Fifth Grade Social Studies


Over the course of the year in social studies, we make connections between the past and the present, using the following guiding questions.

  • How do groups solve problems?
  • How do the struggles for natural resources, power and equality play out in our nation’s history
  • How did colonization change the Americas?
  • How was the U.S formed?
  • How does human contact lead to exchange and change in cultures?
  • How does perspective affect our telling of history?

We explore these questions through the following topics in U.S. history:

  • American Colonies
  • Inequality in the Colonies
  • Road to Revolution
  • The Young Republic
  • Forming a New Nation
  • The Constitution
  • Citizenship: Rights and Responsibilities

We develop these connections using a skills-based approach, where students become social scientists. They explore a variety of sources, both primary and secondary – from maps to newspapers, diaries and images. Students engage in rich discussions and debates, learning how to look at complex issues by taking multiple perspectives.  Students have opportunities to dig deeper into topics of interest, learning valuable research skills in the process. They share the fruits of their research in different ways – skits, posters, recordings, and writing. In the spring of each year, the class undertakes an ambitious research project resulting in a non-fiction research paper and an anthology of graphic non-fiction biographies.