Intermediate SAGE

Grade 5 -1st Quarter Unit of Study Newsletter

Units of Study

Our fifth grade students have been very busy in their Units of Study this past quarter! Read on to learn more about each unit!


In Lights, Camera, Broadcasting students will learn how to use video cameras, editing software, and other broadcasting equipment to create short video packages, news shows, and other projects. They will practice effective communication strategies (such as looking at the audience, speaking at an appropriate pace and volume, and dressing professionally), interview others, develop vocabulary and skills associated with video equipment, utilize the writing process to plan short news stories, prepare storyboards, work with and lead teams of peers, and evaluate the work of themselves and others.

This quarter in broadcasting, we have been learning many exciting things! Students have learned about different types of camera shots with a focus on wide, medium, and close-up or tight shots. Students have learned how to write good interview questions, how to conduct an interview, interact with their guest, as well as on-air camera skills. We are getting ready to create student spotlight packages from these interviews to use in our SAGE News show. In order to create these packages, students will be learning how to use Adobe Premiere editing software. The SAGE News show will be up and running at the NIC very soon. Stay tuned!

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Journey to Mars

Journey to Mars students have been researching basic background information needed to help them plan a successful colony on Mars. Comparing Earth to Mars has given them a frame of reference for what is needed for human survival. They have learned that many different systems must be in place for humans to thrive on another location in our solar system. They’ve even considered the advantages and disadvantages of building a colony on our moon instead of Mars.

Some of the initial challenges they’ve had to think through are questions such as:

  • What is the length of our journey to Mars and how does that have an effect on what we take with us to build a colony?
  • What other challenges would the lengthy journey to Mars create and what strategies would need to be in place for success?
  • What are the surfaces features of Mars and how would identifying and understanding these features help us decide where to land and build our colony?

As we continue, we will be investigating options of power sources, growing crops, and water filtration challenges – all needed for human survival!

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First Lego League

FIRST LEGO League challenges students to think like scientists and engineers and learn to solve a real-world problem. Students will be researching the real-world problem involving a human physical or social problem faced during long duration space exploration, build, test and program a robot, all the while working together using the Core Values that FLL provides.

We have focused on the 3 competition categories this quarter.

The Project

· Identify a problem that astronauts face during long duration space exploration

· Design a solution that improves a physical or social problem astronauts face

Core Values

A fundamental element that distinguishes FIRST LEGO from other programs of its kind

Mission Design

· Identify one or more missions to solve

· Design a robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® that can solve the mission(s)

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Pixar Animation

Pixar Animation is designed to introduce students to the field of animation. Students will create a digital collection of animation techniques as they investigate the methods used by Pixar Studios, explore the mathematics behind the digital animation, and develop their own animated sequences.

During 1st quarter, students investigated the early history of Pixar Studios and discussed failure and perseverance in the careers of the artist, the scientist, and the businessman who founded Pixar. They explored the creativity of Pixar films and began their investigation of how Pixar storytelling techniques connect with an audience on an emotional level. Students completed a character study and experimented with stop motion animation techniques.

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Arduinos, Laser Cutters, 3-D Printing, Soldering, and Tools Guppy Tank

Makers is designed to introduce students to the world of making. Students will discover how to apply skills, creativity, and the iterative process to eventually lead to the creation of unique student projects. They will also explore the real- world connection between the design process and meeting people’s needs. Students will deepen their understanding of electronics through hands-on projects. The heart of this unit of study resides in the Engineering Design Process as it is used to create real solutions for authentic problems.

Our focus this quarter has been on how the components of a system, their behaviors, and interconnections, work together to create something new. One half of the class has learned to use flux, a soldering iron, solder, and adhesive copper tape to create a bookmark or charm and has just begun learning safety rules for tools. The other half of the class has designed two projects in a 3-D CAD program using specific parameters. They have adjusted the snap grid and dimension of a work plane and learned how to create holes as well as manipulate and combine shapes. In addition, they have become familiar with the parts of a 3-D printer.

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Outbreak – the Science of Disease

In this course, students will act like scientists in the field of epidemiology to research the cause and spread of disease. Students will follow a fictitious case study throughout the course, investigating a “real-time” disease outbreak. Throughout the course, students will learn about organisms in the microbial word, and, using an inquiry approach, learn about various lab techniques that epidemiologists would use in tracing the spread of disease. In these photos, students are swabbing different areas in the school to gather data about factors that affect microbial growth.

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5th Grade is learning about family members. Skills we are incorporating include understanding question words, answering and asking questions about our families (How many siblings do you have? Who is in your family?), and solving logic-based problems to better understand connections between family members (the sister of my mother is my _____). The beginning of November brings Day of the Dead, which we will learn is a holiday centered around family and the remembrance of loved ones who are no longer living.

Your child has Spanish for ½ hour once a week while they are at SAGE. During that time, they are not simply acquiring words and phrases in a second language. They are also gaining flexible thinking, problem-solving skills, and learning to cope with a topic in which they may not yet be an expert. I enjoy working with your students and guiding them through this process!