Fourth graders take their science skills further as they conduct experiments and use these experiments to further their learning. In addition, the reading and writing work 4th graders do greatly supports their science learning—they read non-fiction texts, take notes, research, and support their writing with facts. In fact, some 4th grade students might write informative or opinion pieces about a scientific topic they study. As in other grades, the specific topics studied in science vary by state. However, common topics studied in 4th grade include: earth and space; plants; the cycle of life; animals; electricity and magnetism; and motion and sound. Students also often learn about these topics in relation to their location and where they live. Consult your child’s teacher or research your state’s science standards for more details.
In order to build science skills your 4th grader:
- Conducts experiments using the scientific method (there are many different ways people present "the scientific method," but here's a basic example):
- Questions, observes, and researches
- Develops a hypothesis (based on observations and research)
- Makes predictions
- Develops a conclusion
- Develops further questions to research and experiment with based on previously done experiments and previously realized conclusions.
- Writes about and orally presents the findings and conclusion of an experiment.
- Researches and takes notes on information on a variety of topics using both text and digital resources.
- Collects and uses data to support experiments and what he learns.
- Experiments with different types of materials and different states of matter such as solid, liquid, and gas.
- Works independently, in partnerships, in small groups, and as a class to conduct experiments and create projects.
Science Activities: 4th Grade
- Experiment: Find something that interests your child, such as the weather, plants, a garden you may be growing, sound, or motion. Work with your child to use the scientific method as described above to learn about and experiment with this project. Record each step, beginning with research and ending with the conclusion. You can also do more experiments based on questions or observations that come from your experiment.
- Hypothesize: Before doing anything, such as adding one liquid to another or putting something in the water, ask your child to hypothesize what she thinks will happen. Ask her to explain why she thinks this.
- Take a Hike: Visit a local park or hiking site and encourage your child to make observations, describe what she notices, and ask questions. Pay particular attention to the natural objects you find (like rock formations and plants) and use these observations for further research.
- Learn How Something Works: Choose a technology or machine with your child and research—both with books and information online—how that object works. Then create a model, diagram, or video of how that object works.