The 5th Grade year is a bridge between two very different student experiences: the self-contained classroom of the Elementary School grades and the subject-specific classrooms of Middle School grades.
Systems are a unifying thread tying together our explorations of the world. Students use a systems analysis approach to examine many realms: How do vacuum cleaners work? What is our solar system like? Where does our water come from? If numbers are infinite, how is it possible to use only ten numerals to represent any quantity? How can I use my assignment calendar to manage my study time? How do paragraphs help me organize ideas in my writing?”
Using systems as a vehicle for learning offers many opportunities for students to learn by doing, and to learn at many levels at once. For example, students physically take apart a simple machine like a bicycle, and use diagrams to document their discoveries. They use measurement tools to collect information and photograph parts from multiple perspectives. They do research in non-fiction texts such as The Way Things Work and they write descriptions of the interactions of parts. Students culminate this series of activities by delivering a poster-illustrated presentation to their classmates.
For more information, please see the Curriculum Guide.