Fifth Grade Curriculum

What to expect in Fifth Grade

The average ten-year-old has a positive approach to life. He/she:

  • Tends to be obedient, good natured, and fun.
  • Possesses a surprising scope of interests.
  • Finds TV and video games very important and identifies with the characters.
  • Is capable of increasing independence.
  • Is becoming more truthful and dependable.
  • Tends to be improving his/her self-concept and acceptance of others.
  • Forms good personal relationships with teachers and counselors.
  • At ten years old, your child is developing communication skills and becoming more mature. You can help by encouraging him as s/he improves listening and responding skills, increases problem-solving abilities, begins to undergo maturational changes, and gains awareness of peer and adult expectations.

The learning standards of the fifth grade curriculum are designed to expand on students prior knowledge and lay the foundation of what students should know and be able to do in each grade. These standards ensure that all children are prepared to move forward to the next grade.


Religious education in grade five focuses on the sacraments of the Church. Our study looks very specifically at their origin, their importance in our life of faith and in their actual rites and rituals.

We look, too, at the liturgical year and the seasons of the Church.

Students attend Mass as a class three times a month, receive the sacrament of Reconciliation during the Advent and Lenten seasons, and attend many prayer services to mark important events. We have daily devotions at the beginning and end of the day as well as school wide prayers to honor the Blessed Mother or for other specific intentions.

Our goal is to develop young people who have the knowledge, understanding and skills -appropriate to their age and capacity- to think spiritually, ethically and theologically, and who are aware of the demands of religious commitment in everyday life.

English Language Arts

As children enter the fifth grade, most are capable enough as readers and writers, and they have also learned to use spoken language successfully. They are able to use books both for enjoyment and as useful sources of information. They also know how to use a library and are comfortable doing so. They use writing for a variety of purposes; they understand the writing process, including the value of responses from their peers and revisions; and they have a good sense of authorship. They can also use spoken language effectively in a variety of settings — in discussions, oral reports, plays, explanations, and the like. They understand that language can be used in many different ways.

By the end of the school year, all students should be able to:

  • Skim written text, such as newspaper articles or pages from a book, to get an overview of what is said or to find a specific item.
  • Know the difference between information that is relevant (for example, information that supports an idea in the text) and information that is not relevant.
  • Use what they already know about a subject to help them understand or develop opinions about information they read.
  • Know and use the rules of punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.
  • Know and use the different skills that good writers use, such as word choice, organization of ideas, and metaphors and other descriptive devices.
  • Read aloud from different kinds of texts, such as books, plays, and poems, using tone of voice, pacing, and emphasis to express the ideas and moods of the texts.
  • Make inferences and draw conclusions based on information from the text.
  • Use language, grammar, and appropriate vocabulary to communicate ideas when speaking to different audiences.
  • Use a variety of different organizational patterns (chronological order, cause/effect) when writing.
  • Read to collect and interpret data, facts, and ideas from multiple sources; compare and contrast such information on a single topic.


Science in fifth grade explores work and simple machines, Earth’s forces, investigating heat, microscopic explorations, inheritance and adaptations, eukaryotes journey, exploring density, and Earth and space. Students are brought to the lab on a regular basis to do experiments and explore what they are learning during the week. Each student has their own lab manual that they will track their progress in and make predictions for future experiments. Students will also learn how to use tools such as a microscope, graduated cylinder, and triple beam balance. 

Social Studies

In fifth grade social studies, students explore the nations of the Western Hemisphere, including the United States, Canada, and the nations of Latin America.

History and geography are distinct fields of study in the fifth grade, although they should be linked whenever possible to what is being studied in language arts and in science. By fifth grade children are able to use several different kinds of maps. Further, they are able to use primary sources — historical records, diaries, newspapers, and the like — to enlarge their understanding of other people and other time periods.

These skills are enhanced during the intermediate grades as children continue to work with maps and primary documents, and as they become involved in active inquiry to answer questions they have posed.

At the same time, children are helped to frame historical questions in a more conceptual fashion: Why did that happen? What are the facts? What are the interpretations? What other possibilities were there? What were the effects? How do we know? How have things changed or stayed the same since then? Whose voice is not being heard?

In the subject area of Mathematics, students in the fifth grade explore many new topics and expand on many topics they have learned already. Students begin to multiply and divide larger numbers. They are also required to know how to estimate and round with large numbers. Fractions are a large part of the fifth grade curriculum. Students are taught to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions that have like and unlike denominators. Place value with whole numbers and decimals is also explored in fifth grade. In geometry, students learn about different shapes and angles and how to use tools compasses and protractors. Problem-solving, especially analyzing a word problem, is a large part of fifth grade mathematics

As you can see, fifth grade is a time for much discovery and growth as the children move closer to adolescence.