Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade Homeroom Teacher:  Ms. Kristen Gold (5th and 6th grades Social Studies and Language Arts)

Mrs. Molly Cope (5th & 6th grades Science and Math)

In fifth grade we start to move our children from the elementary stage of their education, to the middle school stage. Our goal is to increase their sense of purpose, and further develop their responsibility in self-organization and time management. Socially, we focus on further increasing their understanding of the people around them, increasing their sense of who they are in our community, and how they can play a positive and active role in the school.

Now that our children are avid readers, fifth grade language arts focuses on developing interpretive and critical reading skills using a variety of literature including poetry and novels. We focus on the elements of the short story – plot, character, setting and theme. Writing assignments include book reports, weekly journals, research reports, summarizing, and creative compositions. Proper vocabulary, grammar, spelling and punctuation are stressed throughout the year.

In the fifth grade mathematics continues to be a significant focus and every child is encouraged to complete the standard math work, as well as take part in enrichment activities. Students should have now mastered basic math facts and our focus is on exposing students to more complex computation. We cover place value concepts, comparing and ordering numbers, multiplication and division of fractions and decimals, geometry, problem solving, and an introduction to algebra.

Many of our students tell us that one of their favorite study areas in fifth grade is that of social studies. We focus on ancient civilizations, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome and China, while continuing to highlight current-event activities. Through this work, we build an understanding of the needs that bind humans into communities and the influence of environment upon culture. Reports, oral presentations, group projects and field trips are integral components of this course, with a highlight being a trip to the University of Pennsylvania Museum to see exhibitions that are being discussed in class. Our language arts, social studies and art curriculums are woven into this topic, with Greek mythology and folk tales studied, and mummies and pyramids being created.

Our science curriculum is new and exciting. We study various topic areas including the ocean, climate, weather and global warming; energy and matter; and the universe – sun, stars, constellations and the space age. During our study of the ocean, we undertake a field trip to the Cape May Zoo and Ocean City, and at the end of our study of the universe, our fifth graders work in teams to plan how they would create a colony in space, resulting in exceptionally creative and well thought out presentations. We make this topic dynamic with many individual and group projects, presentations, and hands-on activities that bring science to life for this age group. Our fifth graders also enjoy being “Science Buddies” with third graders, and together they have examined many of these areas, linked together through the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci.

Our fifth graders also enjoy lesson time every week with our Spanish and Latin teachers, and additionally, they attend computer studies, art, music and physical education – with these subject areas fully integrated into our themed units. In computer studies, PowerPoint presentations on numerous curriculum topics have been developed, and cultural field trips have recently included the Philadelphia High Art Museum, The Barnes Institute and the Orchestra.

Fifth graders are highly engaged in various service projects. At the end of fifth grade, it is our pleasure to see vibrant, more mature, responsible and self-assured children move on to the challenges of sixth grade.

Fifth Grade Curriculum Overview:

Reading/Language Arts

  • Read classic children’s novels.
  • Work on weekly spelling themes and vocabulary enrichment.
  • Explore short story setting, characters, plot lines, sequencing and themes.
  • Focus on key grammar concepts.
  • Prepare monthly book reports.
  • Write journals.
  • Study poetry – sound, language, form and meaning.
  • Write formal research reports (researched, sourced, presented).
  • Perform a play related to an area of focus (e.g. The Egypt Game).
  • Develop confidence as public speakers.
  • Read orally in class, and independently every evening.


  • Place value concepts with whole numbers and decimals, and exponents.
  • Comparing and ordering positive and negative numbers.
  • Multiplication of one, two and three-digit numbers.
  • Problem solving – number problems, word problems, graph problems.
  • Analysis of data, use of logic, and applying strategies to find solutions.
  • Division – across multiple numbers.
  • Fractions – improper, proper, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.
  • Equations.
  • Geometry.
  • Measurement of length, capacity, weight, volume and mass.


    Earth science:
  • Oceans – marine animal and plant life.
  • Climate – weather and global warming.
  • The Universe – sun, stars, constellations.
  • Scientific learnings’ of the ancient Greeks.


    Physical science:

  • Forms of matter – atoms, molecules, compounds, development of new materials.
  • Creation of molecules – modeling and making.
  • Change – physical and chemical.
  • Energy – heat, light, electricity.

Social Studies

    Ancient Civilizations:

  • Mesopotamia – basis of starting a civilization.
  • Egypt – culture, discovery, geometry (making a pyramid), communication (hieroglyphic writing).
  • Greece – impact on society today.
  • China – impact on society today.
  • Rome – impact on society today.
    Current Affairs:

  • Scholastic weekly study papers on what’s in the news.