Grade 4

Fourth graders continue to build upon what they have learned and deepen their understanding of the forces that constantly change Earth’s surface (weathering, erosion and deposition), energy, and the adaptations of mammals. Science and engineering practices are woven throughout all of the science content, as well as the use of science notebooks and integration with the other curriculum areas. Students learn about scientists and engineers from diverse backgrounds and reflect on how they (as student scientists and engineers) are similar to them.

Unit Description Essential Questions
Introduction to Science and Science Notebooks
At every grade level (JK-8), Cambridge students begin the year exploring what science is, why science is important to them, who scientists are and what they do, and how they will use science notebooks to record their questions, observations, ideas and explanations throughout the year. These skills build over time as students move from grade to grade.
What is science? Why is it important to me? 

Who are scientists and what do they do? 

How and why do scientists use science notebooks?
Earth's Changing Story
Students build on what they learned in the 2nd Grade Two Earth Changes unit by exploring in more detail how Earth surface is changed over time by the processes of weathering, erosion and deposition. They are introduced to how rocks are formed, explore how fossils provide evidence about how Earth has changed over time, and look for patterns that serve as evidence of plate tectonics.
How are Earth’s landscapes formed? 

What can geologists learn about Earth’s history from sedimentary rocks and fossils?
Energy Makes Things Happen
Through a series of hands-on explorations, students gather evidence to show that energy can be transferred from place to place by motion, sound, light, heat and electrical currents. Through a study of waves, they figure out how to explain how light allows us to see. Finally, students investigate the difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources and build models of wind turbines and water wheels using the Engineering Design Process. 
How does energy move from place to place?

How do we use light to see objects?
Mammal Detectives
Students become mammal detectives who use inquiry to identify the features of five mystery mammals. As they receive additional pieces of evidence about their mystery mammal (skulls, teeth, fur, feet, tracks and scat), students observe the evidence and make claims about what their mammal eats, how it moves, how it sees and where it lives, revising their thinking as needed based on new evidence. Ultimately, they make their final claims (supported by evidence) and present them to the class.
How do scientists make claims about animals that lived long ago based on fossil evidence and what they know about living animals?

What features help mammals survive in the places where they live?

Department Information

Elementary Science

Middle School Science

High School Science

Contact Us
Janet MacNeil, JK-12 Science Coordinator
Allan Gehant, Dean of Curriculum, CRLS
Patty McGaffigan, District Science Coach (6-8)
Susan Agger, Maynard Ecology Center Director
Donna Pereira, Science Materials Manager

Science Department
359 Broadway, Cambridge
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