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  • 4th Grade

    Earth and Human Activity

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. Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans. 4-ESS3-2

    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

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.

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-ESS3-2)
  • RI.4.9 - Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably. (4-ESS3-2)
  • W.4.7 - Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic. (4-ESS3-1)
  • 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)
  • W.4.9 - Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. (4-ESS3-1)


  • 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-ESS3-2)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (4-ESS3-1), (4-ESS3-2)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (4-ESS3-1), (4-ESS3-2)

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.
  •   By reading this fictional account of the effects of a tsunami as seen through the eyes of two children, students will gather factual information explaining the tsunami phenomenon, warning systems, and effects that might occur. Parts of the ...

  • This 3 minute, 17 second video allows students to experience the phenomenon of a tsunami. It uses informative captions to explain what a tsunami is, how it is formed, and how its impact can be lessened for humans. The focus of a tsunami’s origi ...

  • This lesson is based upon the video “The Science of Tsunamis.”  Students watch the video, which describes the effects of the phenomenon of tsunamis on ancient civilizations, how tsunamis form, their impacts today, and ways that human ...

  • This 7-10 day 5E inquiry lesson set allows students to develop questions about how natural earth changes affect human life. As they research answers to those questions using suggested websites and nonfiction sources, they work to locate, select, and ...

  • In Save our Shore, students can build upon prior knowledge they have of erosion and possibly relate to what they know of damage that was done by Hurricane Sandy or Hurricane Katrina. Save our Shore includes a two minute video show ...

  • This engineering activity (Lesson 3) is part of a unit on Earth’s Changing Surface, highlighting earthquakes and how humans can prepare and protect themselves from the forces of nature. The unit follows the 5E model where the students are engag ...

  • Students work in teams to design their own seismographs using everyday materials, (string, wire, paper, pencil, marker, pen, paper clips, glue, cardboard, poster board, foil, rubber bands, tape, pan or tray, clay) then test their design to recor ...

  • Students observe types of destruction that occur when an earthquake strikes an area in this 5E structured lesson. Students view teacher selected videos before comparing observed earthquake destruction depicted in the Seymour Simon book, Ear ...

  • Students learn about natural hazards and the means engineers have developed to detect these hazards as a means of preventing  natural disasters. Students match engineered natural disaster prevention devices with natural hazards they mi ...

  • Students use a table-top tsunami generator to test how different materials used in house models (created by students and the teacher) are impacted by a simulated tsunami. Students discuss the work of engineers who design buildings and use high-t ...

  • This informational text shows students how tsunamis form and behave. It also describes how scientists are collecting data to create models that can be used to predict tsunamis . Animations/computer models are also included to enhance student knowledg ...

  • Students investigate which building types are structured to withstand earthquake damage. They take on the role of engineers as they design their own earthquake resistant buildings, then test them in a simulated earthquake activity. Students also de ...

  • This activity helps to demonstrate the importance of rocks, soils, and minerals in engineering and how using the right material for the right job is important. The students build 3 different sand castles composed of varying amounts of sand, water, a ...

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