Parents: Boston Public Schools Grade 5

Grade 5 Learning Standards

This information is from the Boston Public Schools Citywide Learning Standards.


Oral Presentation and Discussion
The student will be able to:

  • Use agreed upon rules for informal and formal discussions in small and large groups such as Book Club, Literature Circles, and Buddy Reading.
  • Facilitate discussion groups independent from the teacher.
  • Conduct interviews for research projects and writing.
  • Give oral presentations, using teacher-made criteria that demonstrate consideration of audience, purpose, and content.
  • Use visual aides in to support presentations.
  • Determine the meaning of unfamiliar words through context clues, definition, and structural analysis, using knowledge of Greek and Latin roots, suffixes, and prefixes.
  • Determine pronunciations, meanings, alternate word choices, and parts of speech of words using dictionaries, and thesauruses.
  • Identify and use correctly all eight parts of speech, verb phrases, and verb tenses.
  • Identify a word that performs different functions according to its position in the sentence.
  • Demonstrate in writing, reading, and oral language knowledge of the appropriate use of formal and informal language.
Reading and Literature
  • Expand vocabulary through word study and independent reading.
  • Identify basic facts, main ideas, supporting ideas, and details in a text and use them as a basis for interpretation.
  • Identify and analyze sensory language in literary text and recognize organizational structures and text features in informational text.
  • Relate a literary work to its setting. Identify and analyze characteristics of various genres (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, short story, and drama) as forms with distinct characteristics and purposes.
  • Apply knowledge of the concept of theme in literature and provide evidence from the text to provide evidence of understanding.
  • Demonstrate how different authors use the same theme in their writing.
  • Identify and analyze story elements of plot, character, theme, and setting in a piece of writing with support from the text.
  • Identify, analyze, and apply knowledge of informational text to get information.
  • Use literature and informational text to write a Key Question response supported with evidence from the text.
  • Perform dramatic readings recitations and performances that demonstrate consideration of audience and purpose.
Writing and Composition
  • Take a seed idea from their Writers' Notebook and bring it through the writing process of draft, multiple revisions, and edits to a published product, independently, in a variety of genre.
  • Write with a clear focus, coherent organization, and sufficient detail demonstrating voice and knowledge of writer's craft.
  • Write stories or scripts containing basic story elements.
  • Write poems demonstrating poetic technique.
  • Write research papers with a clear focus, topic sentence, supporting details, and conclusion.
  • Write formal and friendly letters for authentic purposes.
  • Make distinctions among fiction, nonfiction, drama, and poetry when writing for different purposes.
  • Organize ideas in writing in a way that makes sense and revise to improve level of detail and precision.
  • Use knowledge of mechanics and grammar to edit writing.
  • Keep a writing portfolio to assess and evaluate work.
  • Obtain and organize material from a variety of sources for research.
  • Use film, radio, TV, and the Internet to demonstrate an understanding of how these mediums convey information and entertain in ways that are different from text.
  • Create a media production using effective images from text, music, software, or graphics.

