Fourth Grade Science

    Smithsonian Science 

    How does motion energy change in a collision?

    • Explore how motion energy can change in a collision by being transferred to either heat, light, or sound and moving to another object. 

    • Use evidence from collisions to construct a claim that faster objects have more motion energy. 

    • Carry out an investigation into how the surface affects how far an object slides and how air can slow objects down.

    • Construct an explanation that motion energy causes air to heat up and discover that a helmet can protect our brain by changing motion energy to heat. 

    • Design a helmet using an egg as a model for the head. 

    How can animals use their senses to communicate?

    • Investigate how animals, including humans, use their internal and external structures to sense the world around them, process information, communicate information to others, and react accordingly. 

    • Explore the senses, including how light travels when we see an object. 

    • Compare and contrast animal eyes and analyze how their structures support different survival needs. 

    • Explore how the brain processes information through experiencing optical illusions and analyze data from research into how birds can learn to avoid distasteful insects. 

    • Investigate how animals can communicate with each other using a variety of signals. 

    • Consider problems in communication and explore how humans can communicate over great distances in very little time using digital signals. 

    • Analyze data based on testing with models to construct an argument about which firefly flash patterns would be most effective for finding a mate.

    What is our evidence that we live on a changing earth?

    • Identify, analyze, and communicate evidence that we live on a changing planet.

    • Analyze global maps to find patterns in the locations of Earth features and in the occurrence of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. 

    • Explain how these two processes cause specific hazards to humans and compare the structure of one of those hazards, tsunami waves, to wind-driven ocean waves. 

    • Define problems associated with earthquake shaking. Students read about engineering solutions to such problems and design, build, and test models of earthquake-resistant buildings. 

    • Investigate additional Earth processes that affect the landscape: weathering and erosion

    • Create models of mountains to test the effects of rainfall, vegetation, earthquakes, wind, and glaciers on landforms. 

    • Consider what clues can be found in rock layers to serve as evidence of past landscapes. 

    • Apply what they have learned to create a museum exhibit explaining that a variety of forms of evidence tell us that we live on a changing Earth.

    How can we provide energy to people’s homes?

    • Explore how energy moves and changes, and how people obtain sources of energy and convert them for practical purposes. 

    • Observe phenomena—motion, light, sound, and heat—that provide evidence of the presence of energy, and track how energy moves and changes in systems.

    • Observe that electrical energy moves via electric current and can be changed into other forms of energy. 

    • Obtain and combine information about the advantages and disadvantages of using various natural resources to generate electricity and identify the best energy resource solution for four real-world locations, based on criteria and constraints. 

    • Obtain information about how energy gets from power plants to homes, and explore simple electric circuits. 

    • Design and build electric devices that serve specific purposes. 

    • Apply what they have learned about electrical systems to solve an engineering problem: to design, build, and test a power system that enables multiple electronic devices to function independently from one another.