# Getting the most out of 5th grade

Based on Common Core Standards
Written by Brian Galvin, MEd Chief Academic Officer

#### Key Takeaways

These are the most critical skills a 5th grader should master before entering 6th grade:

Math:
1. Geometry
2. Fractions
3. Measurement
4. Number Operations

English Language Arts:
1. Accurately Quote References From Text To Support a Position
2. Compare and Contrast Texts
3. Vocabulary in Context

Find out which 5th grade skills your student needs to work on by taking our learning assessments:

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## Critical Skills for Math

Geometry
5th grade marks an important year of growth in geometric ability. Before moving on to 6th grade, students should be able to graph points on a coordinate plane, classify and organize two-dimensional figures into categories based on their properties, find the volume of rectangular prisms and cubes, and form ordered pairs based on patterns in data to graph on the coordinate plane. When students enter 6th grade they will be introduced to decomposing two-dimensional shapes to find an area, working with volume and surface area equations, and using four-quadrant coordinate planes to graph word problems. A firm grasp on the 5th-grade geometry content will help students prepare for the more complex work in middle school.

Fractions
Students in 5th grade will build upon their foundational fraction skills to expand their math toolbox. Students leaving 5th grade should be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions with different denominators; produce and recognize equivalent fractions; solve multi-step real-world problems using fractions and integers; and use visual models to represent fractions. In the 6th grade, students will be asked to solve Pre-Algebra equations involving fractions, translate fractional relationships into understanding ratios and proportional relationships, and convert between fractions and percentages. A strong understanding of fractions will set students up for success in 6th grade.

Measurement
5th grade is an important year for students to enhance their measurement skills. Building on their capability to measure and estimate, 5th graders should be able to convert between standard and metric measurement units (e.g. feet and meters) and between measures of time (e.g. hours to seconds) - and do so in multi-step word problems. They should be able to express this information graphically onto line plots. It is important that students learn the steps to convert measurement units proficiently for the complex work ahead in middle school. In 6th grade, the topics of geometry and measurement will begin to merge, as students combine these skills to find the area of special quadrilaterals, draw geometric figures with precise measurements, and display their data on dot plots, histograms, and box plots.

Number Operations
Students in 5th grade will build upon previous knowledge of numbers and operations to build a more complex skill set for 6th grade and beyond. Students should be able to explain patterns in the number of zeros when multiplying or dividing by a power of 10; use whole-number exponents to denote the powers of 10; read, write, name, compare, and round decimals to the thousandths place; and solve pre-algebraic expressions for a missing piece of data. Students will also be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole numbers and decimals in word problems, equations, or expressions. In the 6th grade, students will be introduced to inequalities, algebraic thinking, and the skills to analyze quantitative relationships between variables. These are complex problems that require fluency with numerical operations.

Our smart learning system can assess your student, identify their strengths and weaknesses in a subject, and recommend learning tools to help them improve their mastery.

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## Critical Skills for English Language Arts

Accurately Quote References From Text To Support a Position
By the end of 5th grade, students should be able to use accurate and relevant quotations from a text set to support their answer, point of view, or argument. Students should also be able to draw inferences from evidence within a text. In middle school, students will begin writing research papers and science lab reports so the skill of quoting accurately from a text will help them develop strong writing abilities and set the expectation that evidence-based writing is different from personal opinion.

Compare and Contrast Texts
An important component of 5th grade is the exposure to multiple texts that revolve around a similar theme, topic, event, idea, or concept. Students should be able to break apart related texts to determine how they are similar or different in structure, meaning, detail, and use information from the text set to support their explanations. In middle school, students will begin comparing and contrasting not only text but also audio or visual forms of the story to analyze what they envision while reading versus what they perceive when listening or watching. This level of synthesis builds heavily on the foundational compare-and-contrast skills built in 5th grade.

Vocabulary in Context
By the end of 5th grade, students should be able to decipher unknown words based on the context of the story. They should use cause/effect relationships and comparisons in the text to determine a vocabulary word, identify context clues that allude to the meaning, and leverage Greek and Latin roots, affixes, and prefixes to deconstruct complex words into known components. In 6th grade and beyond, students move from merely being able to understand a challenging word in context to being able to identify the author’s intent in using complex words and phrases, so the ability to intuit unknown definitions is quite important to a student’s development as a reader.