Unit 6: 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.
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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Book: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (Square Fish, Reprint edition, 2007)
Book: A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Hope Larson and Madeleine L'Engle (Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 2012)
Resource: Recommended Texts for Independent Reading (Grade 5 Unit 6)
Rubric: Grade 5 Literary Analysis and Opinion Writing Rubric
These assessments accompany this unit to help gauge student understanding of key unit content and skills.
Download Content Assessment
Download Content Assessment Answer Key
Download Cold Read Assessment
Download Cold Read Assessment Answer Key
Additional progress monitoring suggestions are included throughout the unit. Essential Tasks can be found in the following lessons:
Suggestions for how to prepare to teach this unit
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The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
To see all the vocabulary for Unit 6, view our 5th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
Fishtank ELA units related to the content in this unit.
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.
Notes to help teachers prepare for this specific unit
Describe Meg using specific details from the text.
Explain how each character responds to Mrs Whatsit and how their responses help build a deeper understanding of character.
Analyze Charles Wallace and Meg’s relationship.
Analyze how visual elements contribute to the meaning and tone of a text.
Use details from the chapter to describe what happened to Mr. Murray.
Describe what it was like to tesser and the details the author includes to help the reader visualize what it was like to tesser.
Describe the setting of Uriel and explain how the setting influences the mood of the story.
Compare and contrast the two representations of A Wrinkle in Time by analyzing and explaining how the genre features of both contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text.
Analyze why Madeleine L’Engle might have included the scene with the Medium.
Explain what gifts and advice Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which give each of the children and the significance of each gift.
Discuss unit essential questions using evidence from the first half of the book.
Write a multiple-paragraph essay to answer a unit essential question.
Describe Camazotz and how the setting influences the mood of the story.
Compare and contrast the two representations of Camazotz from A Wrinkle in Time by analyzing and explaining how the genre features of both contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text.
Summarize what happened between Charles Wallace and The Man with Red Eyes.
Describe Charles Wallace’s transformation and how it impacts Meg and Calvin.
Identify and analyze quotations that highlight Meg’s response to being reunited with her father.
Summarize what happens when they meet IT.
Defend if Meg’s thoughts towards her father are or are not justifiable.
Analyze Meg’s relationship with Aunt Beast.
Defend if it was the right decision to have Meg return for Charles Wallace.
Explain how Meg saves Charles Wallace.
Determine a theme of A Wrinkle in Time and explain how the theme is developed over the course of the novel. Discuss unit essential questions.
Opinion Writing – 3 days
Write an opinion piece defending if A Wrinkle in Time should or should not be on the banned book list.
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The content standards covered in this unit
— Compare and contrast the varieties of English (e.g., dialects, registers) used in stories, dramas, or poems.
— Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
— Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
— Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
— Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
— Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).
— Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.
— Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
— Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.
— Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information
— Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Standards that are practiced daily but are not priority standards of the unit
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
— Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., photograph, photosynthesis).
— Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
— Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition, and other logical relationships (e.g., however, although, nevertheless, similarly, moreover, in addition).
— Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
— Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
— Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
— Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
— By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 4—5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
— Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
(Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1—3 above.)
— With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
— Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.
— Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
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