What Math Is Taught In Fifth Grade?

Written by Dan

Last updated

It’s that time of year when fifth graders are elbows deep in studying math equations and preparing for the exams ahead. As a parent, you may wonder what your child needs to know before moving on to the next grade. The challenge of sifting through information about fifth-grade mathematics online is determining which topics need extra attention at home, but don’t worry!

We can help you understand all the new math concepts so you can make sure your child is well-prepared for success in their student career. After reading this article, parents will have no questions about what kind of math their fifth-grader should learn!

Related: For more, check out our article on How To Improve Writing In Fifth Grade  here.

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Common Core State Standards for Math in Fifth Grade

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for math in fifth grade are a set of educational guidelines designed to ensure that students across the United States receive a consistent, high-quality education in mathematics. Developed by educators, experts, and policymakers, these standards outline what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade level.

What is the Common Core?

The CCSS is a nationwide initiative that aims to provide a clear and consistent framework for teaching and learning in English language arts and mathematics. The goal is to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared for college, career, and life, regardless of where they live.

The Common Core State Standards for math are organized into domains, representing the major focus areas for each grade level. In fifth grade, the key domains include:

  1. Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  2. Number and Operations in Base Ten
  3. Number and Operations—Fractions
  4. Measurement and Data
  5. Geometry

These domains are further broken down into specific standards that outline the skills and concepts students should master by the end of fifth grade.

Why Do We Use the Common Core State Standards for Math in Fifth Grade?

There are several reasons why educators and policymakers have adopted the Common Core State Standards for math in fifth grade, including:

  1. Consistency: The CCSS ensures that students across the country receive a consistent education in mathematics, regardless of their location or socioeconomic background. This helps to level the playing field, ensuring that all students have access to the same high-quality instruction.
  2. Clarity: The standards provide clear and specific expectations for what students should know and be able to do by the end of fifth grade. This clarity helps teachers, parents, and students understand the goals of the curriculum and work together towards achieving them.
  3. Rigor: The CCSS are designed to be rigorous and challenging, pushing students to develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and apply their knowledge in real-world situations. This emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving skills helps prepare students for success in college and the workforce.
  4. Preparation: By outlining a clear progression of skills and knowledge from kindergarten through 12th grade, the CCSS ensures that students are well-prepared for the next grade level and college and career success. The standards are designed to build upon one another, so students’ learning experiences become increasingly complex and sophisticated as they progress through school.

Number operations in fifth grade math

Fifth grade math is an essential stage for students to build a strong foundation in number operations. One of the critical concepts at this level is understanding place value and learning to multiply two-digit numbers by two-digit numbers. This knowledge is crucial for solving more complex problems in higher grades.

Place Value

Place value is a fundamental concept in the number system that helps us understand the value of digits in a number. In the base-10 system, each digit has a different value depending on its position in the number.

For example, in the number 5,623:

  • The digit 5 is in the thousands place, so its value is 5,000.
  • The digit 6 is in the hundreds place, so its value is 600.
  • The digit 2 is in the tens place, so its value is 20.
  • The digit 3 is in the ones place, so its value is 3.

In fifth grade, students learn to read, write, and compare large numbers using their understanding of place value. They also practice rounding numbers to the nearest ten, hundred, or thousand and explore decimal place values, such as tenths and hundredths.

Multiplying Two-Digit Numbers by Two-Digit Numbers

Another essential skill in fifth grade math is learning to multiply two-digit numbers by two-digit numbers. This process involves breaking down the numbers into their place values and using the distributive property of multiplication to solve the problem step by step.

Here’s an example of multiplying 23 by 45:

Break down the numbers into their place values:

23 = 20 + 3 45 = 40 + 5

Use the distributive property to multiply each part:

(20 + 3) x (40 + 5) = (20 x 40) + (20 x 5) + (3 x 40) + (3 x 5)

Calculate the product of each multiplication:

800 + 100 + 120 + 15

Add the products together to find the final answer:

800 + 100 + 120 + 15 = 1,035

So, 23 x 45 = 1,035.

By practicing this method, students develop a deeper understanding of the multiplication process and improve their mental math skills. They also learn to apply these skills to solve real-world problems, such as calculating the area of rectangles or determining the cost of multiple items.

