Fifth Grade marks the beginning of the study of World History and the foundations of western civilization, now that the child has entered into a temporal consciousness. The study encompasses the ancient civilizations of India, Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece between the periods of 10,000 to 300 B.C. The children are immersed in the myths, culture, geography, beliefs, and politics of each region and civilization. History comes alive through writing, reading and reciting excerpts from original sources, such as The Ramayana, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, through art and visits to cultural institutions, and through the fifth grade Olympics.
While the study of history helps the children appreciate their own humanity, the study of geography draws the child out into the world. In fourth grade the children learned about their local geography. This year, their horizons are broadened as they study the geography of North America. The children will come to appreciate the contrasts in the physical geography, climate, plant and animal life, and culture of various regions on our home continent. The class will continue to develop skills in map making and reading, will be expected to identify the states and capitals, and present a report on one of the states.
Following a study of zoology in fourth grade, the science curriculum now turns to the plant kingdom in the study of botany. The children learn about the various parts of the plant and how they relate, the life cycle of the plant, and the miracle of photosynthesis. Additionally, they study the different types of vegetation in the various climate regions of North America. Observation, experimentation, and artistic work support this study.
English skills are taught as an integral part of the written work in the study of history, geography, and botany. There is also time for independent and shared reading. Grammar is reviewed from the previous year and new topics, such as prepositions and prepositional phrases, direct and indirect quotations, verb tenses, and subject and objects are introduced. Spelling and vocabulary skills are developed through weekly word lists.
In math, the fifth grade reviews and builds upon concepts taught in fourth grade, such as fractions. Now the student will be expected to convert fractions to decimals and percentages, and perform the four operations with decimals. The students learn how to draw and interpret graphs; line graphs, bar graphs, and circle graphs. They are introduced to geometric concepts such as perimeter, area, angles, and polygons. Metric measurement is introduced.