5th Grade Social Studies Lesson Plans

Time4Learning is an online student-paced learning system covering preschool through middle school. It is popular as a fifth grade homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment, for remediation, and for summer study.

The lesson plans below provide a detailed list of the fifth grade social studies curriculum, with brief activity descriptions and learning activity (LA) numbers. Additional resources related to fifth grade social studies are also provided, below.

Students enrolled in fifth grade social studies will have access to both fourth and sixth grade social studies lessons as part of their membership, so they can move ahead or review at their own pace.

If you are just learning about Time4Learning, we’d suggest first looking at our interactive lesson demos. Members often use this page as a resource for more detailed planning, to choose specific activities using the activity finder or to compare our curriculum with state standards.

Social Studies Lesson Plan – 5th Grade Curriculum

Total Number of Activities: 431

Locate the Olmec civilization on a world map, and identify it as the first civilization in North and Central America.
Identify the use of rafts and canoes as the main means of travel; identify pile-dwellings and palisades as the main means of construction; and identify the importance of maize cultivation to the Olmec civilization. The learner will describe the major characteristics and contributions of the Olmec civilization (1200 – 400 BC). Locate the Olmec civilization on a world map, and identify it as the first civilization in North and Central America.
Explain the roles of art and religion in the culture of the Olmec civilization.
Describe the Olmecs’ writing system, counting system, and calendar.

Chapter Test: Olmec 1200-400 BC

Locate Phoenicia on a world map, and explain the role of city-states. Identify Sidon and Tyre as the cities that alternately dominated the region. (The learner will describe the major characteristics and contributions of the Phoenicians).
Explain how trade with Egypt influenced the Phoenician culture in terms of clothing and the use of hieroglyphics. (The learner will describe the major characteristics and contributions of the Phoenicians). Locate Phoenicia on a world map, and explain the role of city-states. Identify Sidon and Tyre as the cities that alternately dominated the region. (The learner will describe the major characteristics and conributions of the Phoenicians).
Trace the Phoenician trade routes throughout the Mediterranean and the Near East, and describe the development of Carthage, Byblos, and other major port cities. (The learner will describe the major characteristics and contributions of the Phoenicians). Explain how trade with Egypt influenced the Phoenician culture in terms of clothing and the use of hieroglyphics. (The learner will describe the major characteristics and contributions of the Phoenicians).
Describe the locally manufactured glassware, embroideries, metal articles, and cloth colored with Tyrian purple dye that were traded by the Phonecians. (The learner will describe the major characteristics and contributions of the Phoenicians).
Identify the Phoenicians as the world’s greatest seagoing traders at the time. Explain the possibility that Phoenician sailors traveled around Africa to Britain using the North Star as a means of navigation. (The learner will describe the major characteristics and contributions of the Phoenicians).
Describe the Phoenician invention of the phonetic alphabet, and explain how it is the basis for our modern alphabet. (The learner will describe the major characteristics and contributions of the Phoenicians).

Chapter Test: Phoenicians

Define ”dynasty.” Identify the Shang as ancient China’s first dynasty, and locate the region of the dynasty on a world map.
Identify the Shang dynasty as a period of great innovation. Describe the use of bronze, the creation of silk textiles, and the use of a sophisticated writing system as some of these innovations.
Explain the roles of art and religion in the culture of the Shang dynasty. Describe yin and yang.
Identify the Zhou warriors as the group who took power from the Shang to become the next ruling dynasty in ancient China.
Explain the feudal society established by the Zhou emperors.
Describe the period known as China’s Golden Age.
Identify Confucius as the founder of Confucianism, and explain some of his teachings.
Identify Lao-tzu as the legendary founder of Daoism, and explain some of his teachings.

