Grade 5


Grade 5 is a bridge year at Barstow as students build skills that prepare them for success in middle school— independence, self-sufficiency and responsibility. Not only do they learn to manage at least eight teachers and subjects, they also manage their own materials, homework and time. They apply what they learn in one subject to another, using language skills to learn math vocabulary, and math skills to master science concepts. They even apply lessons from American history in music class!  
Learning about great leaders and developing leadership qualities is a key component of grade 5. Through service projects, volunteer opportunities and an annual trip to Washington D.C., students develop an deeper undertanding of what it means to be a good citizen. 

Grade 5 Curriculum

List of 4 items.

  • Language Arts

    Barstow teachers help each student become a passionate, habitual and critical reader. By the time Barstow students enter fifth grade, they have experienced Writer’s Workshop for five years. They understand mechanics and voice. They can develop a topic sentence and support it with points of proof. So in fifth grade, they begin to delve into a more personal relationship with their writing. They move from structured writers to authors. They pen their own children’s books, conducting surveys and interviews with young readers to determine their book topics. They write thesis drive essays submitting them to the essay contest sponsored by the Daughter’s of the American Revolution. Barstow 5th graders consistently win top honors in this essay contest.

    In Reader’s Workshop student engage in literary analysis, leading class book discussions, and in-depth author studies. Students read similar genres but at each individual student’s reading level, often at a high school level, to ensure they are engaged and challenged.
  • Mathematics

    In mathematics, Barstow employs a flipped classroom to allow students the independence of learning, while also utilizing classroom time for questions and guidance. Focusing on concepts of decimals, fractions, percentages, in-depth word problems and pre-algebra, students analyze problems to first define the problem and then solve it. They are able to synthesize information across contents areas, such as decimals to fractions and understand how those concepts related to each other. This deep understanding provides a strong foundation for algebraic thinking. When students finish fifth grade math at Barstow, they finish the equivalent of what their 6th grade peers in public schools have learned. Barstow sponsors a math club, where 2/3 of students in the grade level choose to participate. During these weekly morning meetings students practice and prepare for math competitions.
  • Science

    Building on the inventive skills Barstow students develop in fourth grade, fifth graders give form and structure to their own curiosity. They build bridges, including design, structural integrity evaluation, budgeting, and economic concepts of supply and demand in materials acquisition. Implementing the process of scientific inquiry, students design and conduct their own individual science experiments, presenting the results at Barstow’s science fair.  
    Students gain an understanding of how Newton’s Laws of Physics impact their daily lives. They learn to observe, infer and predict by continually analyzing their world. Students use real-life examples when analyzing the physics behind extreme sports.
  • Social Studies

    The Barstow social studies curriculum develops the student citizen, helping our students understand the world around them and their ability to affect change. During the fifth grade study of leadership development, students learn about leaders in all area of society. They understand how good leaders share, inspire, compromise, and assert  themselves through civil discourse. They also assume leadership roles throughout the Lower School putting into action their role as student citizens.  

    Applying their leadership and student citizen knowledge and skills, fifth graders visit Washington D.C. for a week-long trip to better understand the structure and function of government.

    Upon their return, they create and participate in Barstow City as part of the economics curriculum. During this entrepreneurial exchange, students create their own businesses and marketing plans and use currency earned during the school year to buy and sell products.  


Tabletops are sticky with Pop Rocks, soda and salt. Plastic bottles flip and fall noisily to the floor. And an odor of vinegar permeates the air. Welcome to the world of grade 5 scientists at work.
Science fair season at Barstow inspires curiousity, creativity and independence in grade 5 students. They do all the work at school—from concept, to conducting experiments to compiling results. After seeing video of what happened when Mentos combined with Diet Coke, Pierce Farinelli decided to test what would happen to balloons filled with other liquids and solids.

"I always wondered, 'What if?' Now I get to find out," Farinelli said.

Many students go on to compete in the Greater Kansas City Science Fair in March. From start to finish, the science fair is one of the most memorable experiences in lower school.
“When I read about science, I learn,” said Daniel John. “But with a hands-on experiment that I get to figure out on my own, I see how things happen and I really get it.”



In grade 5, students develop leadership skills for life. Opportunities include:
Morning Greeters 
Students welcome classmates, parents and visitors to Barstow each morning.
Friday Forum Friends 
Students sit with younger students during Friday presentations to model audience participation and excitement.
Pep Assembly Recognition
During pep assemblies for kindergarten–grade 12, grade 5 students are recognized for their leadership roles.
Playground Pals 
Students model playground teamwork, safety and sportsmanship.
Class Buddies 
Students build relationships with students in other grade levels throughout the year.
Student Ambassadors 
Students will act as hosts during admissions open houses, lower school performances and other special events.


One of the highlights of grade 5—the culmination of a year-long, cross-curricular study of American history, government and leadership—is a visit to Washington D.C.

Lessons about the nation's founding, democracy and leaders come to life as students tour monuments and Colonial Williamsburg. At the Smithsonian Museums, they see how math and science are the foundation of innovation and advancement. They even apply information from a nutrition unit to making healthy eating choices. Students return with a deeper understanding of government, and citizenship. 

Wreath Laying at Arlington National Cemetery


List of 4 items.

  • Wildwood Outdoor Education Center

    Students experience innovative and high-quality outdoor education with three objectives: overcoming challenges, applying science and building community. 
  • Barstow Exchange City

    Each spring, students create Barstow Exchange City, a community based on classroom curriculum. They apply mathematics, language arts, social studies, economics and technology to conduct business and participate in civic and government activities. 
  • Harvesters

    Harvesters’ mission is to feed hungry people today and work to end hunger tomorrow. Students volunteer at the regional food bank, conduct food drives and pack nutritious lunches for children that Harvesters serves. 
  • Grandparent Day

    Students enjoy hosting grandparents and special friends for an annual music program, followed by classroom visits and activities. 

Daily Schedule

7:00 - Extended care available
8:15 - Writing/Reading
9:45 - Math/Enrichment
10:30 - Special Classes
11:15 - Physical Education
11:55 - Lunch/Recess
12:30 - Math/Enrichment
1:15 - Science/History
2:50 - Study Hall
3:00 - Dismissal 
3-6:00 - Extended care available

*Special Classes:
Music, guitar, art, STEAM, Spanish and Chinese

For more information on applying and admissions:

Visit our Admission's web pages for admission's requirements, information and important dates.

The Barstow School

11511 State Line Road • Kansas City, MO 64114
P (816) 942-3255 • F (816) 942-3227