5th Grade Update


This year in science, we started off learning about chemical reactions. Students were posed with a question about if it was possible to turn an ordinary copper penny into gold, as alchemists long ago tried to use a magic potion to create gold. Students got to experiment with chemical reactions to see if it was possible. 

Through the unit, students used science and engineering practices to design and review various tests they could conduct. They even got to “explode” a plastic bag using the chemical reaction of baking soda and vinegar. After all their research and experimenting, they came to a conclusion that you could not create gold with a chemical reaction. The alchemists were tricking people into thinking they could—only they were coating the metal!

Outdoor Ed Day: 

Earlier this fall, fifth-grade students got to spend the day of outdoor ed inside due to poor weather conditions. Clay from Lee County Conservation came out to show native Iowa animals to our students. He showed live animals, skulls, furs, and even scatt samples. Breana from Lee County Extension also visited and shared insights about pollinators. They discussed how important they are and did a simulation showing the effects if we didn’t have pollinators. 

Students also got to test their knowledge of science vocabulary with a KAHOOT challenge. Even though the weather made us pivot, the students still had an enjoyable day full of learning! We hope to be able to visit Pollmiller Park this spring. 


Central Lee Elementary is working hard to incorporate the Daily 5-CAFE framework. After receiving some training in Schaumburg in the spring, the entire school has decided to make it a priority to implement the CAFE strategies into our weekly instruction. CAFE is an acronym for Comprehension-Accuracy-Fluency-Expand Vocabulary. We also reinforce the importance of reading by having students keep a reading log and read at home for 20 minutes a day, five days per week.

Social Studies:

In social studies, fifth graders have been learning about the early exploration and settlement of our country. They are seeing what a struggle it was for our first settlers. We will be doing various projects to reinforce the learning. Some will be hands-on and some will be research and projects on our iPads. The kids really enjoy that! As the year goes on, we will be studying the American Revolution, the Constitution, and the American Civil War. 

As teachers, we are working on some new learning, including the new standards set by the state for social studies. Many changes for our learning are ahead!


The Ready Math unit on whole number operations and applications has been completed. It included lessons on volume and multiplying/dividing multi-digit numbers. We used area models, partial products and quotients, and the standard algorithm. There is more than one way to work a problem! 

Our current unit is decimals and fractions. We have worked with powers of 10 and reading, writing, comparing, and rounding decimals. Now, we are working on adding and subtracting decimals and fractions. 

In addition to their text, students use i-Ready, the online portion of Ready Math, which gives them lessons at their individual level. This is automatically determined by their score on the i-Ready Diagnostic Assessment, given in the fall and again in January and the end of the school year. A monthly progress quiz is also taken that can advance the level on which students are working. Teachers can assign lessons to go along with skills being learned, as well as comprehension checks. Ask your student to log in at home and show you how they are doing!