Fifth-grade English includes the study of literature, vocabulary, grammar, and composition. At the fifth-grade level, English is divided into two courses, literature and language arts. In both classes, students practice writing in a variety of forms including creative writing, poetry, and literary analysis. Language arts focuses on the parts of speech, parts of the sentence, punctuation, and capitalization to develop writing concise sentences and cohesive paragraphs. Literature develops vocabulary and reading comprehension skills through the study of novels, a variety of short stories, and selected poems. In both courses, writing ability is improved through peer and instructor critiques along with several opportunities to revise. With a goal of emphasizing critical thinking skills expressed through written and oral responses, both literature and language arts courses offer a balance between creative and skill-related activities.
The St. Andrew’s Middle School fitness program promotes wellness, individual accountability, and group cohesion through age-appropriate activities. The fitness program includes the Presidential Fitness Test, which is designed to measure the basic fitness level of each student. Students in grades 5–8 also participate in a variety of games, including floor hockey, dodgeball, basketball relays, kickball and wiffle ball. The running program teaches basic fundamentals of running using dot mats, ladders, mini-hurdles, and jump ropes. Each fitness class includes a warm-up and stretching period.
Fifth-grade history begins with the study of prehistory and the beginnings of man. Students are then immersed in a study of the ancient civilizations including Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, and Greece. Students develop an understanding and appreciation of how each civilization has impacted the modern world, as well as a grasp of the things that make a culture survive, thrive, or fail. Fifth graders develop a deeper understanding of the patterns and problems of history and hone their critical thinking skills through class discussions and writing about these topics. Students also learn and practice research skills and report writing. In addition to learning about ancient civilizations, fifth graders have weekly lessons on current events and geography, and engage in class discussions pertaining to how past events have impacted the present, and how current events are continually shaping the future.
Fifth-grade math stresses the successful development of mathematical thinkers. The curriculum - Math in Focus: Singapore Math - uses a focused and coherent syllabus that integrates concepts, skills, processes, attitudes, and metacognition in the problem solving process. It addresses relatively few topics in detail with time built into the lessons to develop understanding, using a Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract approach. The model drawing technique used provides students with a visual model to help solve problems, which leads directly to the abstract models used in algebra. Lessons focus on the application of mathematics to real world situations as students work with whole numbers to 10,000,000, fractions, ratios, decimals, percent, graphs and probability, triangles, and algebra. Fifth-grade math also spends time working on coding and computer programing, both of which are mathematical languages.
The fifth-grade science class offers an integrated approach to building science, technology, engineering, and mathematical knowledge in an inquiry-based and student-centered environment. The overarching goals in this course are to develop both creative and critical thinking skills; to learn how to collaborate with others; and to effectively share research and findings with an audience. Students take part in labs, using their Chromebooks to record data, summarize findings and conduct research. Students also engage in engineering challenges in which they use the engineering design process. Main topics of study include: science process skills, measurement and density, earth science, and systems and variables.
Students at St. Andrew’s begin Spanish in Pre-K3. In Middle School, students continue with the language. These courses are taught through hands-on activities involving much student interaction, including class discussions, group work, and problem solving, and they expose students to cultural traditions and conversational vocabulary.
Each fifth-grader takes a different “Quarter Rotation” in each of the four quarters. These classes are: Performing Arts, Visual Art, Technology, and Spanish.
Performing Arts is a 9-week intensive course in music and drama that encourages students to be creative and to connect to their interests. This course offers a rich and fulfilling taste of music and drama. Students experience: singing a variety of songs, performing original pieces (musical and dramatic), and playing musical instruments (drums, guitar, and piano).
Visual Art is held in the Art Studio, where projects introduce new ways to create art. Students are encouraged to discover and explore their personal expression with traditional and non-traditional art-making tools. Art-making techniques include drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, mixed media and sculpture.
The fifth-grade technology quarter rotation is divided into three sections. Students begin with a unit on digital citizenship, where they explore how to protect each other and themselves when online. Then, students move into digital literacy, which includes basic computer skills and how to interact with new software. The quarter culminates in some work on computational thinking and coding.