Discourse of the Day, The Silver Bullet

The Silver Bullet – Curriculum 5-6

Fifth Grade: Fifth grade is a very important year for students to achieve big steps forward in their education. It is a year without significant upheaval and is the last year before students hormones enter the mix. It is important for educators to take advantage of the lull between big life events to push for fuller, more comprehensive responses, thoughts, and reports. Much like kindergarten planted the seeds for grades 1-4, so does fifth grade lay the groundwork for grades 6-8.

Math: Topics at this level include: Ratios and rates; multiplying and dividing decimals; percentages; areas of compound and complex shapes, volume, dividing fractions; mixed numbers; exponents; Number theory.

Science: Students will design and conduct studies over time. They will cover the topics of: conservation of matter across various forms; identifying materials based on their properties, the cycle of matter from the environment to plants to animals to decomposers; how plants convert their surroundings to energy; how the orbits and rotations of the sun, moon, and earth effect the environment; gravity as a measurable, harnessable force; how the sun become energy; complex machines; How the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere all interact; water distribution across the planet; how humans can minimize their impact on the environment.

Computer Science: Students will learn to write JavaScript and how to navigate visual and aural arts software.

History/Social Science: Students cover the history of the United States, from the indigenous peoples to the modern era. This tour through American history will focus heavily on important people, dates, and ideas that shaped the country with an emphasis on the history of the student’s particular state history.

Human Studies: Students will study the foundational principles of governance, contextual ethics, and the hierarchy of needs. They will be introduced to the big fundamental philosophical questions and the eastern religious traditions. They will formulate answers to the question “How can I contribute to my community?”

English: Students will learn about and be exposed to the different types of literature and begin discussing the meaning behind an author’s work. Assignments will include weekly spelling and vocabulary tests and monthly book reports. Students will be taught how to write a research paper. Students will keep a journal and answer daily writing prompts.

Foreign Languages:
One-hour daily full submersion in Spanish. Students will speak only Spanish while in class. Emphasis on reading and writing full paragraphs in Spanish.

Music: Students will perform melodies using traditional notation and enhanced musical techniques. They will create improvised questions and answers and basic musical phrases as well as notate simple compositions. They will be able to analyze, aurally and visually, notation and form in music. They will also analyze instrumental and vocal examples. They will be able to articulate meaning in music using musical elements, aesthetics, and human responses.

Art: Students will be instructed in how to recognize and use unity and harmony, perspective, gesture and contour, assemblage in artistic works. They will perform self-evaluations of creates works and write quarterly exhibit reports. They will create abstract works and learn to communicate through their art. Students will be exposed to digital imagery and learn about various artistic traditions.

Sixth Grade: Of all the grade levels, sixth grade may be the hardest for teachers, parents, and students to navigate. At this age, some, but not all, of the students in a given class will have undergone puberty; making for a lot of socially awkward students figuring things out. Depending on the campus students in the sixth grade may be the top of the k-6 heap or the low-man on the 6-8/9 junior high totem pole. What this means for learning is that it is important to keep the students engaged and working together with more hands-on and group projects, while still developing the skills to work on long-term independent projects they’ll need down the line.

Math: Students in this year will gain competency in the following areas: Square roots, exponents, prime factorization, scientific notation, integers, rational numbers, ratios/rates/percentages, probability, expressions and properties of numbers.

Science: Students will conduct long-term scientific studies and have those studies reviewed by their peers. Topics of learning include: Protons and electrons; molecular structure; the periodic table; the different types of elements; acids and bases; measuring PH levels; cells; cellular structure; basic anatomy; sensory inputs and the brain; types of reproduction; the history of astronomy; star charts, tracking, and navigation; thermal energy transfers; kinetic energy; temperature; the hydrologic cycle; climate cycles and weather patterns; how the Earth’s climate has changed over the past 100 years. Students will learn to design and build complex machines.

Computer Science: Students will spend the year primarily learning the basics of robotics and turning that knowledge into practical application. They will work on engineering, programming, and logic based problem solving while they build their own robots in individual and group projects. In addition, students will revise and hone their previously learned skill sets with an emphasis on developing their programming skills and understanding of computer hardware.

History/Social Science:
Students will study the ancient civilizations, with an emphasis on the political, cultural, and technological innovations that drove those civilizations forward.

Human Studies: Students will design, plan, and execute a community service project. They will learn about basic public policy and how it affects them personally. The will be exposed to ethical dilemmas and asked to articulate responses to those dilemmas. They will study the beliefs of ancient peoples and familiarize themselves with the ancient philosophers. They will learn about the parts of the brain and their roles in our everyday life.

English: Students will learn about the basics of literary analysis, discussing the themes and uses of figurative language in their assigned readings and performing basic textual analysis. Assignments will include weekly spelling and vocabulary tests, monthly book reports, and a major research project. Students will keep a journal and answer daily writing prompts with an emphasis placed on creative writing.

Foreign Languages: Students will spend an hour of class time daily in full Spanish immersion. They will be expected to read books and write reports in Spanish.

Music: Students will learn how to read, write, and perform intervals and triads. They will practice sight-reading in both treble and bass clef. They will transcribe simple aural examples into rhythmic notation and describe large musical forms. They will analyze and critically assess musical performances and compositions, explaining how various musical qualities and techniques convey images, feelings, or emotion. They will be asked to perform selected complex arraignments.

Art: Students at this level will be expected to create more complex, technically sound works of personal expression, selecting specific media to express ideas and moods. They will hand in quarterly exhibit reports, revise their work after receiving constructive critiques, and present a major multimedia research project. Students will be taught how to use balance and two-point perspective in their art.

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