Introduction to United States History

Teaching for Understanding

  • Significant time needs to be spent during the year developing students' understanding of key concepts or "big ideas" that are important to all eras and regions of the world. Examples of these big ideas are listed below.
  • At the beginning of the year, teachers should engage students in activities to find out what they already know about some or all of the big ideas. At the close of each topic, teachers should return to the big ideas and ask, "What's something new you have learned about the big ideas? What people, places, events, documents, artifacts, and other details have contributed to your new understandings? How are your new understandings different or similar to your previous opinions and beliefs?"
  • Teachers may also pose more specific key questions that stimulate additional thought, discussion and writing by students. Over the course of the year, students' opinions and beliefs will be sharpened into generalizations and principles supported by the evidence they have collected along the way.
Key Concepts/Big Ideas: Examples
  • Economic, Political, Social Justice
  • Economic, Political, Social Systems
  • Power
  • Freedom
  • Race/Gender/Ethnicity/Class
  • Discrimination
  • "Unalienable Rights"
  • War/Peace/Violence
  • Religion
  • Art, Music, & Culture
  • Childhood, Adolescence, and Family Life
  • Money, Wealth, Poverty
  • Work: Laborers and Managers
  • Business & Economics
  • Leaders & Leadership
  • Government & Politics
  • "My country, right or wrong"
  • Geography/Natural Resources/Nature
  • "E pluribus unum"
  • "Of the people, by the people, for the people"
  • Individual, Civic, and Social Responsibility
  • Imperialism/Colonialism
General Standards
  • Construct and interpret historical timelines; associate period with chronological order.
  • Put events into temporal order.
  • Observe and identify details in cartoons, photographs, charts and graphs.
  • Use maps and globes to locate places and events: demonstrate an understanding of longitude and latitude; North and South Pole, Equator, Prime Meridian, Hemispheres; compass rose, scale, legend; political, topographical, specialized, modern and historical maps and their differences.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of cause and effect, and the relations between events.
  • Demonstrate an understanding that actions can have intended and unintended consequences.
  • Be familiar with the key people, places, events, documents, movements, and other details identified under each topic.
  • Make connections between key people and events, people and events from their own lives, the lives of family members, and people and events in the world around them.
  • Compare and contrast ideas, rituals, customs, and concerns expressed or conducted by individuals of the past that may be similar or different from their own.
  • Increase and demonstrate their understanding of the big ideas associated with each topic, using key people, places, events, document, et al. to illustrate and support their own ideas.
  • Conduct historical inquiry projects: employ a variety of sources to gather information and evidence, and reach conclusions; identify primary and secondary sources; differentiate among the kinds of texts they read; understand that narrative accounts vary in emphasis and accuracy depending upon to the author's point of view and understanding of cause or significance.
Discussion and Presentation
  • Use agreed upon rules to participate in and facilitate large and small group discussions.
  • Organize and present their thoughts in a logical manner.
  • Support their ideas with evidence or details; expect and request the same of others.
  • Actively listen, respond to, and build on ideas generated during discussions.
  • Use the information to inform or change their perspectives.
  • Ask for clarification when others' responses are unclear.
  • Summarize and evaluate what they have learned from the discussion.
  • Evaluate the productivity of discussions using established criteria; make suggestions to improve the discussions.
  • Give oral presentations, using established criteria to prepare, assess, and improve their presentations.
  • Write frequently in response to readings, lectures, and other presentations (e.g., summaries, questions, reactions, interpretations, connections, perspectives, predictions, "in the shoes" narratives and reflections, and other written or artistic responses to people and events.
  • Maintain a system (e.g., history notebooks) for collecting, referring to, and sharing their notes, thoughts, and writings, including formal writing products.
  • Write occasional, brief research reports to extend their knowledge beyond classroom presentations; include a clear focus and supporting details.
  • Write, share, assess, and revise frequent responses to MCAS-like, open response (key) questions posed by the teacher.
Topic 1: Pre-Columbian Civilizations of the New World, European Exploration, Colonization and Settlement (1500-1700)
