4th Grade Science: What Happens
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Fourth grade science can be divided into two broad categories: processes and concepts. Science processes include observing and measuring objects, organisms, and/or events; classifying objects, organisms, and/or events using two or more observable properties; arranging items in serial order (for example, least to greatest or fastest to slowest); planning and conducting a science experiment; using a hypothesis; interpreting graphs, charts, and tables; and communicating the results of a science experiment.
Science concepts your child will learn this year include how the position and motion of an object can be changed by pushing or pulling; how motion can be described by tracing and measuring; how the flow of electricity is controlled by open and closed circuits and the role of conductors and insulators; the adaptive characteristics of organisms, how organisms can be classified, and the roles of organisms in a living system; inherited traits versus learned traits; the processes of erosion, weathering, and sedimentation; and fossils as evidence about plants and animals that lived long ago.
Whew! That's a lot to cover in a school year! Curriculum varies from state-to-state. But there are some constants across state borders, typical to the fourth grade classroom. By the end of the school year, students working at the standard level:
- Have begun to use scientific methods
Can identify pushing and pulling as a means to change the position of an object
Understand closed and open electric circuits
Know how matter is changed by adding or reducing heat
Can identify adaptive characteristics in organisms
Know that the needs of organisms must be met by their environment
Can classify organisms and know the roles of organisms in living systems
Can distinguish between inherited and learned traits
Can identify the effects of weathering, erosion, and sedimentation
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