Fifth grade is the culminating year of the Primary Years Program at Dwight. It is a year filled with in-depth research and collaborative learning. Students gain independence as they utilize their educational foundations to explore new ideas. Over the course of the year, students explore topics such as the human brain, leadership over time, states of matter, and systems for food production and distribution. They strengthen their skills in reading, writing, math, and Units of Inquiry while consolidating their knowledge of the PYP in preparation for the Exhibition at the end of the year.
The PYP Exhibition is the culminating experience of primary school marking the transition from the PYP to the Middle Years Program (MYP). The Exhibition is a collaborative project that involves students in identifying, investigating, and offering solutions to reallife issues or problems. Students work as a class to identify an issue or problem and then in small groups closely examine one aspect of the issue. The Exhibition provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their learning in the PYP and to take action as a result of their learning.
On any day, you might find our Grade 5 students:
- Creating optical illusions inspired by the work of Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely, and studying the science of color
- Working together with 1:1 iPads to edit their own online blogs
- Leading and organizing the first-ever Lower School picnic in Central Park
- Challenging themselves in math at their own pace via an online learning platform
- Communicating with peers in London via Skype in preparation for a trip "across the pond"
- Spearheading several community service initiatives
- Taking the stage at Carnegie Hall with Dwight students from New York, London, Shanghai, and Seoul
Fifth grade is the culminating year of the Primary Years Program at the Dwight School. It is a year filled with in-depth research and collaborative learning. Students gain independence as they utilize their educational foundations to explore new ideas. Over the course of the year, students explore topics such as the human brain, leadership over time, states matters, and systems for food production and distribution. They strengthen their skills in reading, writing, math, and Unit of Inquiry while consolidating their knowledge of the PYP in preparation for the Exhibition at the end of the year.
The PYP Exhibition is the culminating experience of primary school marking the transition from the PYP to the Middle Years Program (MYP). The Exhibition is a collaborative project that involves students in identifying, investigating and offering solutions to real-life issues or problems. Students work as a class to identify an issue or problem and then in small groups closely examine one aspect of the issue. The Exhibition provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their learning in the PYP and to take action as a result of their learning.
- Units of Inquiry
- World Language
- Physical Education
Fifth grade students inquire into six different Units of Inquiry. Each of these units is integrated across the subject areas and are the pillars of the fifth grade curriculum. The units include The Main Brain, in which the students study how we learn, how the brain functions and the parts of the brain. Students study leadership, historical time periods, and the leaders who emerged from these periods during the unit Where We Are In Time and Place. In the unit How We Express Ourselves, students delve into obstacles children around the world face when expressing themselves. Within the How We Organize Ourselves, students will inquire into the production and distribution of food around the world. During the unit What’s the Matter?, students learn about atoms and molecules, while experimenting with physical and chemical changes.
The fifth and penultimate unit in fifth grade is the PYP Exhibition. This unit is determined each year by the students based on their interest in global and local issues. In previous years, classes have studied issues such as children’s rights and human impact on the environment. Once the students determine the topic, they inquire deeply into the topic and determine a plan for taking action. The unit culminates with a presentation to the Lower School community, parents, and staff.
In fifth grade, students review, strengthen, and extend their understanding of reading comprehension strategies while developing a greater appreciation for literature. They read award-winning novels and quality non-fiction with a greater emphasis on inferential thinking skills in order to glean the author’s point of view or opinion. Through the use of book clubs, students analyze literature in order to identify social, moral, and cultural issues within a story. They discuss connections discovered and characters revealed. Reading for research and learning becomes exceedingly important as students leave elementary school and enter middle school. Fifth grade students learn new ways to gather information and regularly practice synthesizing this information.
Fifth grade students practice and develop writing skills within a variety of genres. They learn more about the writing process through expository, creative, and narrative writing practice. Emphasis is placed on writing in a clear, descriptive, and organized manner that takes the audience into consideration. Fifth grade students also work more closely with the selection of words and how strong word choice can dramatically enhance the quality of their writing. Also, students become careful peer editors in which they offer constructive feedback and give examples from the piece to help push one another’s writing. This is an important process at this age because it allows the students to share their opinions with factual support from the writing, while also allowing them to listen and accept feedback about a piece of their work.
The fifth grade math curriculum is an integration of PYP and Common Core Standards. Fifth grade students extend their conceptual understanding of mathematics. They learn additional skills and concepts related to place value, number operations, geometry, measurement, time, data and probability, and fractions. There is also an emphasis on problem-solving as it relates to the world around us, and how using math is valuable within our everyday lives. Students improve their ability to communicate math thinking both verbally, as well as in writing.
