Inquiry in Fifth Grade

Our fifth graders learn through the lens of six thematic inquiry units throughout their school year.

Inquiry Unit Theme One: How we express ourselves

Central Idea: The remnants of Ancient Civilizations give insight to the foundation of expression today.

Sample Inquiry question asked by scholar: I wonder how the ancient Maya uses sports as a form of expression?

Summative assessment: Scholars write a cited research paper essay and create a project based on a choice board that includes options like poster, 3D model, power point, ancient cook book, and skit.  Scholars present their projects to the class.

Key Concepts: Change, Causation, Connection

Subject Focus: Social Studies, Reading, Writing, Dance, Visual Arts

Learner Profile Traits: Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Communicators

ATL Skills: Listening (Communication Skill), Presenting (Communication Skill), Accepting Responsibility (Social Skill), Cooperating (Social Skill), Collecting Data (Research Skill), Organizing Data (Research Skill)

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Original people used agriculture to become civilizations.
  • Ancient civilizations gave birth to cultural expression.
  • Archeology uses science to inform us of our history and ancient ways of life.
  • Cultural Expressions vary and evolve over time.

Inquiry Unit Theme Two: Where we are in place and time

Central Idea: People are influenced by the cross culture relationships formed by exploration and exploitation.

Sample Inquiry question asked by scholar: I wonder how the Columbian Exchange can be seen as overall good for the world?

Summative assessment: Scholars write an evidence based argumentative essay about a debatable explorer or related event in history.

Key Concepts: Change, Causation, Perspective

Subject Focus: Social Studies, Reading, Writing, Debate

Learner Profile Traits: Risk-taker, Open-minded, Caring

ATL Skills: Writing (Communication Skill), Dialectical Thought (Thinking Skill) Analysis (Thinking Skill), Collecting Data (Research Skill), Interpreting Data (Research Skill)

Lines of Inquiry:

  • The positive and negative results of exploration.
  • Human relationships with animals and plants change with discovery and trading.
  • There are less diversity of species and less diversity of human culture because of globalization.

Inquiry Unit Theme Three: How the world works

Central Idea: Alternate approaches to energy can address the needs of the world’s growing population.  

Sample Inquiry question asked by scholar: I wonder how wind energy is a better form of energy than fossil fuels?

Summative assessment: Scholars write an informational or argumentative essay describing their form of energy and its advantages and disadvantages. Scholars then choose a creative option from a choice board such as a 3D model or poster to be presented to the class.

Key Concepts: Connection, Function, Causation

Subject Focus: Science, Reading, Writing

Learner Profile Traits: Knowledgeable, Inquirer, Communicator

ATL Skills: Synthesis (Thinking Skill), Resolving Conflict (Social Skill), Presenting (Communication Skill), Cooperation (Social Skill)

Lines of Inquiry:

  • There are different types of energy and energy transfers.
  • Fossil fuels impact our planet.
  • An argument can be made for alternative forms of energy.
  • Advocacy can shape decisions about environmental policies.

Inquiry Unit Theme Four: Who we are

Central Idea: People have advocated for our rights and responsibilities.

Sample Inquiry question asked by scholar: TBD

Summative assessment: TBD

Key Concepts: Change, Function, Responsibility

Subject Focus: Social Studies, Reading, Writing

Learner Profile Traits: Knowledgeable, Inquirer, Communicator

ATL Skills: TBD

Lines of Inquiry:

  • There are people who we recognize as leaders for earning us more rights.
  • We have a responsibility to know our rights and those who fought for them.
  • Rights and responsibilities develop and change depending on where and what time period you live.

Inquiry Unit Theme Five: How we organize ourselves

Central Idea: Global trading leads to economic growth that impacts communities.

Sample Inquiry question asked by scholar: TBD

Summative assessment: TBD

Key Concepts: Connection, Causation, Form

Subject Focus: Math, Reading, Writing

Learner Profile Traits: Thinker, Knowledgeable, Risk Taker

ATL Skills: TBD

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Economics often drive decision-making.
  • Strategies can be used to start a new company.  
  • Successful companies study consumer trends, supply and demand factors, and take calculated risks to expand or go public.  
  • The stock market has a structure that allows for stock to be traded for profit.

Inquiry Unit Theme Six: Sharing the planet

Central Idea: Finding peaceful solutions to conflict leads to a better quality of human life.

Sample Inquiry question asked by scholar: TBD

Summative assessment: TBD

Key Concepts: Causation, Perspective, Responsibility

Subject Focus: Social Studies, Reading, Writing

Learner Profile Traits: Thinker, Open-Minded, Caring   

ATL Skills: TBD

Lines of Inquiry:

  • There are causes that start conflicts.
  • Conflicts can be resolved and managed.
  • Strategies and structures support people to live and work peacefully together.