Elementary School Curriculum

The Primary Years Programme - PYP

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Grade Five

Programme of Inquiry:

Units of study, which meet the criteria of the International Baccalaureate Organization, have been developed for each grade level. Each unit is taught through a structured inquiry method and focuses on key concepts which are international and skill-based. Throughout each unit students have the opportunity to develop an action component in response to what they have learned. Whenever meaningfully possible, other curricular areas are integrated to support an in-depth exploration of the unit.

The units for Grade 5 are:


Central Idea: Different body systems work together to support our life processes.

Key Concepts: form, function, causation, connection, responsibility

Related Concepts: systems, growth, change,  balance interdependence, nutrition, well-being endurance, fitness, flexibility, power, speed, strength, nutrition

Lines of Inquiry:

  • how the respiratory cardiovascular and digestive systems function and their connection to other systems

  • the relationship between lifestyle (diet &exercise) and the health and function of the body systems

  • ways to keep our body in a healthy state



Central Idea:  Human motivation to explore and trade affects others. (primary focus is the Age of Discovery 1450-1650)

Key Concepts: causation, connection, perspective, responsibility

Related Concepts: discovery, technological advances, exploration, history, conflict, geography, inspiration, composition, icon, interdependence

Lines of Inquiry:

  • the motivations for exploration

  • the technology and tools that improved exploration

  • the challenges and perils faced by explorers

  • the effects of the exploration on the people and societies who came into contact



Central Idea: We experience changes as we grow and develop, and literature and music unite us in that shared experience.

Key Concepts: connection, causation, perspective

Related Concepts: change, growth, systems, conflict, independence, relationships, proportion, subject, choice

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Physical changes that occur during adolescence (puberty)

  • Emotions that emerge during adolescence

  • Social bonds and relationships that develop or change during adolescence

  • Expression of feelings through poetry and music

  • Planning and preparation of an OIS rite of passage, the Fifth grade Promotion Ceremony



Central Idea: The properties and behaviour of electricity influence how it is used.

Key Concepts: form, function, connection

Related Concepts: conduction, atomic structures, discovery, innovation, physics, power

Lines of Inquiry:

  • atomic structure

  • conductors and insulators

  • electrical currents in parallel and series circuits

  • resistance

  • electrical safety



Central Idea: The Market Economy is an organized system for exchanging goods and services from which not all participants benefit.

Key Concepts: causation, connection, change, perspective, responsibility

Related Concepts: consumption, distribution, poverty, wealth, geography, ownership, production, employment, roles, equity, democracy

Lines of Inquiry:

  • systems for exchanging goods and services

  • how supply and demand influence a market economy

  • inflation and deflation and their effects on a market economy

  • profit and how it is generated

  • how the market economy affects people in different ways



Related concepts: cooperation, communication


Language – Aims and Content

Oral Communication – Listening and Speaking

Children will show an awareness of the power of oral language. They will use speech responsibly to inform, entertain and influence others. They will be able to participate appropriately in complex discussions, conversations, class and group meetings, debates and group presentations.

Written Communication – Reading and Writing

Reading – the children will be taught using a balanced literary program including a variety of reading strategies and structures. This may include individual instruction, levelled and heterogeneous guided reading groups and literary response groups. There is an emphasis on reading to learn through literature-based instruction. Selected novels are the core reading materials for independent readers.

Writing – the children, through daily writing experiences will write fluently and effectively for a wide range of purposes. They will use the writing process confidently and with a growing independence. They will revise writing to clarify ideas and be able to edit and proofread their own writing. The children will continue to develop their understanding and use of the six writing traits in their writing. Students will continue to focus on formation of Zaner-Bloser script cursive letters. Letter size, proportion, form and legibility will be emphasized.


Oral Communication

  • listening – learning to listen to gain information and respond appropriately

  • speaking – using spoken language to communicate effectively; express feelings and state opinions

Written Communication

  • reading – learning about the structure of print and the meaning it conveys

  • writing – using writing to express ourselves meaningfully and creatively using rules and conventions of English

Visual Communication

  • learning to use, understand and construct different forms of visual images

  • experimenting with visual media and its influence on thinking and behaviour

Dramatic Communication

  • learning how to develop creativity, self-expression and empathy

  • participating in drama

Learning Outcomes

By the end of Grade 5 students are expected to:

Oral Communication: Speaking and Listening

  • participate in a class debate

  • evaluate own and others’ oral presentation in terms of tone, volume, intonation, and body language

  • listen to a sustained argument and identify supporting evidence

  • recognize strategies speakers use to influence an audience

Written Communication: Reading and Writing


  • read and appraise extended novels, poems and informational texts

  • identify and discuss figurative language such as simile, metaphor, idiom and personification


  • write paragraphs that contain a main idea and the elaboration of the main idea

  • recognize and use cause and effect relationships

  • use knowledge of word meanings as a spelling strategy

  • demonstrate an awareness of the limitations of spell checks in word processors

  • write cursive script fluently with appropriate size, slope and spacing

Visual Communication: Viewing and Presenting

  • use role-play to view a situation from the perspective of another person

Dramatic Communication

  • discuss features of scripted plays

  • write a script for short sketches


Teachers use a variety of resources and mathematics schemes in their planning and teaching. The emphasis is on learning mathematics through practical activities, discussion and application.

The aim of the programme is to help students to develop:

  • an understanding of the nature and the purpose of mathematics
  • skills in mathematical thinking with a supporting network of concepts, facts and techniques
  • confidence in using and applying mathematics
  • an appreciation for its challenges and satisfaction from solving mathematical problems
  • an awareness of the place of mathematics in solving the problems of everyday life


The mathematics curriculum is divided into five strands: Shape and Space, Data Handling, Measurement, Pattern and Function and Number.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of Grade 5 students are expected to:

The Mathematics objectives are under the curriculum review cycle. It is expected that the revised list of objectives will be posted by the end of the first trimester.