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  • 4th Grade


Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment. 4-ESS3-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  2. Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object. 4-PS3-1

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  3. Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents. 4-PS3-2

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  4. Ask questions and predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide. 4-PS3-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary
  5. Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another. 4-PS3-4

    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

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

Asking questions and defining problems in grades 3–5 builds from grades K–2 experiences and progresses to specifying qualitative relationships.

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to include investigations that control variables and provide evidence to support explanations or 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.

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to evaluating the merit and accuracy of ideas and methods.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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-PS3-1)
  • RI.4.3 - Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text. (4-PS3-1)
  • RI.4.9 - Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably. (4-PS3-1)
  • W.4.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. (4-PS3-1)
  • W.4.7 - Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic. (4-ESS3-1), (4-PS3-2), (4-PS3-3), (4-PS3-4)
  • W.4.8 - Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources. (4-ESS3-1), (4-PS3-1), (4-PS3-2), (4-PS3-3), (4-PS3-4)
  • W.4.9 - Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (4-ESS3-1), (4-PS3-1)


  • 4.OA.A.1 - Interpret a multiplication equation as a comparison, e.g., interpret 35 = 5 x 7 as a statement that 35 is 5 times as many as 7 and 7 times as many as 5. Represent verbal statements of multiplicative comparisons as multiplication equations. (4-ESS3-1)
  • 4.OA.A.3 - Solve multistep word problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations, including problems in which remainders must be interpreted. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding. (4-PS3-4)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (4-ESS3-1)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (4-ESS3-1)

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.
  • In Feel the Heat, students follow the engineering design process to build a solar hot water heater and redesign their device to see how big a temperature change they can get by changing different variables. The phenomenon of energ ...

  • 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 ...

  • In this culuminating activity, the students will be connecting the scientific phenomena of how electric circuits work into their everyday lives.   Students will be working in pairs to design and wire a shoebox “room” t ...

  • This resource provides recipes for conductive and insulating dough that students can use to build squishy circuits. Students learn that a closed circuit is needed in order for electricity to flow from the battery pack to light the bulb. Once the&n ...

  • Sled Wars is an interactive simulation that allows students to explore what happens when objects collide. By crashing a virtual sled into a row of snowmen, students can observe how variables affect energy transfer in a collision. They can change the ...

  • This article provides suggestions for implementing the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) solar oven curriculum in the context of the Next Generation Science Standards. The authors share one teacher’s experience as she guides her class through the ...

  • In this article, author Bill Robertson describes how and why he changed his perspective on teaching energy transformation. This topic can be very challenging for elementary students and for teachers as well. Robertson provides background information ...

  • This web seminar provides an introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards, including the Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts. The presenters chose lessons in an energy unit to show NGSS in action in a classroom. The ...

  • This engineering lesson is part of An Educators Guide to the Engineering Design Process Grades 3-5 created by NASA to guide students in understanding how humans can be protected from the temperature variations found on the Moon. To understand the cha ...

  • Using the engineering design process, students will be designing and building a lantern that they will hypothetically be taking with them as they explore a newly discovered cave. The criteria of the completed lantern will include: hands need to be fr ...

  • This article from Science and Children provides ideas for using the trade book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, as a foundation for a lesson on generators. This beautiful book is the inspiring true story of a teenager in Malawi who built a generator ...

  • This article helps teachers understand the complexity of teaching about energy and gives suggestions for making this topic accessible to elementary students. The focus is on introducing the concepts of energy and energy transfer through marble collis ...

  • Students are given a scenario/problem that needs to be solved:  Their school is on a field trip to the city to listen to a rock band concert. After arriving at the concert, the students find out that the band’s instruments were d ...

  • 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 ...

  • In this lesson students build and then compare four different solar cookers. They measure the temperature of water in the cooker and graph changes over time. There are many possible variations of this lesson, so the teacher will have to determine how ...

  • This lesson is the second in a unit on electricity. It begins with a whole class discussion of a flashlight and how it works. Students are then challenged to light a bulb using a battery and a wire. They use science notebooks to record their progress ...

  • This resource includes three parts: a video clip from the TV show, Zoom, to introduce the activity, an essay with background information about energy, and a set of printable instructions. Students use a spool, a toothpick, a washer, a rubber band, an ...

  • Do you have a great resource to share with the community? Click here.

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