In fourth grade, students identify the conversion of energy between forms and the energy transfer required to move energy from place to place. They will develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude or wavelength and that waves can cause objects to move. Students will identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time. In this exploration of how computers work, students are encouraged to make analogies between the parts of the human body and parts that make up a computer. Students are introduced to the structures of plants and animals - with an emphasis on their functions.
Grade Level(s): Fourth Grade
- How do we learn about the world around us?
- How do we design solutions to problems?
- How can I learn about something I wonder about or solve a problem that is important/interesting to me?
- What is engineering?
- How do people design solutions to problems?
- What is energy?
- What are waves?
- How do living organisms gather information from their surroundings?
- How do organisms' internal and external structures help them survive?
- Why does the surface of the Earth change?
Enduring Understandings/Big Ideas
- Learning about the world and solving problems begins with wonder, observations and questions.
- Science is both a body of knowledge that can be learned and a process of discovery of the natural world.
- Engineering is the process of identifying problems and using scientific knowledge to design solutions.
- Learning about and engaging in the practice of science and engineering requires curiosity, hard work, and persistence.
- People’s needs and wants change over time, as do their demands for new and improved technologies.
- Engineers improve existing technologies or develop new ones to increase their benefits, decrease known risks, and meet societal demands.
- Energy can be transferred in various ways and between objects.
- Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified and used to explain change.
- Similarities and differences in patterns can be used to sort, classify, and analyze simple rates of change for natural phenomena.
- Similarities and differences in patterns can be used to sort and classify designed products.
- A system can be described in terms of its components and their interactions.
- Patterns can be used as evidence to support an explanation.
- Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change.
Course-Level Scope & Sequence (Units &/or Skills)
Unit 1: Energy - Conversions
Students identify the conversion of energy between forms and the energy transfer required to move energy from place to place. They also identify and explain how energy can be converted to meet a human need or want. Students apply scientific ideas about the conversion of energy to solve a design problem. Students will:
- Explore the law of conservation of energy and its implications
- Make observations to provide evidence and use evidence to construct explanations.
- Explain that energy can be transferred from one system to another through sound, light, heat, electric currents, and force.
- Apply their understanding of energy to solve a problem.
- Construct a device that converts one form of energy into another.
- Explain how humans derive energy from natural resources.
Unit 2: Waves
Students will develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude or wavelength and that waves can cause objects to move. Students will:
- Study the characteristics of waves and how they serve as a method of energy/information transfer.
- Explain the characteristics of waves
- Use their knowledge of waves to develop a solution to an information transfer problem.
Unit 3: Processes That Shape the Earth
Students will identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time. They make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering on the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation. Students then plan and conduct scientific investigations or simulations to provide evidence of how natural processes (e.g. weathering and erosion) shape the Earth's surface. Students will:
- Gather, analyze, and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.
- Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impact of natural Earth processes on humans.
- Obtain and combine information to describe how energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and how their uses affect the environment.
- Understand there are patterns in landforms and features observed on the earth's surface and these patterns can be used to identify the processes that created them
- Make observations and measurements and encounter evidence used to explain changes in the Earth's surface.
- Generate and compare solutions to reduce the extent to which natural processes affect humans.
Unit 4: Input/Output - Computer Systems
In this exploration of how computers work, students are encouraged to make analogies between the parts of the human body and parts that make up a computer. This module has strong connections to the fourth grade Human Brain module. Students will:
- Investigate reaction time as a measure of nervous system function.
- Investigate how to diagnose concussions and create a reaction-time computer program to assess a baseline before a concussion occurs.
- Apply what they have learned to build their own reaction-time measurement devices on tablets.
Unit 5: Plants and Animals - Structures and Functions
Students are introduced to the structures of plants and animals - with an emphasis on their functions. Then, in a more focused study of the brain, students will discover how signals passing from cell to cell allow us to receive stimuli from the outside world, transmit this information to the brain for processing, and then send out a signal to generate a response. When Mylo experiences a concussion after falling off a skateboard while not wearing a helmet, he and his friends are motivated to raise awareness about concussions. Inspired by this design problem, students work as part of a team to design, plan, and create a video or podcast to educate children on identifying and preventing concussions. Students will:
- Explain the methods and structures organisms use to gather and process information from their surroundings.
- Learn that animals use their senses to receive information about their surroundings.
- Study the eye, in terms of the anatomical structure and its role in the organism's processing of information.
- Explain how animals receive information through senses and processes and respond to this information
- Explain that the eye focuses on light from objects, allowing them to be seen
- Explain that plants and animals have internal structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
- Construct an argument with evidence, data, and/or a model.
Date Last Revised/Approved: 2015