In the Fifth Grade Civil Rights unit, we begin with Black people's experiences during segregation and study numerous events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott, School Integration, Sit-ins, Freedom Rides, the Children's Crusade, and Freedom Summer. We conclude with the Selma Movement and voting rights of the past and present. Our focus is on the triumphs of the Movement and the courage of both the leaders and the “ordinary” people who became involved.
We read the book Freedom's Children, which provides firsthand accounts about life in the South under Jim Crow laws. The book focuses on the young people who engaged in brave acts of resistance. In parallel, students are reading and responding to the book This Book is Anti-Racist to dive deeper into our identity and biases. After our studies, each student will create a children's book on a specific event or person.
In science, fifth graders are concluding their study of Living Systems. Students studied ecosystems and food chains and webs found in the redwood forest. They used the scientific method to design experiments to prove photosynthesis and that plants use xylem to transport water into the leaves and phloem to distribute food out to the cells. After reading and studying the link between the food web and human nutrition, students created a poster to teach human digestion and how cells in the body get the food, water, and oxygen needed. As a final project, students researched, designed and presented a healthy menu including what nutrients these food choices provided.