Chapter Test: Shang/Zhou Dynasty 1027-256BC

Locate the Nubian kingdom on a world map. Identify the different cities that acted as centers of the kingdom throughout its existence, including Kerma, Napata, and Meroë.
Explain the conflicts between Egypt and Nubia and the struggle for power in this region.
Compare the similarities of the culture of Nubia to the culture of Egypt, including the building of pyramids, the use of written language, and the practice of mummification.
Describe the culture of Nubia once it was free from Egyptian influence, including new styles of art and architecture, development of a new language and system of writing, and worshiping of new gods.
Describe the natural resources of Nubia, including timber and iron ore, and the roles these resources played in establishing Meroë as a trade center.

Chapter Test: Nubian Kingdom 1000BC

Locate the ancient Greek civilization on a world map, and explain the role of city-states. Identify Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Corinth as major city-states of the region.
Define ”tyrants” and their role in running the city-states. Explain how the tyrants were driven out of power, introducing the new system of government called democracy.
Describe the new system of democracy and the rights of the citizens. Explain how this idea would impact future governments throughout the world.
Locate Mount Olympus and describe the roles of the following gods and goddesses: Aphrodite, Hermes, Poseidon, Zeus, Apollo.
Describe the roles of the following gods and goddesses: Ares, Athena, Artemis, Demeter.
Describe the Greek alphabet and understand that it was built upon Phoenician characters. Describe the process of writing on a wax-covered tablet with a stylus.
Describe the contributions of the following Greek scholars: Pythagoras, Hippocrates.
Describe the contributions of the following Greek scholars: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle.
Explain the roles of art, architecture, and music in developing the culture of the ancient Greek civilization.
Explain the roles of art, architecture, and music in developing the culture of the ancient Greek civilization.
Explain the roles of athletics, drama, and literature in developing the culture of the ancient Greek civilization.

Chapter Test: What’s Cooking?

Describe the life of Thomas Jefferson in terms of his presidency and his hobbies.
Describe the importance of the Louisiana Purchase and the roles of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and Napoleon Bonaparte.
Describe the exploration of the new territory of Louisiana and the roles of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacajawea.
Describe the expedition of Zebulon Pike.
Describe the presidency of James Madison and the role of Dolley Madison.
Identify the events leading to the War of 1812 and the roles of William Henry Harrison and Tecumseh. Describe the importance of British impressment of American sailors and the Battle of Tippecanoe.
Describe the War of 1812 and the battles of Lake Erie and New Orleans. Know about the British burning of the White House and Capitol, and the circumstances surrounding the writing of The Star-Spangled Banner.
Lesson DeDescribe the presidency of James Monroe, the Era of Good Feelings, and the Monroe Doctrine.Orleans.
Explain the Missouri Compromise and how the expansion of slavery into the newly acquired United States territory threatened national unity.
Describe the presidency of Andrew Jackson and the importance of the Indian Removal Act, the Trail of Tears, and the Seminole Wars.

Chapter Test: U.S. Politics 1801-1840

Describe the meaning of ”Manifest Destiny” and the role of John O’Sullivan.
Describe the role of ”mountain men” and fur traders in the expansion of the West and their relations with the Native Americans. Identify Kit Carson.
Describe the means of travel available to pioneers heading west, including the steamboat, wagon trains, and flatboats.
Trace the land route west opened by William Becknell that became known as the Santa Fe Trail.
Describe the people and events leading to the Texas War for Independence, including the early settlement of Texas and the roles of Stephen Austin and Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
Describe the people and events of the Battle of the Alamo, including Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and Susanna Dickerson.
Describe the outcome of the Texas War for Independence and the roles of Sam Houston and Santa Anna. Identify the Lone Star Republic and explain the request for annexation.
Trace the route of the Oregon Trail and describe life on the trail.
Explain the Missouri Compromise and how the expansion of slavery into the newly acquired United States territory threatened national unity.
Identify the reasons that the Mormons (Latter-day Saints) traveled west to Utah and the roles of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
Describe the events leading to the Mexican-American War.
Describe the outcome of the Mexican-American War and the roles of General Zachary Taylor and Santa Anna. Identify the Mexican lands ceded to America, and explain the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
Describe how the discovery of gold changed California.

