Fifth Grade Tips for Parents

The upper years in elementary school deepen students’ skills in all subjects in preparation for middle school. The curriculum is based on the Iowa Core standards and focuses on key concepts in mathematics, literacy, science, social studies, and 21st Century skills. Learn more about the Iowa Core standards for fifth grade.

As a parent, the best thing you can do for your child is to stay engaged in their learning. Each day, take time to ask your child about their school day. Ask open-ended questions to encourage interaction. Then, you can build on their daily learning with some of the activities suggested on this webpage.

You can also view suggested learning resources for students. These learning resources offer both digital activities and printable practice materials.


Look for “word problems” in real life. Some fifth-grade examples might include:

  • Do calculations with decimals (for example, when balancing a checkbook).
  • Multiply with fractions (for example, if you used about 2⁄3 of a ¾-cup measure of vegetable stock, how much stock did you use? About how much is left?).
  • Use the length, width, and depth of a garden plot to determine how many bags of garden soil to buy.

English Language Arts & Literacy

How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Invite your child to read his or her writing out loud to other family members. Ask questions about your child’s word choices and ideas.
  • Discuss your family stories and history. Encourage your child to ask relatives questions about their lives. Put the information together in an album or brainstorm different ways to tell family tales, such as poems or short stories.
  • Go to a play or musical with your child. Discuss ways actors bring the words to life.


How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Encourage observations of the sun, moon, and stars at home in the evenings and mornings along with electronic apps to learn about and study the motions of the stars over the course of a year.
  • Provide supervised opportunities in the kitchen to measure, observe, and talk about changes in matter related to cooking.
  • Encourage your child to find leaves and plants in your neighborhood and help him/her use field guides to identify some common trees and plants.
  • Collect data and monitor the use of energy and water at home.

Social Studies

How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Frequently ask your child about what they are reading. Seek out social studies-related books, both fiction and non-fiction. Check your local library or the National Council for the Social Studies Notable Trade Book List at for suggestions of books to read.
  • Visit Iowa museums and cultural institutions to understand Iowa’s role in civil rights history. Look for statues and monuments in Iowa as a way of understanding who has shaped the right for citizens within our state and nation.
  • Demonstrate how the family uses a budget in order to save and spend money. Work with your child to set up their own budget.
  • Discuss the U.S. Constitution and how it impacts citizens at the local, state, and national levels. Talk about which rights are most important to you.
  • Explain your own ideas about the rights and responsibilities of each individual within society.
  • Talk about who you listen to and allow to influence you, including the credibility of that person/source.

21st Century Skills

How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Read with your child from books with 21st Century skills content. Examples: Jobs People Do series by DK publishing; The Marvels of Money for Kids series by Paul Nourigat.
  • Help your child select physical activities to keep moving and have fun.
  • Show your child how to appropriately use technology to find games, activities, and information appropriately.

Source: Iowa Core Parent Guides from the Iowa Department of Education.
Read the Iowa Core Parent Guide (English) and Iowa Core Parent Guide (Spanish).
Read the complete standards at: