In the 21st century a person must be armed with a science overview to adapt to the extraordinary changes that will occur, to be employed by the new industries that will emerge, and to participate in the decisions that society will make. The key is education and programs such as Science and Technology for Children (STC) and Full Option Science Systems (FOSS) to give every student science content and science process needed to develop scientific literacy.
Our elementary science program places an emphasis on acquiring skills, knowledge and attitudes toward science through active involvement in hands-on activities. The heart of the program is problem solving. Students are actively engaged in situations which begin with their questions and take them through the process of inquiry. Students gather information to help them find answers to their questions using the data they have collected.
Because many of the ideas being studied have direct relation to other disciplines, students are encouraged to make connections. We provide literature and other resources to foster such connections. Teachers are encouraged to enrich science instruction with topics of interest to their students and themselves. The catalyst for such studies may be student-generated questions, teacher or parent interest or current events. Problem solving is the common thread which ties these topical studies to our core curriculum.
Teachers assess student progress by observing their development as observers, hypothesizers, careful data gatherers and generalizers and by watching them work, reviewing their journals, and assessing their written and oral responses.
Our core program includes a unit of study that includes hands-on activities, specific scientific skill development (observing, measuring, comparing, predicting, estimating, and describing), problem solving, and assessment.
In grade four the topics are ELECTRIC CIRCUITS and CHEMICAL TESTS. In the ELECTRIC CIRCUITS unit students expand their understanding of electricity through investigations with wires, batteries, bulbs and switches. They gain experience in constructing circuits by manipulating materials to replicate and create models. In the CHEMICAL TEST unit fourth graders are introduced to the science of chemistry, and are challenged to explore and determine the identity of five common household chemicals: sugar, alum, talc, baking soda, and cornstarch. Students develop basic laboratory skills; strengthen their ability to collect, record, and organize data; and learn about laboratory safety.
The NYS Grade 4 science assessment is administered in May and June.
Always building upon prior knowledge and understandings, students will use the following vocabulary words in the study of science in grade four:
- chemical property
- parallel circuit
- physical change
- physical properties
- series circuit