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What Will My Child Learn in Grade 5 and 6 Curriculum?

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is a group that shapes what children will learn each year. There are eight learning areas (or subjects) within this framework which strive to provide a modern and relevant curriculum for every child in Australia. The theory is that even if your child moved states their learning would never be disrupted – an even playing field for every student.

Children in grades 5 and 6 will be exploring the seven general capabilities as they prepare to learn, live and work in the 21st century. The intention of the curriculum is to develop successful learners, confident and creative individuals and the fostering of motivated, active and informed young people who are ready to take their place in society.

Students in year 5 will sit their second round of NAPLAN testing. Although these can often be a source of stress for parents and students, they are intended as a ‘snapshot’ that will inform curriculum planning and distribution of resources. They are not, and should not, be used as a negative judgement of either the student or the school. Some schools may do set preparation in the lead-up to these tests but others have it embedded in their curriculum.

Learning in Grade 5 and 6 in Queensland schools

It is compulsory that children aged between 6 years and 6 months to 16 years attend school in Queensland. Queensland schools implement the Australian Curriculum using proven teaching and assessment practices to focus on improving student achievement. State schools use Every student succeeding – State Schools Strategy 2014-2018 and you might also hear the acronym C2C (Curriculum to Classroom).

This refers to the provision of a central set of classroom and assessment materials which schools then adapt to meet the needs of their individual students. There is certainly flexibility for schools to provide vibrant, interesting and relevant content that will interest and appeal to your child.

As grade 6 is now the final year of primary school, be prepared for a workload shift as your school tries to prepare your child for the demands of high school. If you have any concerns about this transition period your first port of call should definitely be your child’s classroom teacher.

English in Grade 5 and 6

Students will continue to develop their understanding of textual structures and language features. They will be working to expand their vocabularies, increase their control over punctuation and grammar and to develop their spoken language skills.

Typically, a student will:

  • Encounter and decode unfamiliar words using a range of knowledge and processing strategies
  • Analyse, compare and explain literal and implied information
  • Describe how events, characters and settings are depicted
  • Listen in order to discuss, challenge and ask questions for clarification
  • Creative imaginative, informative and persuasive texts for a variety of audiences
  • Develop their multimodal presentation skills
  • Develop their editing and proof-reading skills

Mathematics in Grade 5 and 6 Curriculum

Grade 5 and 6 maths will look to ensure that your child is capable of grappling the more complex mathematical problems expected of them in high school. This will see them looking to find meaning in everyday contexts by using the tools they have gathered in previous years.

Typically, a student will:

  • Recognise the properties of prime, composite, square and triangular numbers
  • Be able to describe and use integers in a variety of contexts
  • Solve problems using all four operations
  • Connect understanding of fractions, decimals and percentages to representations of numbers
  • Make connections between the powers of 10 and the multiplication and division of decimals
  • Use the metric system with confidence
  • Make connections between capacity and volume, length and area
  • Solve problems involving angles

Health and Physical Education in Grade 5 and 6

Students will have spent their final primary years investigating developmental changes and transitions and the influence of people and places on identities. They will have worked their way through the influence that emotion can play on behaviour and look at how and why people interact with each other.

Typically, a student will:

  • Be able to describe contributions to health, physical activity, safety and wellbeing
  • Be able to describe the key features of health-related fitness and the significance of physical activity in terms of health and wellbeing
  • Demonstrate ‘fair play’ and collaborative skills
  • Access and interpret health information
  • Apply decision-making and problem-solving skills to enhance their own and others’ health, safety and wellbeing
  • Perform specialised movement skills and sequences to achieve outcomes and overcome challenges

Humanities and Social Sciences in Grade 5 and 6 Curriculum?

Your child will have spent a considerable amount of time learning about communities and culture both past and present. They will have looked at causes and effects of change on society as well as the diverse characteristics of different places.

Typically, a student will:

  • Connect their understanding of people, places, communities and environments on a global scale
  • Explain the importance of people, institutions and processes in terms of Australia’s political and legal system
  • Be informed about consumer and financial decision-making processes
  • Develop questions to frame investigations
  • Locate and collect useful data to then interpret to find patterns and trends
  • Organise and represent data across a range of formats (like maps and graphs)
  • Analyse, interpret, discuss and evaluate

Science in Grade 5 and 6

Students in grade 5 and 6 will be spending a lot of time comparing and classifying in order to develop hypotheses which they can then test.

Typically, a student will:

  • Compare and classify observable changes to materials
  • Analyse the transfer of electricity
  • Learn how natural events can cause rapid change to the Earth’s surface
  • Describe and predict how environmental changes will impact living things
  • Use scientific knowledge to solve problems and inform decisions
  • Use and create multimodal text to communicate ideas, methods and findings

The Arts in Grade 5 and 6

Through various art forms, students (independently or in groups) participate to express and reflect their growing understanding of the world. They further their learning of arts technical skills.

Typically, students will:

  • In Dance, explore movement and choreographic devices using the elements of dance to communicate meaning
  • In Drama, explore dramatic action, empathy and space in improvisation, playbuilding and scripted drama to develop characters and situations
  • In Music, explore dynamics and expression, using aural skills to identify and perform rhythm and pitch patterns
  • In Media Arts, explore representations, characterisations and points of view of people in their community, including themselves
  • In Visual Arts, explore ideas and practices used by artists, including the practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, to represent different views, beliefs and opinions

Technologies in Grade 5 and 6

Through exploration, design and problem-solving, students learn how digital and other technologies work and how to create solutions with technologies.

Typically, students will:

In Design and Technologies

  • Examine how people in design and technologies occupations address competing considerations, including sustainability in the design of products, services and environments
  • Develop project plans that include consideration of resources

In Digital Technologies

  • Examine the main components of common digital systems and how they may connect together to form networks to transmit data
  • Implement digital solutions as simple visual programs involving branching, repetition and user input

Languages in Grade 5 and 6

Students may have an opportunity to learn a language other than English.

Typically, when learning the language, students will:

  • Use words and phrases to respond to instructions, participated in shared learning experiences and write simple and complex texts
  • Read phrases and sentences that have familiar and unfamiliar vocabulary
  • Gain insights into other cultures and ways of relating to the world
  • Undertake oral and aural assessment
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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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