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  • 4th Grade

    From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. 4-LS1-1

    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.

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

ELA/Literacy

  • W.4.1 - Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. (4-LS1-1)

Mathematics

  • 4.G.A.3 - Recognize a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure as a line across the figure such that the figure can be folded along the line into matching parts. Identify line-symmetric figures and draw lines of symmetry. (4-LS1-1)

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.
  • This article from NSTA's Science and Children outlines a series of lessons on structure and function, with an extension lesson that incorporates related engineering design. Students are guided to observe ants in their natural habitat, experiment ...

  • This short, high-definition video shows a struggle between a wasp and an ant in extreme closeup. After viewing, students should be able to make inferences about the functions of certain specialized structures of each insect and support their ideas wi ...

  • This activity, created by the California Academy of Sciences, gives students the opportunity to explore the relationship between the structure of their teeth and their various functions. The students eat different types of food, consciously noti ...

  • This short activity, one of many "Science Snacks" from the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco, provides students with an opportunity to create ear structures that model the ears of familiar animals and explore how ...

  • In this activity students examine how the structure of various animal mouthparts affects their function. They will have an opportunity to predict what foods are likely to be eaten by birds with different beak types, watch a video compa ...

  • In this series of activities, students collect and observe different types of seeds and hypothesize about how they might be dispersed. They also investigate the design of seeds that use a helicopter method of wind dispersal, which offers an oppo ...

  • This article from the March 2015 issue of Science and Children (which focuses on the Crosscutting Concept of Structure and Function), provides detailed plans for a lesson sequence on structure and function for upper elementary students. It incorporat ...

  • In this activity, students experience the difficulty of trying to gather food with an ineffective model of an insect mouthpart, and then investigate how effective various insect mouth structures are for gathering different food sources. 

  • In this activity students examine how the structure of various animal mouthparts affects their function. They will have an opportunity to predict what foods are likely to be eaten by birds with different beak types, watch a video compa ...

  • 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 ...

  • This resource provides some background information and discussion questions about camouflage and countershading as an example of penguin adaptation. Then students engage in an experiment to simulate the effectiveness of blubber as an insulator agains ...

  • Students learn about insect body structures and their functions through print materials and a video, and then design their own insect to demonstrate understanding of essential life processes.

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