Fifth Grade Units of Inquiry

Fifth grade classes participate in six units of inquiry throughout the year. Click on each unit below to learn more.

Unit 1 - Who we are

Transdisciplinary Theme  

Who we are: an inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

Central Idea

Relationships create change.

Lines of Inquiry

  • The movement of the Earth
  • The interactions within an ecosystem
  • The impact of identity on communication
  • The culture of self and others

Attributes of the Learner Profile

  • Principled
  • Open-Minded
  • Caring

Parent Support

Questions to ask your child:

*What are some relationships in an ecosystem?

*How do humans impact communities?

*Can a rock change back?

Vocabulary words that may be used during your discussions: organism, population, community, ecosystem, living, non-living, rock cycle, igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic, weathering, erosion

Single Subject Connections

Unit 2 - How we organize ourselves

Transdisciplinary Theme 

How we organize ourselves: an inquiry into the interconnectedness of human-made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision-making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.

Central Idea

Organization impacts our understanding of the world. 

Lines of Inquiry

  • The ocean environment
  • The characteristics of matter
  • The impact of geography on civilizations
  • The organization of text

Attributes of the Learner Profile

  • Knowledgeable
  • Inquirer
  • Communicator

Parent Support

Questions to ask your child:

  1. How is our household organized?
  2. How is the ocean organized?
  3. How did reading this book change your thinking?
  4. What text structures di the author use to organize the text?

Here are some of the vocabulary words student might use in your discussions:

Salinity, density, atom, molecule, compound, mixture, solution 

Single Subject Connections

In Art, 5th graders will utilize clay to create a personal vessel.  The students will explore form as they create the structure of the vessel.  They will impress  and carve personal symbols into the clay.   

Unit 3 - How the world works

Transdisciplinary Theme 

How the world works: an inquiry into the natural world and its laws, the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.

Central Idea

Patterns help us make predictions.

Lines of Inquiry

  • Weather patterns 
  • Solar system 
  • Relationships between the Earth, moon, and sun 
  • Characteristics of fantasy stories 

Attributes of the Learner Profile

  • Thinker
  • Reflective

Parent Support

Questions to ask your child:

  1. What patterns do you see?
  2. How do you describe the phases of the moon?
  3. What is the relationship between the earth, sun, and moon?

Here are some of the vocabulary words student might use in your discussions:

Rain gauge, rotation, revolution, axis, prediction, gas giants, terrestrial, hypothesis, precipitation, anemometer, cumulonimbus, 

Single Subject Connections

In STEAM, the students will explore the interactions in sound by designing and creating musical instruments.

In Music, the students will explore the science behind how various instruments work. They will identify the interactions that cause the change in sound an instrument makes.

In PE, 5th grade will explore the concept of striking with an implement. The students will practice the body positions needed to strike, volley and score. The students will also explore the perspective of defense and offense on the tennis court. Students will work on safety when practicing tennis by hugging/grounding the racket .

Unit 4 - Where we are in place and time

Transdisciplinary Theme 

Where we are in place and time: an inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationship between and the interconnectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

Central Idea

Change is a result of interactions

Lines of Inquiry

  • Characteristics of light and sound. 
  • Transfer of energy
  • Process of research 

Attributes of the Learner Profile

  • Principled
  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable

Parent Support

Questions to ask your child:

  1. How does light and sound behave?
  2. What’s the perspective on the topic of this book?
  3. How does this topic affect lives?

Here are some of the vocabulary words student might use in your discussions:

Constant, transverse, hypothesis, compression, reflection, refraction, opaque, transparent, translucent, pitch, vibrate, wavelength, amplitude

Single Subject Connections

In STEAM, the students will demonstrate their understanding of form and function as they explore static electricity and circuits. They will invent a tool using coding and an electrical circuit in order to solve a specific problem.

In Art, 5th grade students will explore and discuss artists who use language to influence viewers. Each student will choose one word to represent themselves and create a print plate. Considering the elements of art (line, form, balance, shape, texture), students will design their word and create a print series for themselves. They will also print their word on a 5th grade collaborative mural to be displayed in the school.

Unit 5 - How we express ourselves

Transdisciplinary Theme 

How we express ourselves: an inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity, our appreciation of the aesthetic.

Central Idea

Lines of Inquiry

Attributes of the Learner Profile

Parent Support

Single Subject Connections

Unit 6 - Sharing the planet

Transdisciplinary Theme 

Central Idea

Lines of Inquiry

Attributes of the Learner Profile

Parent Support

Single Subject Connections