Fifth Grade

At Aspen Country Day School, the Fifth Graders are part of the Lower School -- in fact, they are the leaders of the younger grades. We are the only school in the Roaring Fork Valley that extends its elementary program through the Fifth Grade, as we believe this is the most developmentally appropriate model for this age. 

Language Arts

Ramping up writing

Fifth Graders are in a transition year as they prepare for the independence expected in Middle School. Literature selections become more complex and students learn to not only identify, but also to interpret literary devices such as metaphor, simile, personification, foreshadowing, etc. Students in the Fifth Grade also develop their ability to distinguish among topic, main idea, and supporting evidence in nonfiction, which parallels their expository writing development. Increasingly, students are expected to apply their language arts skills to investigate topics of interest and deepen their understanding of both literature and non-fiction topics. See all Language Arts


Reinforcing the foundation

Fifth Graders continue to reinforce mathematical understanding and develop their ability to think more abstractly about mathematical concepts. Instructional time focuses on three critical areas: (1) developing fluency with addition and subtraction of fractions, and developing understanding of the multiplication of fractions and of division of fractions in limited cases (unit fractions divided by whole numbers and whole numbers divided by unit fractions); (2) extending division to 2-digit divisors, integrating decimal fractions into the place value system and developing understanding of operations with decimals to hundredths, and developing fluency with whole number and decimal operations; and (3) developing understanding of volume. See all Mathematics


Investigating resources

Fifth Grade Science students do an in-depth study of natural resources and spearhead the school’s recycling program throughout the year. They also learn to read and use topographic maps. They study our local landforms to develop their understanding of resource use, with a particular attention to the important Western issues of water and streambeds. Highlights of Fifth Grade Science include an deep dive into nutrition and weather, and an investigation of mechanical advantage through a study of levers and pulleys. See all Science

Social Studies

Exploration to civilization

Students study the beginning of human civilization in northern Asia and the crossing of the Bering Land Bridge, to the arrival and impact of European explorers on North and South America. Students explore the political, social, and economic structures of many Native American civilizations. Students also study the formation, functions, and structure of the United States Constitution, and what it means to be an American citizen. Students study the geography of the United States, and they learn how geography has shaped and influenced cultures and American civilization. See all Social Studies

World Language

True literature study Begins

Fifth Graders develop their ability to write sentences and paragraphs in French or Spanish. They complete projects to expand their knowledge of grammar, culture, and dialogues. They read quality literature and are expected to understand it well enough to discuss its meaning in English. Students become more familiar with present-tense verbs and are introduced to irregular verbs. See all World Language


Problem solving

Fifth Graders review the parts of a computer and how they interact, reviewing concepts of input and output and processing. They build on problem-solving skills and basic programming using RoboMind Academy and Students continue working on problem-solving and communications skills by working with Lego Robotics to build a robot and program it to perform simple tasks. Students use Tinkercad by AutoDesk to develop an understanding of 3-D design. They often spend time in Technology class preparing projects and presentations for other academic subjects. See all Technology


2D intensive: printmaking & painting

In this last year before the Middle School Electives courses begin, the Fifth Graders spend time solidifying their skills in two-dimensional artmaking. They explore printmaking and shape and contrast in a project involving the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday. They study color theory, line, and shape, improving their ability to draw from observation and use oil pastels. They mix colors and explore value in a larger-scale painting project. Students build props and make costumes for the All-School Play. See all Visual Arts


Musical workshop & more

Fifth Graders study performance and partner with the Fourth Graders in a musical workshop that involves extensive choreography and blocking. The workshop features opportunities for solos, duets, small-group, and student-led performance. Children also engage in a musical composition unit, finishing up with a performance to the Lower School. They explore instruments, ensemble playing, improvisation, and solo playing. See all Music


Leadership on stage

In this, the final year that students perform in the Lower School Shakespeare Festival, the Fifth Graders tackle something ambitious: Julius Caesar. This complex play, with its themes of political intrigue, morality, and loyalty, sparks many fascinating discussions among the students. The performance is a capstone to the Lower School Drama program. Students also engage in a variety of activities and games to improve focus and concentration. They learn about improvisation and help create their scene for the All-School Play. See all Drama

Physical Education


Fifth Grade students continue to refine skills in traditional team sports: volleyball, basketball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, handball, and hockey, with a focus on development of strategy and fair play. Fifth Graders range over our campus on mountain bikes and telemark skis as they prepare for their outdoor education trips. The school ski afternoons are a highlight for Fifth Graders, as they may have the option to ski at Highlands. See all PE

Outdoor Education

Ever-Deepening skills

Fifth Grade students spend three days in Fruita, Colorado refining their mountain biking skills on more advanced trails.  Students continue to develop their camping skills and their comfort in the outdoors. They also embark on a challenging hut trip to a backcountry hut, Vance’s Cabin. Students ski in along the trail with their own backpacks, and many help pull the sled with the group’s gear. They develop their understanding of the dynamics of snow and the snowpack, so they can become responsible backcountry skiers in the years to come. On this trip, they participate in their first nighttime ski. See all Outdoor Ed

Projects & traditions

READY for Middle School

Leadership is a major theme of the Fifth Grade year. The students take seriously their job as role models for the Lower School, and they throw themselves enthusiastically into their various projects, including the recycling program. They are developing more independence in their academic responsibilities and learning more about how to advocate for themselves with teachers and peers.

Aspen Country Day School
85 Country Day Way Aspen, Colorado 81611
Phone: 970.925.1909
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