Students will be familiar with:
  • Two of the three major pre-Columbian civilizations in Central and South America (Maya, Inca, and Aztec); their political and social structures, religious practices, economies and cultural abilities; the contributions each group made to mankind; reasons for their decline.
  • Why Europeans began to explore during the 15th century; how science and technology made exploration to more distant regions possible.
  • Four of the following, and his explorations: Vasco de Gama, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Ponce de Leon, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Henry Hudson, Ferdinand Magellan, Samuel de Champlain, Jacques Cartier, John Cabot.
  • The early relationship of the English settlers to the indigenous groups in North America; how things might have been done differently to avoid such conflict.
  • Some of the major leaders and groups responsible for the founding of the original 13 colonies.
  • The success of the English colonies in relation to colonies established by the French.
Topic 2: The Political, Intellectual and Economic Growth of the Colonies (1700-1775)
  • The 13 colonies: regional differences in location, physical characteristics, climate, resources; sources of labor and impact on their economies.
  • Maritime trade/commerce and its importance in the development of the economy of colonial Massachusetts.
  • The difference between indentured servitude and slavery; response of indentured servants and enslaved individuals to these conditions; alternative ways land owners could have found to obtain a labor force.
  • The diversity of life in Africa for Africans before North American slave trade; how the continued slave trade deprived the African continent of its' best and brightest individuals.
  • The life of free Africans descendents in the North American colonies, as compared to their enslaved counterparts and majority population.
  • The role of colonial governments (legislative bodies) in Virginia and Massachusetts and reasons for the establishment of educational institutes.
  • The reasons for and impact of the French and Indian War; the Sugar Act, Stamp Act, Townsend Acts, Tea Act and Intolerable Acts and the response of North American colonies to these policies.
  • The meaning of the slogan, "no taxation without representation," and the importance of the Stamp Act Congress, Sons of Liberty and Tea Party.
Topic 3: Revolution and the Formation of a Federal Government under the Constitution (1775-1789)
  • The causes of the American Revolution; the preparedness of Great Britain and the American colonies; the significance of the Battle of Lexington and Concord.
  • The key ideas contained within the Declaration of Independence; the main author of the document; the importance of this document to other nations and people seeking liberty.
  • The major battles and key turning point of the Revolution (Bunker Hill, Saratoga, Yorktown); factors leading to an American or British victory or defeat .
  • The life and achievements of leaders during the Revolution and the early years of the United States (e.g., King George III, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin).
  • The concept of a constitution; the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; the basic rights given to citizens of the Commonwealth; how the Massachusetts Constitution is the model for the U. S. Constitution.
  • The reasons for the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, the weaknesses of the Articles, the purpose of the Constitutional Convention.
  • The causes and importance of Shays' Rebellion.
  • The major leaders at the Constitutional Convention, who was and was not represented at the convention, major issues at the Convention and how each was resolved.
Topic 4: Principles and Institutions of American Constitutional Government
  • The responsibilities of government at the federal, state and local levels.
  • The basic political principles of American democracy and explain how the Constitution and Bill of Rights reflect and preserve the principles of individual rights and responsibilities, equality, the rule of law, limited government , representative democracy.
  • The three branches of the United States government as outlined by the Constitution, their functions and relationships.
  • The rights in the Bill of Rights; why the Bill of Rights was included in the Constitution.
  • How Americans were expected to participate in, monitor, or change their government; examples of how this is done today.
  • Each of the following concepts: citizen, suffrage, rights, representation.
Topic 5: Economics
  • The ways people save money and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • What an "entrepreneur" is and examples from colonial history (e.g., Peter Faneuil, Benjamin Franklin).
  • The concept of "profit" and how profit is an incentive for entrepreneurs.
  • The concept of "supply and demand" and how changes in supply and demand affected prices in colonial history.

Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability

  • Describe and compare data sets using the concepts of median, mode, maximum and minimum, and range.
  • Find medians and other fractional parts of data sets.
  • Use data characteristics to identify data sets, to describe numerical and categorical variables, and to compare a sample to a larger population.
  • Frame question about association between variables in a data set and construct representations and descriptions that help answer those questions.
  • Formulate, test, define, and refine survey questions and uses background information in designing a survey.
  • Construct and interpret a variety of data representations.
  • Theorize and makes statements, conclusions, and recommendations based on organized data.
  • Formulate questions, collect and organize data and make line plots and tables to examine and compare data sets.
  • Know what a sample is, what some of the factors that make a sample reasonable are, and why a larger sample tends to reflect a populations better than a smaller one.
  • Develop strategies for finding a representative sample.
  • Students predict the probability of outcomes of simple experiments.
  • Understand probability as how likely something is to occur.
  • Understand that the probability of an event ranges from never to always.
  • Can accurately describe the probability of an event using numbers or words.
  • Recognize that repeating a probability experiment several times can yield a variety of results.
  • Recognize that probability can be described using fractions, decimals, or percents.
  • Plot the results of probability experiments on line plots and interpret the data represented.
  • Can estimate probabilities based on results of actual trials.
  • Identify polygons based on their properties.
  • Distinguish between polygons and non-polygons and between regular and non-regular polygons.
  • Recognize and name polygons by the number of sides.
  • Sort and classify triangles and quadrilaterals and use mathematical vocabulary to describe them.
  • Graph points and identify coordinates of points on the Cartesian coordinate plane.
  • Locate and plot points on a coordinate grid.
  • Identify relationships among points, lines, and planes, turns and angles, e.g., intersecting, parallel, perpendicular.
  • Understand parallel lines.
  • Find and understand relationships among angles, line lengths, and areas of similar polygons.
  • Determine if two shapes are congruent by measuring sides or a combination of sides and angles, as necessary; or by motions or series of motions, e.g., translations, rotations, and reflections.
  • Find the size of turns and angles and the sums of turns and angles in regular and non-regular polygons.
  • Identify 3-D shapes based on their properties, such as edges and faces.
  • Understand the idea of volume and units of volume.
  • Develop, use, describe, and justify methods of determining volume.
  • Apply the concepts of perimeter and area to the solution of problems.
  • Find proportional relationships between polygons that are similar.
  • Find and understand relationship among angles, line lengths, and areas of similar polygons.
  • Identify, measure, describe, classify, and construct various angles, triangles, and quadrilaterals.
  • Sort and classify triangles and quadrilaterals and use mathematical vocabulary to describe them.
  • Solve problems involving units of measurement.
  • Identify benchmarks for the measure of: length, weight, volume, and time.
  • Order items by measures of weight and by measures of liquid amount.
  • Measure weight with a balance scale and weights.
  • Develop meaning for the concepts of volume and density; distinguishing between quantity and weight.
  • Determine when precise measurement is required and when estimates are good enough.
  • Use benchmarks to estimate measurements.
  • Choose and accurately use appropriate tools for measuring: weight, volume, capacity and time.
  • Recognize which measurement units are U.S. standard and which are metric.
  • Find areas of triangles and parallelograms. Recognize that shapes with the same number of sides but different appearances can have the same area. Develop strategies to find the area of more complex shapes.
  • Find volumes and surface areas of rectangular prisms.
  • Understand the notion of volume and units of volume.
  • Develop, use, describe, and justify methods of determining volume.
  • Find the sum of the angles in simple polygons (up to eight sides) with and without measuring the angles.
  • Distinguish and see relationships between turns and angles.
  • Use known angles to find the measures of other angles.
Number Sense and Operations
  • Demonstrate an understanding of place value.
  • Can read, write and order large numbers.
  • Can round larger numbers to the nearest multiple of 100 or 1000.
  • Understand the magnitude of large quantities such as thousands, ten thousands, and hundred thousands and begins to develop a sense of the size of one million.
  • Understand decimals as part of the base ten number system.
  • Represent and compare very large and very small positive numbers in various forms.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of fractions as ratio of whole numbers, as parts of unit wholes, and as parts of a collection, and as locations on a number line.
  • Identify and determine common equivalent fractions, mixed numbers, decimals, and percents.
  • Identify everyday situations that involve fractions, decimals, and percents.
  • Identify and use equivalent fractions, decimals, and percents.
  • Find and position integers, fractions, and decimals on the number line.
  • Break fractions, decimals, and percents into familiar parts.
  • Find decimals that are smaller than, larger than, or in between other decimals.
  • Compare and order fractions, decimals, and percents.
  • Understand percent as "out of 100."
  • Use percent to describe portions of groups.
  • Use decimals to describe portions of groups.
  • Compare and order fractions, decimals, and percents using landmarks and visual models.
  • Identify, order, and label fractions between 0 and 1 on a number line.
  • Apply number theory concepts---including prime and composite numbers---to the solution of problems.
  • Understand number characteristics and their relationships, e.g., even, odd, multiples, factors, primes, and squares.
  • Use factors of 100 and multiples of those factors to explore landmarks up to 100.
  • Know the factor pairs of 100 and can relate them to the factor pairs of 1000 and 10,000.
  • Select and use appropriate operations to solve problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents.
  • Solve word problems involving fractions, decimals, and percents and expresses answers appropriately.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the inverse relationship of addition and subtraction, and use that understanding to simplifying computation and solve problems.
  • Understand and explain the relationship among the four basic operations and uses those relationships to solve problems and model situations.
  • Accurately and efficiently add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole numbers.
  • Use mental and written strategies based on numerical reasoning to find sums, differences, products, and quotients.
  • Use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division notation accurately.
  • Estimate results of computations with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents. Describe reasonableness of estimates.
  • Develop, record, explain, and compare strategies for estimating subtraction, multiplication, and division problems in more than one way.
Discussion, Presentation, and Composition
  • Use agreed upon rules to participate in large and small group discussions.
  • Express ideas in an organized way.
  • Explain their mathematical thinking in writing.
  • Maintain a system for collecting, referring to, and sharing their work.

