5th Grade: Fire Class » Fire Class

Fire Class


Fifth graders become increasingly independent and self-aware learners. Friendships that have developed through the grades deepen. Special projects and trips, featuring two end-of-the-year culminating experiences - one a major dramatic production, the other a weeklong outdoor trip - are transformative experiences for the students.

Fifth graders are engaged in activities that encourage cooperation, flexibility, divergent thinking, and organization. They are ready and able to make sense of complex concepts and interrelated knowledge, and well prepared for taking notes, asking questions, and joining in class discussions to make learning their own. The theme of the FIRE Class is “Power,” and their projects utilize their growing skills and understanding to explore it deeply.

Students, whether leaving Berkwood Hedge School or continuing on with us, are well-prepared to take on the world of middle school and beyond.

Fiery and sometimes feisty, our FIRE students energize the school.

The major projects of the year include:

  • Rethinking Columbus: How is power gained, used, and justified? Did Columbus really discover America? How do we listen to the voice of the oppressed?
  • Not So Simple Machines: Where are simple machines found in everyday life? What is the math behind simple machines? How do simple machines make everyday work easier?
  • The Human Body: Can you save a dying patient’s life? How does the human body work? How do body systems work together to make a body work?
  • The Performance: How do we express ourselves?

Project-Based Learning Spotlight: Not So Simple Machines


Students investigate six simple machines: the wheel and axel, the lever, the incline plane, the pulley, the screw, and the wedge. After learning the math and science behind these simple machines, students put the machines to work, creating a room-sized Rube Goldberg machine (think “Mousetrap”).