Grade 5

11 and 12 Year Olds

Our oldest students are on the threshold of a significant new stage of development- adolescence. Dramatic physical changes reflect major shifts in cognitive, social and emotional development. The intellect is awakened, demonstrated by the individual’s emerging ability to engage in more complex thinking processes involving symbolic ideas and abstract concepts. Children exercise newfound abilities as they begin to reason, consider diverse perspectives, and imagine a multitude of possibilities. Individuals approaching adolescence have a need to understand and engage in the ‘real world.’


The Class Teacher conducts classes in Language Arts, History and Science.  Subject teachers teach Math, Foreign Language, Music and PE units. When possible, these studies are integrated with art, project-based learning, and writing. For instance, the 5/6th grade study of the Age of Discovery complements their science study of Water. As they travel with early explorers, circumnavigating the globe and mapping the known world, they discover new cultures and learn about intercultural trade and exchange. At the same time, 5/6 graders explore their own world, investigating Nantucket's harbor, fishery and wetlands, learning about the water cycle, and discovering the ecological importance of clean water. Lighthouse Middle School students visit the Rugged Road campus to join younger students for Reading Buddies and All School Meetings as well as special events.


Experiential and project-based studies exercise ‘real life’ problem solving abilities and provide meaningful contexts for the acquisition of new concepts and skills. For the socially oriented pre-adolescent, cooperative and interactive learning supports academic instruction and cultivates a sense of community. A pre-adolescent is defining, testing, and transforming his/her perception of self and seeks to be understood and valued by others. They challenge assumptions and values they once adopted without question.  Our program honors this vital process, providing new intellectual challenges while supporting the emotional and social challenges inherent to growing up.


School Day: 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. with the option of Extended Day through 5:10 p.m. Middle School students are encouraged to join the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club for after school options such as Homework Club and sports.

Language Arts

‘Reading to learn’; reading fiction and non-fiction- individually and in small interest-based groups; reading with expression and comprehension; identifying plot, theme, and characterization; creative and expository writing; writing poetry; learning parts of speech; studying Norse mythology; biography; using cursive in daily work; editing and drafting/revision process; writing reports- researching and organizing information; spelling; presenting scripted plays; developing Spanish speaking skills.

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Mastering and applying basic facts; re-grouping; solving multistep problems; rounding and estimating; working with basic fractions; performing multiplication and division; identifying appropriate arithmetic function to solve word problems; mapping- using scale; making change; measuring length, height, weight, volume and time; gathering, interpreting and comparing data.

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Social Studies

Understanding a people far away and nearby; Freedom and Equality (Slavery/Harriet Tubman, Civil Rights/ M.L. King, Jr.) and on alternate years, A Different Culture utilizing historical fiction and non-fiction along with pertinent projects, writing tasks, field trips and end-of-year presentation; researching and report writing; mapping- local geography, writing directions, treasure/scavenger hunts.

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Investigating animals and plants and the concept of a habitat; experimenting with magnets- energy and direction; recording observation of Nature through word and image; gardening-vegetables and herbs; composting and recycling.

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Physical Education

Nature hikes; playing indoors and out; exercising gross motor skills through running, jumping, hopping, climbing, balancing; developing fine motor skills through  craft work, painting and drawing activities