All students in the PYP are required to study at least one language in addition to English. Learning these languages is seen to be an important element in preparing young people for citizenship in the developing global community.
Students in French, Spanish, and Mandarin are exposed to the culture of the target language and develop the necessary skills to become active users of the language at the end of their school career. Students in grades 1-5 learn language through a variety of ways including songs, games, role-playing, and cultural activities.
In fifth grade, students are expected to start using their previously learned language in more independent ways. In a conversation, besides stating feelings and expressing wants, students also ask for information. They create a story book in dialogue form by using the sentences they know. Students engage in conversations with one person or multiple people. Chinese culture is explored through arts, music, and storybooks, and the celebration of Chinese New Year.
Students are expected to use their previously learned language skills in independent and original ways. Students can understand short stories and engage in guided conversations with one person or multiple people. Students learn more complex grammar and the concept of register to address different people. Students will experience some Spanish traditions throughout the year as they celebrate “Día de los Muertos,” “Three Kings Day,” and “Cinco de Mayo.”
Students are expected to use their previously learned language skills in independent and original ways. Students can understand short stories and engage in more complex conversations with one person or multiple people. Students learn more complex grammar and the concept of register to address different people. Students will experience some French traditions throughout the year as they celebrate “la Francophonie.”
Fifth grade students have become much more able to independently develop and express their ideas through the visual arts. Their compositional skills continue to strengthen, as will their comprehension of the elements of art and the principles of design. Having been introduced to a wide variety of materials and having practiced critiquing artwork since first grade, students are now able to select appropriate media and techniques to effectively communicate their ideas. At the beginning of the year, while inquiring into the workings of the brain, fifth graders explore the concept of the right- and left-brain and creativity. Students also learn about the science of color in order to create optical illusions, inspired by the work of Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely. This exposure to color theory is then practiced as they revisit the design principles of contrast and balance, and create portraits of themselves as leaders. Finally, students’ knowledge of design principles is applied when they use the skills they have learned over the last five years, to communicate their ideas during the culminating project of their elementary careers, the PYP Exhibition.
Our fifth graders are engaged in multiple independent and collaborative music projects. In addition, each student has the opportunity to create his/her own music compositions by using latest technology tools, such as Noteflight, Garageband, and Sibelius. As the year’s highlight, students collaboratively create and perform a full-length song that summarizes their music skills, diversity of their personal taste, and performance styles in connection to the Fifth Grade PYP Exhibition unit of inquiry. As a group, students perform their original composition during the Exhibition final presentation. Students are exposed to a variety of world music and its evolution across genres and styles in a historical context. Students continue building their independent thinking and problem-solving skills through a wide variety of basic music theory, ear-training, and performance activities.
Fifth grade students solve challenging problems in larger groups and apply strategies to resolve conflicts independently. They are taught advanced skills and concepts associated with games and sports and develop their own innovative games and activities. Fifth grade students use their bodies in response to stimuli and as a medium for expression. They refine the traditional gymnastic skills and work cooperatively to create their own movement sequences. Students understand the interconnectedness of factors that contribute to a safe and healthy lifestyle, set goals, and identify strategies that will help to develop well-being. They practice specific techniques for throwing, jumping, and running events, evaluate their performance, and understand how they can improve. Students have the opportunity to design their own track activities and participate in a modified event, independently collecting and recording data.
In fifth grade students are comfortable using the library online database for book searching as well using online databases for information collection. Becoming independent researchers is a goal in fifth grade library. Students continue to explore the many tools and skills that contribute to an understanding of resources -- books and online -- for research. In addition, students become familiar with citing sources and creating bibliographies. Students are encouraged to try new literature genres and explore informational texts as pleasure reading. Fifth graders are introduced to the Middle School/Upper School Library as another resource in their personal and aesthetic growth as readers.
In the fifth grade, technology classes build on the skills from the previous four years of technology classes in the Primary Years Program. Fifth grade students continue in a 1:1 iPad program. With increasing independence, students work on projects that support the PYP Units of Inquiry while still acquiring skills to become more sophisticated technology users. Students work together to build a strong digital citizenship community and practice responsible use on their online blogs. Fifth graders are motivated to explore the basics of computer programming in our unit, How the World Works, which helps nurture creativity and problem-solving skills. For most of the year, students produce and edit products to communicate information and ideas for an intended purpose and a target audience in preparation for the PYP Exhibition.