Chapter Test: U.S. History 1820-1850

Describe Charles Goodyear’s invention of rubber and how it helped lead to economic growth in the Northeast.
Describe Elias Howe’s invention of the sewing machine and how it helped lead to economic growth in the Northeast.
Describe Samuel Morse’s invention of the telegraph and how it helped lead to economic growth in the Northeast.
Identify the role of whaling, trade, and clipper ships in the economic growth of the Northeast.
Identify the role of industry and factories in the economy of the Northeast.
Identify agriculture and Cyrus McCormick’s invention of the reaper as major contributors to the Midwest economy.
Describe the importance of railroads as a link from the Midwest to the North.
Trace the route of the Oregon Trail and describe life on the trail.
Identify cotton-growing as the major economic activity of the South and the importance of exportation, plantations, and slave labor.
Describe living conditions of enslaved African Americans, the importance of Nat Turner’s Revolt, and slave codes.
Identify the problems faced by free African Americans.
Describe how the movement to end slavery gained strength in the mid-1800’s. Define abolition and describe the American Anti-Slavery Society.
Identify Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth as abolitionists and African American leaders.
Describe the role of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in the anti-slavery movement.
Describe the struggle for women’s rights in the mid-1800s and the importance of the Seneca Falls Convention.
Describe Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s, Lucretia Mott’s, and Amelia Bloomer’s contributions to women’s rights.
Describe Elizabeth Blackwell’s and Susan B. Anthony’s contributions to women’s rights.
Describe the temperance movement and the role of reformers in the mid-1800s.
Describe the contributions of Horace Mann and Dorothea Dix.

Chapter Test: U.S. Economy in the mid-1800s

Summarize the Compromise of 1850 and the roles of Henry Clay, John Calhoun, William Seward, Daniel Webster, President Taylor, and President Fillmore. Define popular sovereignty and the Fugitive Slave Law.
Describe how Harriet Beecher Stowe and ”Uncle Tom’s Cabin” affected the slavery debate.
Describe how the Dred Scott decision kept the issue of slavery alive, the importance of the newly formed Republican party, and the Lincoln-Douglas debates for the Illinois senate seat.
Describe the raid at Harpers Ferry and the roles of John Brown and Robert E. Lee. Summarize the presidential election of 1860 and the roles of Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Douglass, John Breckinridge, and John Bell.
Explain the events that led to the outbreak of the Civil War, including the southern states’ secession from the Union, the formation of the Confederate States of America, and the attack at Fort Sumter. Describe the roles of Jefferson Davis, President Lincoln, and Major Robert Anderson.

Chapter Test: Leading to the American Civil War

Identify the states and territories that made up the Union and the Confederacy. Identify the terms: Yankees, Rebels, the Blue and the Gray.
Explain the advantages and disadvantages each side had as the Civil War began.
Describe the first Battle of Bull Run, and identify Stonewall Jackson.
Describe the battle at sea including the roles of ”ironclad” warships, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia.
Describe the fight for control of the Mississippi River and the Battle of Shiloh, including the roles of Ulysses S. Grant and Captain David Farragut.
Describe the Union’s campaign to seize Richmond and the Second Battle of Bull Run, including the roles of George McClellan and Robert E. Lee.
Describe the Battle of Antietam.
Describe the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Explain the role of African Americans in the Civil War.
Explain the role of women in the Civil War.
Explain why the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg were turning points in the Civil War.
Describe the Gettysburg Address and its impact on American history.
Describe General William Sherman’s march to the sea and the burning of Atlanta.
Describe the events that led to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.
Describe the costs of the Civil War.

Chapter Test: The American Civil War

Describe the death of President Abraham Lincoln and the presidency of Andrew Johnson.
Describe President Johnson’s plan for Reconstruction and the importance of the Freedmen’s Bureau, Radical Republicans, and the attempted impeachment of Johnson.
Describe the new groups of voters in the South and how Congress protected them. Define the terms: freedmen, scalawags, carpetbaggers.
Explain the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
Identify white supremacy groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, and the enactment of the Black Codes.
Describe the end of the Reconstruction period and the Compromise of 1877.

