5th Grade


Fifth grade is the culminating year in the Lower School, and as such, we have high expectations for our oldest scientists. By this point they are experienced observers and aware of the importance of asking questions about the world around them. Moreover, they are ready to assume greater responsibility for their own lives and for their role as advocates for a sustainable relationship between humans and the Earth.

In the fall, they are challenged by the question, “How can we, as 5th graders, help to address climate change in Rhode Island?” By the end of the unit they have taken what they have learned about the roots and mechanisms of global warming and applied them to a real-life solution of their own design. Sometimes that means writing a letter to the Governor or to the Director of Operations at Moses Brown with concrete suggestions for reducing fossil fuel use. Other times it means building a prototype to show what a building would accomplish if planted with green walls and a green roof. Whatever the means, they end up realizing that their voices, as citizens, have power.

Learning responsibility can be closer to home, too. In fifth grade science, Moses Brown students participate in small group discussions around topics such as healthy friendships, decision-making, gender identity, and the biology of puberty. They walk through scenarios in groups, gaining tools that will serve them well as they move on to the complicated years of Middle School. The year wraps up with an entertaining unit on the Chemistry of Matter which challenges them to consider scientific models that are highly abstract but foundational in importance. One day they might be figuring out why Ivory soap floats, another day might find them role-playing atoms coming together to form different compounds. By the end of the year, our lower school graduates are equipped with preparatory knowledge in scientific fields and a sense that science is meaningful and fun!



Elizabeth Grumbach

Lower School Science


Elizabeth Grumbach

Bowdoin College – B.A.
Columbia Unversity’s Teacher’s College – M.Ed.

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