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Washington Standards for Fourth Grade Science

WA.1. Systems (SYS)

4-5.SYS. Complex Systems: In prior grades students learned to think systematically about how the parts of objects, plants, and animals are connected and work together. In grades 4-5 students learn that systems contain smaller (sub-) systems, and that systems are also parts of larger systems. The same ideas about systems and their parts learned in earlier grades apply to systems and subsystems. In addition, students learn about inputs and outputs and how to predict what may happen to a system if the system's inputs are changed. The concept of a hierarchy of systems provides a conceptual bridge for students to see the connections between mechanical systems (e.g., cities) and natural systems (e.g., ecosystems).

4-5.SYSA. Students know that systems contain subsystems.
4-5.SYSA.1. Students are expected to identify at least one of the subsystems of an object, plant, or animal (e.g., an airplane contains subsystems for propulsion, landing, and control).
4-5.SYSB. Students know that A system can do things that none of its subsystems can do by themselves.
4-5.SYSB.1. Students are expected to specify how a system can do things that none of its subsystems can do by themselves (e.g., a forest ecosystem can sustain itself, while the trees, soil, plant, and animal populations cannot).

WA.2. Inquiry (INQ)

4-5.INQ. Planning Investigations: In prior grades students learned to conduct different kinds of investigations. In grades 4-5 students learn to plan an investigation, which involves first selecting the appropriate kind of investigation to match the question being asked. One type of investigation is a controlled experiment (a -fair test). Others include systematic observation, field studies, and models and simulations. Students can also collect, display, and interpret data; summarize results; draw conclusions from evidence; and communicate their findings. Students are aware that scientific explanations emphasize evidence, involve logical arguments, and are consistent with scientific principles and theories. Students are also expected to communicate their findings and to critique the investigations of others with respect and intellectual honesty. These capabilities are essential in preparing students for the more extensive and rigorous investigations that they will be planning and conducting in middle school.

4-5.INQD. Investigate: Students know that investigations involve systematic collection and recording of relevant observations and data.
4-5.INQD.1. Students are expected to gather, record, and organize data using appropriate units, tables, graphs, or maps.
4-5.INQF. Models: Students know that a scientific model is a simplified representation of an object, event, system, or process created to understand some aspect of the natural world. When learning from a model, it is important to realize that the model is not exactly the same as the thing being modeled.
4-5.INQF.1. Students are expected to create a simple model to represent an event, system, or process.
4-5.INQF.2. Students are expected to use the model to learn something about the event, system, or process.
4-5.INQF.3. Students are expected to explain how the model is similar to and different from the thing being modeled.
4-5.INQG. Explain: Students know that scientific explanations emphasize evidence, have logically consistent arguments, and use known scientific principles, models, and theories.
4-5.INQG.1. Students are expected to generate a conclusion from a scientific investigation and show how the conclusion is supported by evidence and other scientific principles.
4-5.INQH. Communicate: Students know that scientists communicate the results of their investigations verbally and in writing. They review and ask questions about the results of other scientists' work.
4-5.INQH.1. Students are expected to display the findings of an investigation using tables, graphs, or other visual means to represent the data accurately and meaningfully.

WA.3. Application (APP)

4-5.APP. Different Technologies: In earlier grades, students learned to design a solution to a simple problem, using an elementary version of the technological design process. In grades 4-5 students learn to distinguish between science and technology and to work individually and collaboratively to produce a product of their own design. They learn that people in different cultures use different materials and technologies to meet their same daily needs and increase their understanding of tools and materials. Students also develop their abilities to define problems that can be solved by modifying or inventing technologies, to create and test their designs, and to communicate what they learned. These capabilities help students understand the value of science and technology to meet human needs and provide them with valuable skills for everyday life.

4-5.APPH. Students know that people of all ages, interests, and abilities engage in a variety of scientific and technological work.
4-5.APPH.1. Students are expected to describe several activities or careers that require people to apply their knowledge and abilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

