The subject of science encompasses a lot of topics and involves many different skills. It is often a favorite of students because it involves things like experiments, investigation, and discovery. In fourth grade science, students will continue to build upon their knowledge base of science concepts, science skills, and science vocabulary.
Students will use scientific investigation by using questioning strategies, doing simple experiments, using and displaying data, and conducting long-term investigations. This includes forming a hypothesis, recording observations and results, and forming a conclusion. Students will then use graphs, tables, and drawings to communicate the results of their investigations.
One area that will be explored in fourth grade science is matter, energy, and force. Students will practice measuring matter, including the weight, volume, and dimensions. They’ll also classify matter based on its properties. They’ll explore both physical and chemical changes and will be able to distinguish between the two. Finally, they’ll explore the effect of force on objects and how applying force will change the speed and direction of an object.
Students will move on to more complex topics when discussing the solar system and the earth, including the various types of rocks, soil, and natural resources found on earth. They might research the planets and classify the planets according to their characteristics and properties. They’ll also learn about other things we find in space, such as asteroids, comets, and satellites. They will already have learned about the sun and how the earth’s movement creates the days and seasons, but at this point they’ll review it and explore it in more depth. They’ll review fourth grade science vocabulary like orbit, rotation, revolution, and axis.
Life science is often taught in the spring, when it’s possible to see many of the concepts first hand. Students will discuss life cycles and how living things interact in the environment. They’ll talk about ecosystems and how they function. They’ll also discuss various topics relating to plants and animals and spend time talking about the human body. An important component of a unit like this includes how we can protect our environment by doing things like respecting the earth and doing our part to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Learning about science also means learning about our part in in our environment.
Students will also practice science writing. At each level, the writing that is done becomes more involved and students are asked to think about a question or concept and explain it in writing. This is often a level where standardized tests are administered and students will need to refine their skills in explaining a concept. They’ll also be asked to write a hypothesis, take notes, explain their conclusion, and label tables, charts, and graphs.
Learning about science in school or at home can be an exciting adventure. There are lessons to be learned both inside and outside and some simple tools can be used to explore. Give a child a magnifying glass, a balance, or a group of things to classify and you’ve instantly created a science exploration. Parents can help by reinforcing what students have learned and by encouraging their children to explore topics of interest to them.