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  • 4th Grade

    Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength and that waves can cause objects to move. 4-PS4-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Develop a model to describe that light reflecting from objects and entering the eye allows objects to be seen. 4-PS4-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Generate and compare multiple solutions that use patterns to transfer information. 4-PS4-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

Science and Engineering Practices

Developing and Using Models

Modeling in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to building and revising simple models and using models to represent events and design solutions.

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to the use of evidence in constructing explanations that specify variables that describe and predict phenomena and in designing multiple solutions to design problems.

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections


  • RI.4.1 - Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text. (4-PS4-3)
  • RI.4.9 - Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably. (4-PS4-3)
  • SL.4.5 - Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes. (4-PS4-1), (4-PS4-2)


  • 4.G.A.1 - Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures. (4-PS4-1), (4-PS4-2)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (4-PS4-1), (4-PS4-2)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • In this phenomenon-driven instructional sequence, students will engage in a series of investigations to gather evidence and construct explanations as to how a singer is able to use his voice to shatter a glass.  They will look for patterns as th ...

  • This article explains how one teacher guided students’ learning in a series of lessons on waves.  Three-dimensional learning is evident as they investigate a series of phenomena to identify the big idea that “There are multiple types ...

  • This one and half minute silent video shows the phenomenon of the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge located in Washington state.  The bridge opened to traffic on July 1, 1940 and collapsed only four months later on November 7, ...

  • This article describes a 5E lesson focused on the exploration of sound and sound waves. Many opportunities for hands-on investigations, discourse, and the use of technology are integrated into the lesson. Investigations follow where students talk and ...

  • Students explore and explain characteristics of sound through a series of hands-on learning centers and the sensory phenomena of waves produced by a "trashcan wave generator". Students sketch and explain what they discover at each of t ...

  • Students model how NASA uses radios waves signals to encode, transmit and decode information using a metronome and musical instruments.  Students are then challenged to design a faster way to send signals.

  • This lesson integrates social studies and energy transfer concepts as students explore the history of electronic messaging systems (Morse Code and text messaging) before applying concepts of energy transfer throughthe construction ...

  • Students plan and carry out investigations before developing and using models to describe patterns of waves in terms of amplitude and wavelength, and to demonstrate that waves can cause objects to move. Connections are made to real world example ...

  • This is the first lesson in a series of lessons on waves. It is an exploratory lesson where students observe, draw and think about how waves are shaped, how they move and what creates them. The teachers creates a model using a plastic bottles with co ...

  • Students explore making waves using everyday objects to begin developing an understanding of how waves are made, that waves carry energy, and that there are different types of waves. Students investigate examples of transverse and ...

  • This 2007 "Science and Children" sound article shares ideas and instructional suggestions for four hands-on discovery centers to explore sound titled, 'Tuning Fork Vibrations', 'Rubber Band Guitars', 'Drum it Up' ...

  • Found deep within this multi-unit document are directions for playing the game Simon Says! with waves. This simple simulation allows the students an opportunity to move around and participate in a guided model of amplitude and wavelength. The studen ...

  • This activity introduces the students to sending and deciphering Morse Code. The children use flashlight signals rather than sounds (which is a plus when you have thirty children trying to send signals in one classroom) to compose and send a short me ...

  • The Bite Size Physics website uses humor and simple hands-on activities to teach physics principles. This lesson gives a background lesson on waves, followed by several simple experiments to teach transverse and longitudinal waves, frequency, wavelen ...

  • This Science and Children article includes background information for the teacher and three investigations to share with the students. First, students create waves using a jump rope, then water, and then they model the movement of molecules using mar ...

  • This 4th grade unit is designed to address the concept that organisms sense the environment in order to live. It is a far-ranging and comprehensive unit that is designed to address multiple NGSS performance expectations (4-LS1-2, 4LS1-2, 4-PS3-2, 4-P ...

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Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.