• Grade 4 Science Curriculum

    Grade 4 Course Description

    In fourth grade students will formulate answers to questions such as: “How can water, ice, wind and vegetation change the land? What patterns of Earth’s features can be determined with the use of maps? What is energy and how is it related to motion? How is energy transferred? How can energy be used to solve a problem?” Students are expected to develop understanding of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation. They apply their knowledge of natural Earth processes to generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of such processes on humans. In order to describe patterns of Earth’s features, students analyze and interpret data from maps. Students are able to use evidence to construct an explanation of the relationship between the speed of an object and the energy of that object. Students are expected to develop an understanding that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents or from object to object through collisions. They apply their understanding of energy to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another. In the fourth grade performance expectations, students are expected to demonstrate grade-appropriate proficiency in asking questions, developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, constructing explanations and designing solutions, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. Students are expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas. (From the NGSS)

    Earth’s Place in Space

    ESS1.A The Sun is a star that appears larger and brighter than other stars because it is closer. Stars range greatly in their distance from Earth. Assessment:  Support an argument that the apparent brightness of the Sun and stars is due to their relative distances from the Earth.

    ESS1.B  The orbits of Earth around the Sun and of the Moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the Sun, Moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year. 

    5-ESS1-1 Support an argument that differences in the apparent brightness of the sun compared to other stars is due to their relative distances from Earth. 

    5-ESS1-2 Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in the length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky. 

    3-ESS2-1. Represent data in tables and graphical displays to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season.

    EC S4.D.3.1.1 Describe motions of the Sun-Earth-Moon Systems.

    EC S4.D.3.1.2 Explain how the motion of the Sun-Earth-Moon system relates to time (e.g., days, months, years).

    EC S4.D.3.1.3 Describe the causes of seasonal change as they relate to the revolution of the Earth and the tilt of Earth’s axis. 

    EC S4.D.2.1.1 Identify basic cloud types (i.e., cirrus, cumulus, stratus, and cumulonimbus) and make connections to basic elements of weather (e.g., changes in temperature, precipitation). (Was in grade 2 Snowstorm)

    EC S4.D.2.1.2 Identify weather patterns from data charts or graphs of the data (e.g., temperature, wind direction, wind speed, cloud types, precipitation). 

    EC S4.D.2.1.3 Identify appropriate instruments (i.e., thermometer, rain gauge, weather vane, anemometer, and barometer) to study weather and what they measure.

    Energy on the Move

    Forms of Energy and Energy Transfer

    4-PS3-3 Ask questions and predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide.

    EC S4.C.2.1.1 Identify energy forms, energy transfer, and energy examples (e.g., light, heat, electrical).

    EC S4.C.2.1.2 Describe the flow of energy through an object or system (e.g., feeling radiant heat from a light bulb, eating food to get energy, using a battery to light a bulb or run a fan).

    Energy as Electricity

    4-PS3-2 Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.

    PA Demonstrate and explain open and closed circuits utilizing switches.

    PA Investigate and describe conductors and insulators.

    EC S4.C.2.1.3 Recognize or illustrate simple direct current series and parallel circuits composed of batteries, light bulbs (or other common loads), wire, and on/off switches.

    Energy & Motion

    4-PS3-1 Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object.

    Our Changing Earth


    2-ESS1-1 Use information from several sources to provide evidence that Earth events can occur quickly or slowly. 

    2-ESS2-1 Compare multiple solutions designed to show or prevent wind or water from changing the shapes of land. 

    3-LS4-1 Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago.  

    4-ESS1-1 Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape [and environment] over time.

    4-ESS2-1 Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation (heating, cooling, volume of water, speed of wind, deposition, slopes, angles, etc.).

    4-ESS2-2 Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.

    PA Identify various types of water environments in PA.

    EC S4.D.1.1.1 Describe how prominent Earth features in PA (e.g., mountains, valleys, caves, sinkholes, lakes, rivers) were formed.

    EC S4D.1.1.2 Identify various Earth structures (e.g., mountains, watersheds, peninsulas, lakes, rivers, valleys) through the use of models.

    EC S4D.1.1.3 Describe the composition of soil as weathered rock and decomposed organic remains. 

    EC S4D.1.3.1 Describe types of freshwater and saltwater bodies (e.g., lakes, rivers, wetlands, oceans).

    EC S4.D.1.3.3 Describe or compare lentic systems (i.e., ponds, lakes, and bays) and lotic systems (i.e., streams creeks, and rivers).

    EC S4.B.3.1.1 Describe the living and nonliving components of a local ecosystem (e.g., lentic and lotic systems, forest, cornfield, grasslands, city park, playground).

    EC S4.B.3.1.2 Describe interactions between living and nonliving components (e.g. plants - water, soil, sunlight, carbon dioxide, temperature; animals - food, water, shelter, oxygen, temperature) of a local ecosystem. 

    EC S4.D.1.2.1 Identify products and by-products of plants and animals for human use (e.g. food, clothing, building materials, paper products).

    EC S4.D.1.2.2 Identify the types and uses of Earth materials for renewable, nonrenewable, and reusable products (e.g., human-made products:  concrete, paper, plastics, fabrics).

    EC S3.D.1.2.3 Recognize ways that humans benefit from the use of water resources (e.g., agriculture, energy, recreation).

Last Modified on June 21, 2023