Palos East Elementary SChool

Go To Search
Report Absences
5th Grade

Mystery Disease

In Mystery Disease, a serious illness is sweeping through the small community of Jamestown.  Why are all the people sick? Where did they contract the disease? Students become public health workers as they track down the source of the illness.  Students work in teams to solve the problem and present their findings. Please be advised that realistic problems involving illness and death related to the mystery disease may be discussed.

This particular unit will offer students the opportunity to learn about contagious diseases, biohazards, public health, disease control, social science and systems, public speaking, and more. These assignments will be open-ended and real self-directed learning will take place.

 Adapted from Mystery Disease by Mark A. Bohland © 2006 Prufrock Press Inc.

The Young Inventor Challenge


Although fifth graders will not be working on game inventions as an ALPS unit this year, they are once again invited to participate in the Young Inventor’s Challenge at the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. The seventh annual Young Inventor Challenge (YIC) will be held at the Fair on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at Chicago's Navy Pier. The contest is open to boys and girls ages 6 to 18, and participants must create their own original toy or game inventions to be judged by popular vote by the Fair's 20,000 attendees. Besides great prizes to be won, top toy and game industry representatives will be on hand to provide advice, recognition and encouragement to all young inventors to dream big and discover the possibilities of play! You can find more information at
Feel free to register online at home or send your child to ALPS with a completed registration form.

Jury Trials



Jury Trials is a simulation that will provide a framework for students to experience the process of a trial and all the critical thinking that accompanies the preparation of a case.  Students will take on the roles of attorneys, defendants, plaintiffs, witnesses, and jurors.  In our classroom courtroom students will prepare legal arguments to support each side, formulate opening and closing statements, consider questions for the witnesses, and in the end, resolve the issue by a vote of the jury.


Participating in mock jury trials will reinforce and complement skills taught at the fifth grade level.  Reading analytically, critical thinking, persuasive writing, integrating information from several sources, point of view, understanding the judicial system, and preparing and delivering oral presentations are skills that will be developed through the work of mock trials in the classroom.

This school year, we will begin by introducing the three branches of the government.  Students will be introduced to the election process and the 2016 presidential candidates.

Career Aspiration

Career Aspiration icon_thumb.png

Career Aspiration, and exciting project from the Envision program, is an exercise in choosing and planning for a student's potential career.  For the students, it will be a personal voyage of discovery and an opportunity to explore a major life goal.

To begin, students will take a career interest inventory to help identify careers of interest and those they are best suited for. They will then choose a career to research and plan for.  Career Aspriation is divided into four components.  The first component involves researching a career path and organizing that research in a project portfolio.  For the second component, students will create an exhibit that presents key information and aspects about their chosen career path.  The third component is a classroom presentation.  The fourth and final component is the project expo, at which students will share their completed project with family, friends, and invited guests.

Students will follow instructions in the Student Instruction Guide that provides all information about what will be needed to complete the project successfully. This project will challenge students to be resourceful, organized, and to think at a higher level.
Adapted from Envision: Carrer Aspiration, Mind Vine Press, LLC

House Design

Owning your own house is part of the American Dream.  The current housing market is suffering from depressed pricing, causing difficulty in refinancing and the sale of homes. A family must make many decisions and solve many problems to make their dream a reality.

House Design will give each student insights into the problems and pleasures of designing a house, and will introduce the practical skills they will need to design a home of their own. 

House Design is organized into three phases:

In Phase One, students review necessary math skills, including computing area and drawing to scale.  Students will also use measuring skills to create a collection of dimensions for common furnishings, appliances, windows, doors, etc. that they will need in the simulation.

In Phase Two, student firms comprised of an architect, interior designer, and contractor design and create a blueprint for one bedroom meeting specific guidelines.

In Phase Three, student firms will design a whole house for a client family taking into consideration the family’s income, needs, and wants. Together student firms draw an original house design, purchase major appliances and furniture, and stay within a budget. In a culminating activity, the architectural design firms will share their designs, Collage Portfolios, and costs records.