Science in fourth grade emphasizes critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. By threading labs and experiments throughout the year, students have many opportunities to research, plan, and execute their own questions. The year begins, and is interspersed with an in-depth investigation of the properties of water and the systems water influences.
Making models of watersheds, taking a water cycle journey, and understanding the distribution of water help to reinforce how important studying water is. Labs examine cohesion, surface tension, density, acid-base reactions, buoyancy, and the states of water. Students will work individually, in partners, and in groups to follow a lab procedure and the scientific method. They are challenged to ask questions, measure accurately, and record their results.
The fourth graders become civil engineers and construct various bridges to solve problems. Using the engineering design process, they need to plan, build, test, then replan, rebuild, and retest. By understanding forces and what creates strength and stability, students work in groups to build the strongest and most cost effective bridge. We also spend time exploring the nearby Tappan Zee Bridge where a major reconstruction effort is underway. Student will also design and build paper airplanes and test for distance, style, and accuracy.
The science fair is a tradition that combines challenge, fun, and curiosity. Students are required to use the scientific method or the engineering design process to research, design, test, record, and analyze data. There is a lot of freedom, but being curious and challenged are key! During the fair, everyone shares their findings to an audience of peers and families.
The year concludes with investigating the health of RCS water systems. The students test, analyze, and graph their data, as well as search for living creatures. Using microscopes, single celled animals are examined and observed. Creating journals assists with illustrating and documenting their findings.
By the end of fourth grade, students will experience the following:
- Molecules / Atoms
- Metric system
- Properties of water
- States of Matter
- Ecosystems - wetlands
- Plant Growth
- Pollution, Trash, Recycling
- Water cycle
- Cohesion/surface tension
Inquiry and Investigation
- Making hypotheses based on prior knowledge
- Designing and testing multiple experiment
- Recording results from experiments
- Drawing conclusions
- Designing an experiment to test one variable
- Interpreting data from computer generated graphs
- Using computer programs to organize data for analysis
- Discussing and presenting results from an experiment
Engineering and Technology
- Engineering Design Process
- Asking questions and defining problems
- Technological Literacy
- Apply science and math to solve a problem
- Teamwork, communication, collaboration