Seeking Truth: A Wrinkle in Time

In this final 5th grade unit, students read about the nuances of good versus evil and how unconditional love can overpower darkness in A Wrinkle in Time, the first science fiction novel in our curriculum.



Unit 6

5th Grade

Unit Summary

In this culminating unit of fifth grade, students read the classic text A Wrinkle in Time. Over the course of the novel, students explore the nuances of good versus evil and how ultimately unconditional love can overpower darkness and hate. Students will also experience the power of believing in oneself and trusting those around you, by watching the main character’s self-confidence evolve over the course of the novel. This novel is the first science fiction novel that students are exposed to over the course of the curriculum. Exposing students to science fiction is important for not only building engagement and reaching a variety of readers, but also for exploring common themes across multiple genres. It is our hope that this novel, in connection with others in the sequence, empowers students to believe in themselves and the power of love and kindness. It is also our hope that this unit inspires students to read and engage with books from a wide range of genres. 

As noted above, A Wrinkle in Time is the first science fiction novel that students read and analyze together. Therefore, over the course of the novel, students will be pushed to notice and analyze different genre features. In particular, the multiple settings are integral for both the development of plot and the suspense and intrigue common in science fiction. As a result, students will have multiple opportunities to compare and contrast the different settings. In this unit, students will also spend a lot of time analyzing and noticing author’s craft, particularly the use of sentence structure and syntax as a way to develop tone and emotion. Paired with the graphic novel version of the text, students will also compare and contrast the way Madeleine L’Engle uses description and voice to develop a scene versus how the graphic novel develops a scene. Since this is the culminating unit of the year, students will also review characterization, theme, using context clues to figure out the meaning of words, and plot.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

  • Book: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (Square Fish, Reprint edition, 2007)   —  740L

Supporting Materials


These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills.

Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit. Essential Tasks can be found in the following lessons:

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.

Essential Questions

  • What characteristics and traits help people succeed in the face of challenge? 
  • What are the characteristics of sci-fi/fantasy texts and how do these apply to a Wrinkle in Time



aberration agony antagonistic anguished apprehension appalling arrogance assimilate belligerent contradicted corrosive compulsion delinquent despondency diction dignity disillusion dimension dubiously earnestly emanate essence fallible fatal frantic hysterical hypnotize illusion impenetrable inadvertently intoned indignantly incomprehensible insolent loathing metamorphose monotonous nondescript omnipotent ominous peril primitive resentment resilience seldom somber solemnly subdued tangible tenacity trepidation unsubstantial verbalize


-able -ment -ous -sion -tion in- non- un-

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 6, view our 5th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Content Knowledge and Connections

Notes for Teachers

  • Madeleine L’Engle wrote this book during the 1960s, when the idea of space travel was new and interesting to people in the United States. It was also a time when the Soviet Union and the United States were competing with each other in the field of space exploration. Research and learn about the time period in order to provide context for the time and place in which the book was written. 
  • Madeleine L’Engle also choses to reflect political themes of the time period. For example, life on Camazotz is similar to how Americans envisioned life in the Soviet Union at the time, where people’s freedom and individuality were limited. Research and learn about the time period in order to provide context for comparison. 
  • In some analyses of A Wrinkle in Time, the triumph of love is considered an allusion to Christian theology. L’Engle makes a few explicit references to the New Testament, but the references simply stand as a starting point for exploring the larger universal theme of good vs. evil and love vs. hate. The references to Christianity are not discussed or referred to within this unit plan. 

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Supporting Standards

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Unit 5

Building Community: Seedfolks