Chapter Test: Reconstruction 1865-1877

Locate on a United States map the 50 states and their capitals.
Locate on a map the major cities of the United States.
Identify the regions of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South, and describe their characteristics.
Identify the regions of the Midwest and the Great Plains, and describe their characteristics.
Identify the regions of the West, the Southwest, and the Pacific Northwest, and describe their characteristics.
Locate on a United States map the following major rivers: James, Hudson, St. Lawrence.
Locate on a United States map the following major rivers: Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio.
Locate on a United States map the following major rivers: Columbia, Rio Grande.
Identify the Continental Divide and describe the flow of rivers: east of the Rockies, to the Arctic or Atlantic Oceans, west of the Rockies, to the Pacific Ocean.
Identify the time zones of the United States.

Chapter Test: Geography of the United States

Know that there are different time zones throughout the world.
Locate on a world map the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Describe the relationship of these lines to seasons and temperatures.
Describe the following climate zones of the world: arctic, tropic, temperate.
Identify the following regions of the world and describe their characteristics: polar regions, mountains.
Identify the following regions of the world and describe their characteristics: islands, rain forests.
Identify the following regions of the world and describe their characteristics: forests, deserts, grasslands.
Describe the tools and methods used by archaeologists.
Identify the kinds of information that archaeologists can acquire from artifacts and ruins.
Explain how historians use archaeological information to draw conclusions about past cultures.

Chapter Test: World Geography

Describe the purpose of governments and how their powers are acquired, used, and justified.
Identify the terms of office for the president, senators, representatives, and justices.
Describe how democratic laws are developed and why they are fundamental to society.
Give examples of civil rights.
Explain ways that individuals and groups influence and shape public policy.
Explain ways that individuals and groups influence and shape public policy.
Recognize how America has resolved civil and international conflict.
Explain the leadership role of the United States in international settings.
Know that a citizen is a legally recognized member of the United States who has certain rights and privileges as well as responsibilities. Describe the effects of prejudice and discrimination.

Chapter Test: Political Science

Describe the law of supply and demand.
Describe how economic systems produce and distribute goods and services.
Identify factors that affect how consumers make their choices.
Describe the relationship between price and quantity supplied of a good or service.
Identify and explain examples of competition in the economy.
Explain the economic role of government in relation to health, safety, and environmental concerns.
Explain the economic role of government to provide for national defense, to defend and protect property rights, to attempt to make markets more competitive.
Describe the relationships among specialization and division of labor on productivity of workers, and the interdependence between producers and consumers.
Explain why people and countries voluntarily exchange goods and services.
Explain the concept of entrepreneurship.
Describe how income often reflects choices made about education and career. Describe unemployment.

Chapter Test: Economic System

Identify the accomplishments of the Wilber and Orville Wright who invented the airplane.
The student will be able to describe Samuel F. Morse’s invention of the telegraph.
Identify the accomplishments of Louis Braille who invented the Braille system.
Identify the many accomplishments of Elijah Mc Coy who invented the automatic oil pump, the sprinkler system and the ironing board.
Explain the leadership role of the United States in international settings.
Know that a citizen is a legally recognized member of the United States who has certain rights and privileges as well as responsibilities. Describe the effects of prejudice and discrimination.

Chapter Test: 19th Century Individuals

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Lesson Activity Finder Tool

activity_finderThe lesson activity finder is one of the many helpful tools that Time4Learning offers its members. The activity finder is a shortcut that makes it easy for parents to preview lessons or find extra practice for their child.

Every lesson in the curriculum has a unique activity number, referred to in the lesson plans as an “LA Number.” These numbers can be found on either the scope and sequence pages or the lesson plans in the parent administration area.

The activity finder can be found in the lower left hand corner of the Student LaunchPad page. To use it, members simply log in to their child’s account, type the Learning Activity (LA) number of a lesson into the Activity Finder and click “Go” to open it.

For additional information, please visit our hints and help section, which gives more details about the activity finder.

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