Algebraic Thinking In Fifth Grade Math

Algebraic thinking is an essential skill that helps students develop a strong foundation in mathematics. In fifth grade math, students are introduced to various algebraic concepts such as patterns, functions, equations, and graphing lines. These concepts play a crucial role in building a solid understanding of algebra, preparing students for more advanced mathematical topics in the future.


Patterns are an integral part of algebraic thinking. In fifth grade, students learn to recognize, describe, and extend patterns in numbers, shapes, and tables. They begin by identifying simple patterns like arithmetic and geometric sequences. For example, students may be asked to find the next term in a sequence like 2, 4, 6, 8, … or 3, 9, 27, ….

Students will also learn to represent patterns using variables and expressions as they develop their pattern-recognition skills. This helps them build a strong foundation for later working with algebraic expressions and equations.


Functions are a fundamental concept in algebra that help students understand the relationship between two sets of numbers. In fifth grade, students learn how to represent functions using tables, graphs, and equations. They explore input-output relationships, where each input value corresponds to exactly one output value.

Students will also learn about different types of functions, such as linear and nonlinear functions. They will investigate how the rate of change in a function affects its graph, leading to an understanding of concepts like slope and intercepts.


Equations are at the heart of algebraic thinking. In fifth grade, students are introduced to solving simple one-step equations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They learn how to use inverse operations to isolate the variable and find its value.

For example, consider the equation x + 5 = 12. To solve for x, students would subtract 5 from both sides of the equation, resulting in x = 7. As students become more comfortable with solving equations, they will progress to more complex multi-step equations.

Graphing Lines

Graphing lines is another critical aspect of algebraic thinking. In fifth grade, students learn how to plot points on a coordinate plane using ordered pairs (x, y). They begin by investigating the relationship between two variables and how it can be represented graphically as a straight line.

Students will learn about the concept of slope and how it relates to the steepness of a line. They will also explore the meaning of the y-intercept and how it affects the position of the line on the graph. By understanding these concepts, students will develop the ability to analyze and interpret graphs of linear functions.

Geometry In Fifth Grade Math

Geometry is an essential branch of mathematics that deals with shapes, sizes, positions, and properties of objects. In fifth grade math, students delve deeper into the world of geometry by exploring concepts such as angles, symmetry, and reflections.

These topics help students develop their spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills, which are crucial for success in higher-level math and everyday life.


In fifth grade, students learn to identify, measure, and classify angles based on their size. There are three main types of angles:

  1. Acute angles: These angles measure less than 90 degrees.
  2. Right angles: These angles measure exactly 90 degrees.
  3. Obtuse angles: These angles measure more than 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees.

Students also learn about straight angles (180 degrees) and reflex angles (greater than 180 degrees but less than 360 degrees).

They practice measuring angles using tools like protractors and develop an understanding of angle relationships, such as complementary (adding up to 90 degrees), supplementary (adding up to 180 degrees), and vertical (opposite angles formed by intersecting lines) angles.


Symmetry is a fundamental concept in geometry that refers to the balanced arrangement of parts within a shape or figure. In fifth grade math, students explore two main types of symmetry:

  1. Line symmetry: A shape has line symmetry if it can be divided into two equal and congruent parts by a straight line, called the line of symmetry. Examples of shapes with line symmetry include squares, rectangles, and circles.
  2. Rotational symmetry: A shape has rotational symmetry if it can be rotated around a central point (the center of rotation) and still look the same. The number of times a shape can be rotated and still look the same in one full rotation (360 degrees) is called the order of rotational symmetry. For example, a regular hexagon has rotational symmetry of order 6.

Students practice identifying and drawing lines of symmetry and determining the order of rotational symmetry for various shapes.


Reflection is another important concept in geometry, where a figure or shape is flipped over a line, creating a mirror image. In fifth grade, students learn to identify reflections and understand their properties:

  1. Reflection line: Also known as the mirror line or axis of symmetry, this is the line over which the shape is reflected.
  2. Congruence: The original shape and its reflection are congruent, meaning they have the same size and shape.
  3. Orientation: The original shape and its reflection have opposite orientations, like a left hand and its reflection in a mirror, which appears as a right hand.

