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  • 4th Grade

    Energy

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

ELA/Literacy

  • 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)

Mathematics

  • 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 this lesson, students use the engineering design process to solve a problem. They have to figure out how to design a device that will enable them to listen to a mystery sound that is being made by a device hidden in an insulated box. Through this ...

  •   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 ...

  • This YouTube video shows how to create a paper spiral that will spin as a result of heat produced from a lamp using an incandescent bulb. Teachers can use this video to recreate the device and perform a classroom demonst ...

  • This two-part lesson plan focuses on the question, "How can you plan and conduct an experiment to explain how speeds change when objects collide?" It is the second lesson of a unit developed to explore this question. The lesson starts with ...

  • This resource is part of a two unit curriculum designed for fourth-graders using the 5E Instructional Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate) to support students as they investigate the effect that height and other variables hav ...

  • 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 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 ...

  • 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 ...

  • 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.
  • When I teach sound or first introduce students to the idea of observation using our listening skills, I use two different videos. This is the first one. It is a video where Andrew Shum uses 10 different household objects to create a modern music vide...

  • This is the second video I use when introducing the concept of sound or when I want to give the students practice on using their listening skills. I follow the same method as for the first video where I hide the video and ask the students to guess...

  • Future Goals - Hockey Scholar™ brings science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts to life using the exciting, fast-paced game of hockey. Through immersive real-life simulations, students build their understanding of fundamental STE...

  • 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...

  • PowerPoint used within the session. Notes on the slides contain all links, videos and activity guides.

  • This is a set of 12 science posters. They make a good supplement for many Next Generation Science lessons. There is one poster for kinetic energy and one for potential energy. These are the two major categories under which all types of energy fall. T...

  • Lessons in these units: Unit 1 Earth's Systems Lesson 1 - Introduction to Earth Changes Lesson 2 - Weathering Lesson 3 - Erosion Lesson 4 - Review of Weathering and Erosion Lesson 5 - Exploring Topographical Maps Unit 2 Earth's P...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students use potatoes to light an LED clock (or light bulb) as they learn how a battery works in a simple circuit and how chemical energy changes to electrical energy. As they learn more about electrical energy, they better un...

  • From TeachEngineering - That heat flows from hot to cold is an unavoidable truth of life. People have put a lot of effort into stopping this natural physical behavior, however all they have been able to do is slow the process. Student teams investiga...

  • 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 - Students conduct a simple experiment to model and explore the harmful effects of acid rain (vinegar) on living (green leaf and eggshell) and non-living (paper clip) objects.

  • 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...

  • From TeachEngineering - Through a teacher demonstration using water, heat and food coloring, students see how convection moves the energy of the Sun from its core outwards. Students learn about the three different modes of heat transfer—convection, c...

  • From TeachEngineering - In this activity, students learn how engineers use solar energy to heat buildings by investigating the thermal storage properties of some common materials: sand, salt, water and shredded paper. Students then evaluate the usefu...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students explore how different materials (sand, gravel, lava rock) with different water contents on different slopes result in landslides of different severity. They measure the severity by how far the landslide debris extends...

  • From TeachEngineering - To further their understanding of sound energy, students identify the different pitches and frequencies created by a vibrating ruler and a straw kazoo. They create high- and low-pitch sound waves.

  • 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...

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