a sense of fair play, teamwork concepts, and cooperation with others. At this level, there is an increased emphasis on cardiopulmonary fitness, muscular strength, flexibility and coordination through the T.R.O.Y. Fitness Program. Students are assessed twice a year in Continuous Jog, Jump Roping, Plank, Sit and Reach, and Flex-arm Hang. Every student will have a personal fitness log that they will set goals for themselves in each of the fitness tests. After every assessment, student will reevaluate their goals and set new ones.


Troy School District's elementary Spanish program is intended to help children achieve a positive, successful experience in their exposure to learning another language. Elementary students in grades 3 through 5 receive 45 minutes of oral instruction per week. In fifth grade, the children will continue reading and writing in Spanish. The students will engage in independent oral activities as they focus on listening comprehension skills, which are a vital part of language learning. Some topics of instruction include greetings, colors, numbers, family, community, animals, alphabet, calendar, lunch foods, and adjectives.