Term III

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

During the final trimester, the fifth grade students finish a unit on World War II and the Postwar Years. Students read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.  The next unit includes a study of the civil rights movement and the challenges America faced in the late twentieth century to the present.  Students connect their study of the turbulent times of the seventies by reading Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. The lessons challenge students to connect with this time period.  At this time of the year, we invite some of the students' family members to share their Vietnam War era experiences.

The term concludes with book clubs. Students are assigned one of three books to read, Hatchet, The Great Gilly Hopkins, or The Cay. Together each group comes up with responses and questions to aid in daily discussions of the books. Each year the students greatly enjoy this different approach in reading.

Throughout the term, students finalize their drafts of their Writers Guild stories and add illustrations. The Writers Guild is always a tremendous success as the students display their beautifully crafted books. The students also complete English units on capitalization, punctuation, pronouns, adverbs, and prepositions.

The term ends with a brief interdisciplinary study focused on the science rocket unit. Using the perspective of their rockets, students write a story about their rockets' adventures. Finally, the class trip to Carter Caves pulls the year to an end in a special way.


The Everyday Math program in Term III covers topics ranging from coordinates, area, and volume to pre-algebraic concepts of pan-balance and probability. In Unit 9, students review coordinate grids, practice plotting ordered numbered pairs, and manipulate ordered number pairs to discover transformations of the plotted figures in a plane.  Area of rectangles, triangles, and parallelograms are explored as students developed and used formulas for finding area of these figures.  Students develop a formula for the volume of rectangular and triangular prisms by multiplying the area of a base times height.  Students also examine the relationship between volume and capacity and practice converting between U.S. customary units and metric units.

Most of the lessons in Unit 10 focus on pre-algebra concepts and skills.  Students use pan-balance metaphors to solve one and two-step equations and extend the “What’s My Rule?” routine to represent rules for algebraic expressions.  They use tables and graphs to examine the concept of rates, solve and interpret problems, and match “mystery graphs”’ based on real-life situations.  Unit 10 also deals with circumference and area of circles.  Students explore circular objects leading to a discussion of the number pi – the ratio of the circumference to a circle’s diameter – and to the formula for the area of a circle.

Units 11 and 12 are a review and extension of volume, rates, ratios, and probability.  Students review properties of geometric solids.  Factor trees are re-introduced to find prime factorizations, greatest common factors, and least common multiples.  Students also use tree diagrams to represent and count combinations of choices and to find probabilities.  Students explore the use of ratios and how to express them and write number models for ratio number stories.


The final leg of the fifth grade science journey is an exciting one.   Guided by Newton’s Laws of Motion, students learn the three “R’s” of science- Robots, Rockets and Roller Coasters.  Students begin their study motion by building marble roller coasters. Each coaster ends with a creative Rube Goldberg contraption that is required to accomplish a simple task, the “hard way.”  Teamwork, cooperation, communication and problem solving strategies are reinforced as students complete each required coaster element. The unit concludes with a comprehensive test over the laws of physics as they apply to roller coasters.

In the next unit, robots, our young engineers design, build, and test a robotic rover using the LEGO Mind Storms system.  Each team member learns how to program their robot to perform a variety of maneuvers needed to run a different challenge courses.  Applying their programming and design skills, each team faces-off against each other in a final “Battle Bot” competition.

In the final unit of study, the math, science and language arts teachers combine for a multidiscipline study of flight and rocketry.  Students design, build and test their very own Estes solid fuel rockets.  As part of a launch team, they learn how to set up a safe launch system, measure peak altitude (apogee) and collect flight data.  To complete the unit, each student writes a creative essay on the flight of their rocket from the perspective of the rocket as it travels from lift-off to recovery.

Learning through trial and error, problem solving and discovery is what 5th grade science at TLS is all about.  


Throughout the third term in Spanish, fifth graders explore la clima (weather) and have some fun working in groups to present un pronóstico de la clima (a weather forecast) for a specific state or country. After wrapping up a unit on the weather, students review vocabulary for subject pronouns and then move on to learn present tense conjugation of both –ER and –IR regular verbs. Students learn some common regular –ER and –IR verbs along with this unit. Incorporating some verbs, we move on to our final unit el restuarante (the restaurant) where students make un menú (a menu) for their very own restaurant and then use them to perform a skit between a cliente (customer) and camarero (waiter) of that restaurant.


During the third term of the year, fifth graders take part in designing and painting the set for the fifth grade play. This involves large flats and props. The next unit is 3D drawing, building on skills with forms, shading and cartooning. Following this is a three dimensional project involving form, balance, imagination, and craftsmanship. There is an emphasis on creativity and originality.


The fifth grade students continue to do outstanding work in the computer lab. The students are using Movie Maker to create a movie trailer about a book that they have read for their Language Arts class. They insert text, graphics, and music to make their presentation informative and entertaining. They learn to export the movie into another file format so that it can be viewed from other computers. The fifth graders are a joy to have in class and are very prepared for the work that will be expected of them in Middle School. Please continue to encourage your child to use correct keyboarding techniques at home.


The students of the fifth grade Music class distinguish themselves as very fine performers during this last term of the school year. The beginning of the month of April is entirely devoted to learning the myriad of stage and musical techniques necessary to perform a full-length musical. Each year the musical changes, but the format provides many substantial parts for students to memorize. Music class time is concerned with demonstrating and learning the proper techniques for securely memorizing music and text.  The intensive daily rehearsal sessions involve the art of blocking each scene of the musical so that every performer on stage knows exactly where to be and when to move during that scene. Superb vocal projection is achieved by working individually with each student, properly placing their voice, and making sure they support the supply of air by using the diaphragm in the torso. These correct breathing techniques will serve these students well throughout their academic and professional lives whenever public speaking is involved. The students are encouraged to create their version of whichever character they portrayed on stage. They learn how timbre of the voice and the slightest movement can be used to develop their stage persona. Various yoga exercises are introduced to develop an awareness of body positioning and movement within each student. The end result of this extraordinary experience of presenting as close to a professional level performance as possible allows for a tremendous leap in terms of performing ability. Each student develops a heightened sense of self and the realization that their talents can lead them to many different paths in whatever career they may choose. After the performance of the musical, the students learn new choral literature for their performance in the Spring Choral Concert.


The fifth grade finishes the year strong in P.E.  The final trimester is spent playing volleyball, badminton, base games, and fitness related activities. Throughout each unit, students demonstrate and build hand-eye coordination, team skills, and cooperation.

The times recorded during the mile-runs are often better than the ones recorded earlier in the year.  Almost every student is able to lower their time.