Fifth grade social studies focus on exploration and discovery, particularly of the United States and North American. This is a fun time period for children to learn and it can be done effortlessly and cohesively throughout the years. Personally, I feel that most of the lessons in fifth grade social studies should come in the form of historical novels.
Part I involves discovering American History. This part of fifth grade Social Studies should be largely read, discussed, and written about in essays.
Exploration and discovery: Read and discuss The World Made New: Why the Age of Exploration Happened and How It Changed the World
Establishment of settlements in the New World: Read and discuss Exploration and Conquest: The Americas After Columbus: 1500-1620
Colonial life in America: Read and discuss Life in Colonial America and Pioneer life in America: Read and discuss Everyday Life in Colonial America.
Westward movement in America: Read and discuss Westward Ho! and use the program Primary Sources Teaching Kit: Westward Movement. You should also follow the trail of Lewis and Clark using games, CD roms and historical videos.