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Fourth Grade Launches New Science Curriculum

Fourth Grade Launches New Science Curriculum
Posted on 11/11/2016

Earth’s Changing Surface, Energy and Engineering, Waves, and Environments, and Living Things are the brand new science units of study for 4th graders. Within the framework of Modeling Changes in Our World, students will have many opportunities to practice “Next Generation Science Standards”. Students will identify limitations of models, develop and revise models, use models to describe scientific principles, and use models to test cause and effect.

We began the year by observing different models of the Earth noticing that each model, while similar to other models in some ways, have individual differences that can be emphasized to learn about different aspects of a topic. Each model has its own pros and cons depending on the learning objective. For example, we noted that a globe is a perfect model to use when we need a sphere to discuss our ideas. We used a flat map when our purpose was to view the entire Earth at one glance. We discovered that Google Earth is the best model to use when we need to zoom in on a particular locality. On our field trip to the Maynard Ecology Center, we used a stream table to model what happens to land when water passes through it. In groups, students designed and carried out experiments testing a variable. Some of those variables were speed of the water, type of earth material (gravel, sand, soil), slope of the stream, and amount of water. Students were able to observe weathering, erosion, and deposition first hand, strengthening their textbook knowledge while practicing collaborative learning, and having fun.

We look forward to our next unit on Energy and Engineering and using models to develop our understanding about this challenging topic.