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Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. 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

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


  • W.4.7 - Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic. (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-PS3-4)


  • 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)

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 hands-on activity, students apply the engineering design process to create prototype toys with moving parts. They set up electric circuits using batteries, wire, and motors, and plan project materials to meet budget constraints. This act ...

  • In this lesson, students will learn that waterwheels are machines that convert the energy of falling water into power that can grind wheat into flour, saw timber, and make work easier. After investigating what this technology can do, students create ...

  •   This activity builds on student learning from the related resource “Designing Electric Circuits: Hidden Alarm.” Students use the engineering design process to develop a solution to a problem: how to create a dance pad that light ...

  • In this lesson students use the engineering design process to develop a solution to a problem: how to use a circuit to create a hidden alarm.  Students are encouraged to develop their own ideas of what problems they want to solve with their alar ...

  • 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 ...

  • 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 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 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 ...

  • 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 ...

  • 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 ...

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  • Students will examine the growth, composition, history, and uses of corn through a close reading activity, discussion of renewable and non-renewable resources, and hands-on exploration of bioplastics made from corn.

  • From TeachEngineering - Students learn about providing healthcare in a global setting and the importance of wearing protective equipment when treating patients with infectious diseases like Ebola. They learn about biohazard suits, heat transfer throu...

  • From TeachEngineering - As part of a design challenge, students learn how to use a rotation sensor (located inside the casing of a LEGO® MINDSTORMS ® EV3 motor) to measure how far a robot moves with each rotation. Through experimentation and measurem...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students design and build a model city powered by the sun! They learn about the benefits of solar power, and how architectural and building engineers integrate photovoltaic panels into the design of buildings.

  • From TeachEngineering - Students observe a model waterwheel to investigate the transformations of energy involved in turning the blades of a hydro-turbine. They work as engineers to create model waterwheels while considering resources such as time an...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students learn about using renewable energy from the sun for heating and cooking as they build and compare the performance of four solar cooker designs. They explore the concepts of insulation, reflection, absorption, conducti...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students learn how engineers transform wind energy into electrical energy by building their own miniature wind turbines and measuring the electrical current they produce. They explore how design and position affect the electri...

  • From TeachEngineering - Working as if they are engineers who work for (the hypothetical) Build-a-Toy Workshop company, students apply their imaginations and the engineering design process to design and build prototype toys with moving parts. They set...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students construct small-sized model rocket-powered boats—"aqua-thrusters"—that are made from film canisters propelled by carbon dioxide gas produced from a chemical reaction between antacid tablets and water. They make predic...

  • Part of 4th grade energy unit. I adapted the typical lesson structure to give it an engineering feel and allow students to apply the engineering design process we've been using in STEM class. For the exit ticket, I showed them a desk lamp plugged int...

  • Scientists and Engineers are Diligent

  • Scientists and Engineers are Inspired

  • Scientists and Engineers are Thinkers

  • Developing and Using Models

  • Scientists and Engineers are Imaginative

  • Scientists and Engineers are Patient

  • Scientists and Engineers are Visionary

  • Scientists and Engineers are Confident

  • Scientists and Engineers are Courageous

  • Scientists and Engineers are Innovative

  • Scientists and Engineers are Clever

  • Scientists and Engineers are Inventive

  • Scientists and Engineers are Persistent

  • Scientists and Engineers are Creative

  • Scientists and Engineers are Fearless

  • Scientists and Engineers are Risk Takers

  • Scientists and Engineers Use Design Process

  • Scientists and Engineers Use Idea Development

  • Scientists and Engineers Use Modification

  • Connecting literacy and science through an elementary biomimicry lesson. Upper elementary unit that combines literacy and science in an engaging manner where students solve a real-world problem by mimicking nature.

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