Book Review – Platinum Social Science Grade 5

The Platinum Social Science Grade 5 books include History and Geography, and cover the following topics:


Term 1 – Hunter-gatherers and herders in southern Africa

  • How to find out about hunter-gatherers and herders
  • San hunter-gatherer society in the Later Stone Age
  • Medicine from plants
  • The hunt and the bow and arrow
  • What did the San believe?
  • San rock art
  • Khoikhoi herder society in the Later Stone Age

Term 2 – The first farmers in southern Africa

  • When, why and where the first African farmers settled in southern Africa
  • Homesteads and villages
  • Agriculture: crops and livestock
  • Social, political and economic structures
  • Cattle were very important
  • Tools and weapons from iron and copper
  • Pottery
  • Trade
  • Religion, medicine and healing
  • Hunting

Term 3 – An ancient African society: Egypt

  • The Nile River and how it influenced settlement
  • Way of life in Ancient Egypt
  • Tutankhamun
  • The spread of Egypt’s advanced knowledge to other places such as Europe and the Middle East

Term 4 – A heritage trail through the provinces of South Africa

  • The names of provinces and their capital cities on a map
  • What heritage is
  • Heritage in sites of significance: Cradle of Humankind – Gauteng
  • Heritage in objects: Golden objects at Mapungubwe – Limpopo
  • Heritage in people’s achievements: Frances Baard – Northern Cape
  • Heritage in names: Gariep Dam – Free State
  • Heritage and changing identities: The Castle – Western Cape
  • Heritage and indigenous medicine: The healing properties of the aloe – Eastern Cape
  • Heritage in architecture: Stone-walled town of Kaditshwene – North West
  • Natural heritage and indigenous knowledge systems: Makhonjwa Mountains – Mpumalanga
  • Heritage in art: San rock art in the Drakensberg – KwaZulu Natal



Term 1 – Map Skills

  • World map and compass directions
  • Africa our continent (oceans, countries and main cities)
  • A physical map of Africa

Term 2 – Physical features of South Africa

  • South Africa from above (physical map)
  • Physical features
  • Rivers
  • Physical features and human activities

Term 3 – Weather, climate and vegetation of South Africa

  • Weather
  • Rainfall
  • Climate
  • Natural Vegetation

Term 4 – Minerals and mining in South Africa

  • Mineral and coal resources of South Africa
  • Mining and the environment
  • Mining and people

As with all other Platinum books, the Learner’s Book is accompanied by the Teacher’s Guide, complete with formal assessments (tests and exams) and answer sheets. There was an Extension and Remediation Workbook included with my Teacher’s Guide with extra worksheets. I was amazed by the amount of work covered in schools in what should take a year. Really scary (way too little). I complemented our curriculum with the following books: All about South Africa, Kids World Atlas, Explorers who got lost, Student Atlas of the World, The Usborne Geography Encyclopedia, I wonder why the wind blows, and Everything kids science experiments. The Oxford Junior Atlas was also an investment for studying South African History and Geography. We also did an in-depth study of Ancient Egypt (touched on in the Platinum Social Science Gr5 book).

I created some Notebooking and Lapbooking resources to use with these books (and collected some others). You can download them here.

View other books we used for Grade 5

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