Fifth Grade

About Fifth Grade

At The Lexington School it is not enough to read about how electricity works. Instead, fifth grade science students, soldering irons in hand, build circuits that make light and sound. Velocity, torque, momentum? Imagine a room full of roller coasters made of foam plumbing tubes that twist and curve and hang from the ceiling, and to add some additional problem solving, throw in a Rube Goldberg invention at the bottom where something must occur like an oil spill, a fried egg, or even the pouring of a Coke. This is fifth grade science, and it is just one example of a horizontally-aligned curriculum that takes them to the next level. With class sizes of 12, all of this can and does happen at The Lexington School, and each student is challenged in a way that maximizes his/her potential. The expectation moving into Middle School is high, and our students want to rise to it.  With a curriculum that builds on the interdisciplinary approach of fourth grade, Lexington School 5th graders continue to reach great heights. Regularly scoring well on nationally-normed exams, over 80% of a typical Lexington School fifth grade will qualify for the Duke University Talent Identification Program.  But more important than their test scores is the courage our fifth graders learn as they grow towards the next step, Middle School. Through critical thinking curriculum in science and math, rigorous standards in reading and writing, and confidence building experiences in the arts which includes a full-scale fifth grade musical in which each child has a role, Lexington School fifth graders are on their way, building towards becoming young people who know how to make wise choices and to overcome obstacles.

Bridging the Gap

Upstairs from the "Lower Lower School," the fourth and fifth grade bridge the gap between Lower School and Middle School.  In the fourth and fifth grades, students have lockers, they move with their classmates together to each class, and they have additional responsibilities and privileges they can earn.  The academic courses take the leap from learning how, to learning what.  In a structured environment, students are guided to bolster their work habits and organizational skills as they develop greater independence in their work and their materials.  The fourth and fifth graders are asked to take on responsibilities as leaders in the Lower School.  The fourth graders help with weekly snacks for each Lower School classroom, and the fifth graders lead the school's recycling program.  They will soon be heading off to Middle School, but first they have to learn about getting grades, keeping up with long-term assignments, and learning to rely on each other to be leaders and friends in a new academic environment.

5th Grade

During advisor time, advisors strive to help students be successful in fifth grade, as well as the years beyond.  The primary focus is to instill the TLS Guidelines for Success listed below.

  1. Treat everyone with courtesy and respect.
  2. Embrace a positive attitude.
  3. Model honesty and integrity.
  4. Practice responsibility.

During advisor, students use Handwriting Without Tears to reinforce the handwriting instruction provided throughout the lower school years.  Advisors also emphasize the practice of good study habits including organization of lockers and materials, use of a planner to keep track of assignments, and effective test preparation.  Finally, advisors monitor other behaviors to ensure students observe and internalize the Guidelines for Success.

Language Arts & Social Studies

Fifth grade students have an integrated curriculum for language arts and social studies. “Yeehaw” begins many of the letters the students write in their Reader's Notebooks sharing their thoughts about Cowboys of the Wild West by Russell Freedman. This book enhances the study of “The Changing West.” The students finish this first term with a study of the role the United States began to take in the world as it became industrialized. To supplement this study, students read Counting on Grace by Elizabeth Winthrop.

Using the English textbook, students learn about types of sentences and capitalization and punctuation. In addition, students use Daily Oral Language exercises to supplement their study of the English language. They write several in-class essays and a personal narrative. Using the student style sheet and rubrics to proof and check their writing helps them to meet our fifth grade standards in writing.

Fifth graders learn to prepare daily for upcoming assignments and assessments. The focus is not as much on where they start but rather where they finish the year. Rather than putting too much focus on the grades, students are encouraged to strive for improvement, so that all students may reach their potential.

Parents can always stay informed about things happening in fifth grade language arts and social studies by reviewing assignment notebooks, checking the school and fifth grade websites, or looking through the students' language arts and social studies binders. Doing so will help their children have a successful fifth grade experience.


The Everyday Math program is a spiraling curriculum in which concepts are continually reviewed to extend the students’ understanding. Because of this ongoing review, students are able to display and expand their knowledge of number theory and computation. As part of Unit 1, the number theory unit, students extend their knowledge of multiplication facts, drawing arrays to model multiplication, identifying even and odd numbers, listing factors, understanding the relationship between square numbers and square roots, identifying prime and composite numbers, and using divisibility tests to determine the divisibility of a number by another number.

