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5th Grade Curriculum

5th Grade is a key transitional year from Lower to Middle School. 5th Grade students expand and integrate skills developed throughout Lower School as they prepare for Middle School.

Language Arts

Emphasizing a humanities-based approach, the 5th Grade literacy program ties into the social sciences with historical novels and leveled literature circles at the core of the reading program. Group discussions revolve around analysis of content, author's voice, and writing style to encourage students to think critically about literature. 5th Grade language arts is structured on The Daily 5 curriculum, empowering students to become independent, confident readers, writers, listeners, and speakers.


In 5th Grade, the Singapore Math curriculum focuses on algebraic and geometric principals. Students continue to enhance problem solving skills with increasingly complex real world problems, to which they are encouraged to find unique solutions by applying a variety of math concepts.


5th Grade science shifts emphasis to biology through the study of growth, genetics, and how organisms adapt to a variety of environments. A discipline-specific science teacher brings concepts to life through interactive labs that reinforce use of the scientific method.

Social Studies

5th Grade social studies explores American history from early colonization to post-Civil War reconstruction. With an emphasis on developing their research skills, students learn to differentiate between primary and secondary sources and evaluate the accuracy and bias associated with source material. These skills are put to use when 5th Grade students prepare an original research project on a country of their choice for the annual Academic Fair.

Health & Fitness

The 5th Grade curriculum builds on the physical education foundation started in Kindergarten, as well as continuing health and life skills from 4th Grade. Topics of discussion include healthy behaviors and decision making. Students learn and practice life skills and are encouraged to think critically about healthy living.

Computer Science

Computer science is an essential part of Lower School curriculum as technology is increasingly introduced into classrooms and lessons. Lower School is outfitted with iPad carts that can be transitioned from classroom to classroom bringing the creative tools, interactive books, and endless educational apps of the iPad anywhere at any time. Lower School students also utilize their own computer lab outfitted with PC desktops for a wide variety of lessons and projects.


Specifically, 5th Grade students continue to build on digital citizenship and internet safety skills, how to create and deliver good presentations using a variety of presentation software, keyboarding techniques, and the basics of computer programming. Students also begin to work with digital cameras and webcams, including using photo and video editing software.

Visual Art

5th Grade students incorporate themes into their work that connect to literature and correlate with classroom curriculum. Students explore a variety of materials to create both large scale and small scale artwork. Students study the process and themes of contemporary artists, who serve as inspiration for their work.


5th Grade students share their artwork with a large audience during the annual Family Art Night and All School Art Show.

Foreign Language

5th Grade students continue learning the language they selected in 4th Grade, either French or Spanish.


French: Students use Exploring French from EMC Publishing to explore cultural themes such as geography, art, music, and literature. Students study vocabulary and conversations based on occupations, food, leisure and recreation, travel, etc. Students learn that people from other Francophone countries have different customs and holidays which are appreciated and respected as different from their own.


Spanish: Students use the ¡Viva el español! curriculum to build on their Spanish foundation and learn new grammar and vocabulary around the themes of body parts, clothing, personality, physical characteristics, homes, rooms in a home, chores, responsibilities, food and table settings, daily routines at home, and school.


In addition, 3rd-6th Grade students are invited each year to attend French or Spanish language immersion camp at the Concordia Language Villages, where they are fully engaged with the language in a cultural setting. For more information on Concordia, click here.


5th Grade students are placed according to voice assessment for two-part harmony singing throughout the year. They learn folk songs, rounds, partner songs, and simple two-part harmonies from a varied repertoire of music. 5th Grade students provide a strong leadership role in Lower School music programs through solos, narration, acting, and choreography.


Students continue to study theory concepts, writing, music history, and terminology through workbooks, games, recordings, and videos. Rhythm band activities are included with standard notation. Students attend the annual Quad City Youth Symphony Day concert and prepare in advance by studying the program selections and composers. Participation in the beginning band program is an additional opportunity.


5th Grade students build on their solid library foundation to become information literate, using nonfiction and technology as sources of information, citing information sources, and assessing the reliability of online information. Students work with increasingly complex text, fiction and nonfiction, both for personal enjoyment and for classroom assignments.


5th Grade robotics is an exhilarating part of the curriculum built on teamwork, problem solving, and project-based research. 5th Grade students are divided into teams to build and program an autonomous robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology. In addition, teams explore a real world problem that today's scientists and engineers are trying to solve, develop an innovative solution to that problem, and share their project presentation at competition. Past challenges have been based on topics such as food safety, quality of life for senior citizens, and weather & climate.

Teams then attend FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competitions, which begin at the regional level and advance to state and national levels. At competition, teams compete head-to-head with their robots on a thematic playing field to score points. Teams are scored not only on the robot game, but also on their project presentation and their demonstration of the FLL Core Values (including Gracious Professionalism and Cooperation).

For more information on FIRST LEGO League, click here.