Grade 4

Each unit, available in both print and digital formats, addresses the Next Generation Science Standards and interweaves each element of three-dimensional learning


Energy Transfers

The Energy Transfers topic encourages students to be aware of the many ways in which they depend upon and use energy. It also offers students a glimpse of how energy transfers function in the natural and human-built worlds. During this topic, the students:

  • Discover that energy is everywhere; at home, at school, and in the natural world. 
  • Observe and map energy transfers in toys. 
  • Experiment with the energy of light. 
  • Design and conduct their own energy transfer experiments. 
  • Investigate the transfer of energy between moving objects such as marbles. 
  • Use their imagination and new understanding of energy to design a machine that uses the power of energy transfers.


Technology and Energy

The Technology and Energy topic helps students discover the wonders of electricity, other forms of energy, and the relationship of energy to making technology work. During this topic, the students:

  • Try out ideas about how to light a bulb with a battery and wires. 
  • Recognize and use the components in a battery-bulb circuit. 
  • Build a circuit with a battery and motor. 
  • Explore conductors and insulators of electric current. 
  • Recognize electrical hazards and the safe use of electricity. 
  • Build and use light bulb holders. 
  • Draw circuit symbols and schematics. 
  • Learn about parallel and serial circuits.
  • Design, build, and demonstrate a circuit that solves a problem.
  • Explore different types of stored energy and fuels. 
  • Read about renewable and non-renewable energy and power. 
  • Discover how our use of energy impacts our world. 
  • Explore energy efficiency.



The Waves topic encourages students to develop a new understanding of waves and their behavior. During this topic, the students:

  • Create wave patterns in water and learn that waves form in a regular pattern. 
  • Learn that waves require a source and travel through a medium. For example, the source of water waves is a motion somewhere. The medium for waves in the ocean is water. 
  • Produce waves on a rope and a slinkyTM to discover the properties of waves and that waves transfer energy from place to place. 
  • Build models of waves using chenille stems.
  • Look closely at deep and shallow water waves to recognize floating objects are moved differently by waves in deep water and shallow water. 
  • Explore how sound waves travel and can cause objects to move.


Structures in Living Things

The Structures in Living Things topic encourages students to think about the many ways that organisms are similar and different. During this topic, the students:

  • Discuss the different structures that plants and animals have, and how these structures help them survive, grow, and reproduce. 
  • Model how different structures work together in systems that serve different functions, in both plants and animals. 
  • Closely observe earthworms, noticing their structures and behaviors. 
  • Investigate how earthworms sense and respond to their environment.
  • Closely observe various plants, noticing their structures.


Our Geosphere

The Our Geosphere topic helps students discover the wonders of Earth including Earth’s surface and the forces beneath the surface that create landscapes. During this topic, the students:

  • Walk the school grounds to discover evidence of change to the landscape. 
  • Become familiar with the diversity of landscapes on Earth. 
  • Explain what happens to rocks over time by conducting an investigation about abrasion. 
  • Model glaciers to explore glacial abrasion of rock and the erosion of Earth’s surface, and to see how glaciers deposit the sediment they carry. 
  • Plan and conduct investigations to model the effects of erosion by either water or wind. 
  • Explore how tectonic plate movements create various landscapes.
  • Plot data about earthquakes to identify patterns and see the relationship between their location and tectonic plates. 
  • Explain how the Grand Canyon was formed. 
  • Create a model to describe where fossils are located within different layers of the Earth.