Topic: Population and Ecosystems

  • Give examples of how inherited characteristics may change over time as adaptations to changes in the environment that enable organisms to survive, e.g., shape of beak or feet, placement of eyes on head, length of neck, shape of teeth, color.
  • Give examples of how changes in the environment (drought, cold) have caused some plants and animals to die or move to new locations (migration).
  • Give examples of how organisms can cause changes in their environment to ensure survival. Explain how some of these changes may affect the ecosystem.
  • Describe how energy derived from the sun id used by plants to produce sugar (photosynthesis) and is transferred within a food chain from producers (plants) to consumers to decomposers.
Topic: The Changing Earth Surface
  • Describe how water on earth cycles in different forms and in different locations, including underground and in the atmosphere.
  • Give examples of how the cycling of water, both in and out of the atmosphere, has an effect on climate.
  • Give examples of how the surface of the earth changes due to slow processes such as erosion and weathering, and rapid processes such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.
  • Recognize that the earth is part of a system called the "solar system" that includes the sun (a star), planets, and many moons. The earth is the third planet from the sun in our solar system.
Topic: Astronomy/ Time, Technology
  • Recognize that the earth is part of a system called the "solar system" that includes the sun (a star), planets, and many moons. The earth is the third planet from the sun in our solar system.
  • Recognize that the earth revolves around (orbits) the sun in a year's time and that the earth rotates on its axis once approximately every 24 hours. Make connections between the rotation of the earth and day/night, and the apparent movement of the sun, moon and stars across the sky.
  • Describe the changes that occur in the observable shape of the moon over the course of a month.
  • Recognize that light travels in a straight line until it strikes an object or travels from one medium to another, and that light can be reflected, refracted, and absorbed.
Topic: Technology/Engineering
  • Use appropriate materials, tools, and machines to extend our ability to solve problems.
  • Identify and explain the differences between simple and complex machines.
  • Use the Engineering design process to solve a practical problem that reflects the needs for storage, shelter, or convenience.
  • Describe different ways in which the problem can be represented.
  • Compare natural systems with mechanical systems that are designed to serve similar purposes, e.g. a bird's wing as compared to an airplane's wing.
Discussion, Presentation and Composition
  • Participate in formal and informal discussions in large and small groups, using agreed upon rules to conduct and facilitate them.
  • Contribute knowledge to class discussions.
  • Give formal and informal oral presentations using effective presentation skills.
  • Express an idea in an organized way, with supporting details.
  • Retell an observation with a beginning, middle and end, including important details.
  • Use teacher developed criteria to prepare their presentations.
  • Use listening skills to obtain information.
  • Write frequently in response to readings, other presentations, and observations (e.g., summaries, questions, reactions, connections, predictions, reports).
  • Maintain a system for collecting, referring to, and sharing their thoughts, observations, writings, illustrations, and other work.