Grade 5: Visiting ancient history to create learnings for the future

Our outstanding social studies curriculum is the cornerstone of the exciting last year of primary school. This year serves as a culmination and practice for all the abilities we develop over the Primary years, including independence, teamwork, collaboration, and the curiosity to learn more.
The Indus Valley Civilization is the focus of the curriculum in Grade 5 after a thorough examination of Mumbai in Grade 4. In order to fully comprehend their place in their neighbourhood and the larger world they live in, they make connections between the past, the present, and the future. Students’ interest in the Indus Valley inspires their reading and offers them with reading material to deepen their grasp of what constitutes an ancient civilization.
We collaborate with the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum) to develop an immersive learning environment that enables students to comprehend archaeological methodology and their function in researching ancient civilizations. An archaeologist from the museum gives them a workshop at the beginning of the year to expose them to this intriguing field of study. Understanding the many knowledge sources at our disposal is essential for studying historical civilizations.
Simulated digs are conducted at the school and the museum after this workshop. Students sift through dirt layers and learn how to categorize and calculate the age of things based on how far below the surface they were discovered. They learn to draw conclusions about what the object might reveal about the possible owner. Real artifacts are “discovered” during the museum dig.
They are exposed to historical research through this activity. Readings emphasize particular aspects of civilizations we want students to comprehend. They study the ties that bind civilizations together, such as governing structures, social hierarchies, occupations, and forms of culture and art. They progress from comprehending their local neighbourhood to a more comprehensive awareness of civilizations.
They research Indus Valley artwork. They research ancient architecture, lifestyle, and seals. They try to make assumptions based on the seals’ script. They discover the significance of the Rosetta Stone in understanding ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs as well as the fact that the meanings of the Indus Valley script are only inferred.
The preparation for the journey to Kutch and Dholavira in January takes up the entirety of the first semester. They experience contemporary Kutch in addition to the ancient past that is the subject of their trip to the Dholavira archaeological site. They are aware of the problems affecting its current residents, such as the lack of water and the effects of the earthquake.
They gain first-hand knowledge of the villagers’ handicraft industry. They converse with craftspeople and gain knowledge of their lifestyles. Even though Dholavira is the main focus of the tour, understanding current problems and connecting them to lessons learned about the past makes the journey a very valuable experience.
When our students return from Kutch with a firmer grasp of the Indus Valley, they contrast their newfound knowledge with that of either ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia. Every fifth-grade class might completely examine a different civilization. The choice of which civilization to study is totally up to the pupils. Through their research, they examine the elements that constitute a civilization, as well as their similarities and contrasts. They examine the significance of the sun, moon, and mythology in daily life, as well as the crucial part rivers played in the development of civilizations.
This year, due to the pandemic, we were not able to take students to Kutch, but we organised a virtual tour of the area, which generated considerable interest among students. We also organised a virtual tour of the CSMS museum.
By examining soil and weather, the study of ancient civilizations also contributes to the science curriculum. They gain knowledge of the conditions that allowed civilizations to develop and draw conclusions about why others have failed. They research the effects of the climate. This year, students were interested in studying soil and soil pollution, and we organised a virtual visit with farmers. Keen to share what they learnt with the world, students put up social media exhibits on soil pollution, afforestation and other issues that matter to them.
Students also experiment with materials and concepts from the artwork they have seen and learnt about in Art and Studio Time. They produce seals that resemble those from Dholavira.
Students gather information from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including on-the-ground investigation, museum visits, books, and the internet. The culmination of their years of independent study and research that have guided them since their early years at B. D. Somani is everything they do in Grade 5. However, because they are studying ancient history, they must in Grade 5 rely more on secondary sources than they did in earlier grades, which was more about first-hand investigation.
Other abilities that we value at B. D. Somani are also strengthened via the Grade 5 social studies programme. They might make assumptions about what life must have been like and write from the viewpoint of a youngster their age living in the Indus Valley or ancient Egypt.
Fifth-grade students are avid readers. Their reading and social studies are frequently intertwined. Some works are chosen for reading aloud, others for the literature circle, and still others are studied in class as novels. They read works that tackle themes that are relevant to their age today as well as historical fiction set in ancient Egypt.
Students gain a thorough comprehension of all the basic ideas in math that they will need for further study. The links between fractions, decimals, and percentages are heavily stressed, and there is a lot of problem-solving involved. All grades practise using manipulatives and authentic situations to develop the requisite conceptual grasp of fractions. They can examine a situation and determine what information is essential and what has been added only to divert attention. They examine the procedures they must employ. They pick up thinking and logic principles. Although algebraic thinking is introduced in Kindergarten, pupils acquire a thorough understanding of the ideas by Grade 5 when applied to more challenging tasks.
Specialist subjects such as Art, Music, Capoeira, Hindi, French, Theatre, Physical Education, and IT, nonetheless receive plenty of time during the leaners’ busy week.
We encourage kids to be lifelong learners throughout the whole Primary School. They learn how to pose the crucial queries, where to look for the information they require, how to analyse and contrast their discoveries, and how to obtain the answers. They are able to apply what they already know to a brand-new concept. They improve their capacity for cooperation and problem-solving.
We prepare our Grade 5 students for a lifetime of curiosity as we launch them into the world. They will always be able to put their inherent curiosity to good use with the abilities they take with them when they leave primary school because they are autonomous thinkers, driven learners, and intelligent, empathic global citizens.
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