Students practice reflecting shapes over various lines and axes and combining reflections with other geometric transformations, such as translations (slides) and rotations (turns).

Measurement In Fifth Grade Math

In fifth grade math, students begin to explore different systems of measurement, including customary units (used mainly in the United States) and metric units (used globally).

Understanding these systems and learning how to convert between them is an essential skill that helps students develop a strong foundation for future mathematical concepts. This article will discuss the basics of customary unit conversions and metric units, as well as some tips for teaching and learning these concepts.

Customary Unit Conversions

The customary system of measurement consists of units such as inches, feet, yards, and miles for length; ounces, pounds, and tons for weight; and cups, pints, quarts, and gallons for capacity.

To convert between different units within the customary system, students need to know the relationships between these units. Here are some key conversion factors:

  • 1 foot = 12 inches
  • 1 yard = 3 feet
  • 1 mile = 1,760 yards
  • 1 pound = 16 ounces
  • 1 ton = 2,000 pounds
  • 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces
  • 1 pint = 2 cups
  • 1 quart = 2 pints
  • 1 gallon = 4 quarts

Students must multiply or divide by the appropriate conversion factor to convert between different customary units. For example, to convert 5 feet into inches, they would multiply 5 by 12 to get 60 inches.

Metric Units

The metric system is based on ten units, making conversions much simpler than in the customary system. The metric system’s basic units for length, mass, and capacity are meters, grams, and liters, respectively.

To convert between different metric units, students need to be familiar with the prefixes that indicate larger or smaller units, such as kilo-, centi-, and milli-.

Here are some key conversion factors in the metric system:

  • 1 kilometer = 1,000 meters
  • 1 meter = 100 centimeters
  • 1 centimeter = 10 millimeters
  • 1 kilogram = 1,000 grams
  • 1 gram = 1,000 milligrams
  • 1 liter = 1,000 milliliters

To convert between different metric units, students move the decimal point to the left or right, depending on whether they are converting to a larger or smaller unit.

For example, to convert 5 meters into centimeters, they would move the decimal point two places to the right to get 500 centimeters.

Tips for Teaching and Learning Measurement Conversions

  1. Practice with real-world examples: Encourage students to apply their knowledge of measurement conversions to real-life situations, such as measuring ingredients for a recipe or calculating distances on a map.
  2. Use visual aids: Provide students with tools like rulers, measuring cups, and scales to help them understand the relationships between different units of measurement.
  3. Reinforce the importance of estimation: Teach students to estimate measurements before making conversions, as this skill is useful in everyday life and helps them check the reasonableness of their answers.
  4. Integrate technology: Use online tools and apps to help students practice measurement conversions and reinforce their understanding of the concepts.

In conclusion, mastering customary unit conversions and metric units in fifth grade math is crucial for building a strong foundation in measurement skills.

By understanding the relationships between different units and practicing conversions through real-world examples, students will be better prepared for more advanced mathematical concepts in the future.


1. What are some effective teaching strategies for fifth grade students?

Some effective teaching strategies for fifth grade students include inquiry-based learning, differentiated instruction, cooperative learning, project-based learning, and incorporating technology into lessons.

2. How can I differentiate instruction for diverse learners in fifth grade?

To differentiate instruction for diverse learners, consider using tiered assignments, flexible grouping, learning stations, choice boards, and scaffolding techniques to meet the unique needs of each student.

3. What is the role of technology in fifth grade classrooms?

Technology can be used to enhance learning experiences, engage students, and support differentiated instruction. Examples include using educational apps, interactive whiteboards, online research, and digital storytelling tools.

4. How do I promote a positive classroom culture in fifth grade?

Encourage a positive classroom culture by setting clear expectations, promoting teamwork and collaboration, celebrating individual and group achievements, and fostering a growth mindset.

5. What are some ways to assess student understanding in fifth grade?

Assess student understanding through a variety of methods, such as formative assessments, summative assessments, self-assessments, peer assessments, and performance-based assessments.

6. How can I make learning more engaging for fifth grade students?

Make learning more engaging by incorporating hands-on activities, real-world connections, student choice, and opportunities for creativity and critical thinking.

7. What is the importance of social-emotional learning in fifth grade?

Social-emotional learning helps students develop self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making, which contribute to their overall well-being and academic success.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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