The computation unit deals with writing and solving open sentences for number stories, rounding numbers to designated places, making magnitude estimates, finding the sum, difference, and product of multi-digit whole numbers and decimals, and identifying statistical landmarks (maximum, minimum, median, mode, and mean) for a data set.

In Unit 3, students determine angle measurements based on relationships between angles, estimate the measure of an angle, measure an angle to an accuracy of two degrees, identify types of triangles, identify place value in numbers to billions, review properties of polygons, and define and create tessellations.


Science is all about discovery.  It’s about looking at the world in a logical, thoughtful way. It’s about asking questions and seeking answers. It’s about teamwork. We know that children learn science best by doing science, so we begin our first unit, Chemistry, with many hands-on activities.

During each lab activity, students set up experiments, test their hypotheses and collect data to support their findings. They improve their graphing skills and draw conclusions based on the data they have collected. Often times, their preconceived ideas and misconceptions are put to the test.  Working cooperatively with a lab partner is critical to their ability to get labs done accurately and on time. Lab safety along with proper equipment and tool use are reinforced as they explore chemical and physical change and identify chemical mixtures using chromatography techniques.

With a spirit of exploration and discovery, fifth graders take risks and develop a love and enthusiasm for science that will last for years to come.


In fifth grade Spanish, the year begins with a review from previous years that includes los saludos (greetings), los números (numbers), los colores (colors) and conversation. Each class begins with a warm up where students practice sharpening their listening comprehension, reading and writing skills by watching a short clip of an animated song or story in Spanish and then answering questions about the clip. Students tackle the difficult unit on la hora (telling time) and la fecha (the date) before "traveling" to Buenos Aires to catch a movie. They must first put their knowledge of time and date to use when presented with cinema related questions. Students end the term by participating in Subasta where they bid on a list of sentences, and the team who "buys" the most correct wins.


The fifth grade students begin the term focusing on the elements and principles of art with emphasis on line, shape, and expression. They make several black and white line studies using a repeated shape with a variety of patterns. This demonstrates pattern, rhythm, unity, and repetition. Next, they learn to draw trees and make a composition showing distance. Good coloring and composition skills are emphasized. Watercolor painting is explored next using trees as the subect. From here they draw human skeletons as they learn how the body moves. These action skeletons are placed in an imaginative picture.

During the first term the class also visits the University of Kentucky Art Museum. The docent-led tour introduces students to a variety of styles and subject matter. The students write and draw about this experience.


The fifth grade students work diligently in computer class. Continuing with their work with the Microsoft Office suite, fifth grade students become familiar with Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Publisher. Through Excel, students learn to enter and format data in spreadsheets and graph the data using column, pie, and line graphs. The graphs they create are inserted into their science binders. In Microsoft Publisher, the students learn the pertinent information that is needed for a business card and create one for a real life--or fictitious--business. The cards are printed on business card paper to enable students to exchange the cards. Throughout the year, fifth grade students will continue to revisit proper keyboarding skills and techniques.


Fifth graders have the opportunity to borrow four items at a time from the library and are given one month to return them.  During the first term students review, in depth, the on-line catalog, called OPAC and all that it offers such as Webpath Express and Destiny Quest. Fifth graders learn how to become more independent library patrons and learn how to hold, review and recommend titles to their friends via Destiny Quest. To supplement their fifth grade Social Studies units, several projects take place during library class time. Research of inventors and inventions of the late 1800’s is one of them.


The fifth grade is a superb performing ensemble with some of the most enthusiastic singers a lower school director encounters. This certainly bodes well for a group that has extensive performance opportunities during the fifth grade year. In the first term of the year, students encounter two marvelous learning experiences. The first is a recording session in which the ensemble experiences the production of a professionally recorded CD. First and foremost the group learns how important it is to be completely prepared so that only a few takes will be required. Secondly, the need for the ability to adjust and revise according to the performance space and needs of the producer shows the ensemble to be amazingly flexible in the production of their sound. Thirdly, the need for patience as well as a willingness to suspend the need for immediate success leads the group to a superb outcome. The fifth graders also perform for Grandparents Day, and the students reflect their enthusiasm as well as their love for music.


Fifth grade students have a fantastic first term of the year in P.E.  The year starts with an extensive unit in soccer.  Throughout the various lessons, the basic skills of the sport are introduced and informal evaluations are conducted continuously.  After completion of the soccer unit, the students are asked to run a mile for a recorded time.

During the second half of the trimester, the students work on a fitness unit.  During these classes, various activities such as relays, interval training, fitness stations, obstacle courses and strength training are presented.  The students work extremely hard throughout the class meetings.

Academic Programs