WA.4. Earth and Space Science

ES1. Earth in Space

4-5.ES1. Earth in Space: In prior grades students learned that observing and recording the position and appearance of objects in the sky make it possible to discover patterns of motion. In grades 4-5 students learn the full implications of the spherical-Earth concept and Earth's place in the Solar System. The upper elementary years are an excellent time for study of the Earth in space because students have the intellectual capacity to grasp the spherical-Earth concept and the relationship between the Earth and Sun. This major set of concepts is a stepping-stone to a later understanding of all concepts in astronomy and space science and an essential element to further understanding of how the Earth and other planets formed.
4-5.ES1B. Students know that earth's daily spin relative to the Sun causes night and day.
4-5.ES1B.1. Students are expected to use a physical model or diagram to show that Earth's spin causes night and day.
4-5.ES1C. Students know that earth's nearly circular yearly orbit around the Sun causes us to see different constellations at different times of year.
4-5.ES1C.1. Students are expected to use a physical model or diagram to show how the different constellations are visible in different seasons, as a consequence of Earth orbiting the sun.
4-5.ES1D. Students know that the Sun is a star. It is the central and largest body in our Solar System. The Sun appears much brighter and larger in the sky than other stars because it is many thousands of times closer to Earth.
4-5.ES1D.1. Students are expected to identify that our Solar System contains only one star, the Sun.4-5.ES1D.2. Students are expected to explain that the Sun appears brighter and larger than any other star because it is very close to us.

ES2. Earth Systems, Structures, and Processes

4-5.ES2. Formation of Earth Materials: In prior years, students learned that water plays an essential role in Earth systems, including shaping landforms and weather. In grades 4-5 students learn how Earth materials change and how they can be used for various purposes. They learn that Earth materials include solid rocks and soil, water, and gases of the atmosphere. People use many of these materials as resources to meet their needs. One of the most important Earth resources is soil, since people depend on fertile soil to grow food. The processes that produce soils offer an excellent opportunity for students to understand how Earth materials change gradually over time, and provide a solid grounding for later study of landforms and large-scale changes of Earth's surface that students will learn in middle school.
4-5.ES2A. Students know that earth materials include solid rocks and soil, water, and gases of the atmosphere. Materials have different physical and chemical properties which make them useful in different ways. Earth materials provide many of the resources that humans use.
4-5.ES2A.2. Students are expected to explain how the properties of an Earth material make it useful for certain purposes, but not useful for other purposes (e.g., rocks are heavy and strong so they are good for building walls, but they are not as useful as lighter materials for roofs).
4-5.ES2B. Students know that weathering is the breaking down of rock into pebbles and sand caused by physical processes such as heating, cooling, and pressure, and chemical processes such as acid rain.
4-5.ES2B.1. Students are expected to describe and give examples of the physical and chemical processes of weathering of rock.
4-5.ES2C. Students know that erosion is the movement of Earth materials by forces such as wind, moving water, ice forming, and gravity.
4-5.ES2C.2. Students are expected to identify local examples where erosion has occurred and describe the most likely cause of the erosion.
4-5.ES2D. Students know that soils are formed by weathering and erosion, decay of plant matter, transport by rain through streams and rivers, and deposition of sediments in valleys, riverbeds, and lakes.
4-5.ES2D.1. Students are expected to explain how the formation of soils is related to the following processes: weathering of rock; decay of plant matter; transport by rain, streams, and rivers; deposition of sediments in rivers and lakes.
4-5.ES2F. Students know that erosion plays an important role in the formation of soil, but too much erosion can wash away fertile soil from ecosystems and farms.
4-5.ES2F.1. Students are expected to explain the role that erosion plays in forming soils and how erosion can also deplete soils.

ES3. Earth History

4-5.ES3. Focus on Fossils: In prior years, students learned that fossils represent the remains of plants and animals that lived long ago. In grades 4-5 students learn that fossils also provide evidence of environmental conditions that existed when the fossils formed. Most fossils are imprints formed when plants or animals died in a watery environment and were covered with mud that eventually hardened into rock. Fossils can also form in other ways, as when dissolved minerals seep into a piece of wood and harden into rock, or an animal is frozen in ice that never thaws. Fossils provide evidence of the kinds of plants and animals that lived on Earth in the past, as well as environmental conditions that prevailed at the time the fossils formed.
4-5.ES3A. Students know that different kinds of events caused the formation of different kinds of fossils.
4-5.ES3A.1. Students are expected to describe an event that could cause the formation of a given fossil (e.g., the plant or animal may have been buried in sediment that hardened into rock and left an imprint, or dissolved minerals may have seeped into a piece of wood and hardened into rock).

WA.4. Life Science

LS1. Structures and Functions of Living Organisms

4-5.LS1. Structures and Behaviors: In prior years, students learned that all plants and animals have life cycles. In grades 4-5 students learn that plants and animals have different structures that work together to respond to various internal and external needs. Students compare various human and animal structures and reflect on how the different structures enable the organism to respond to external and internal needs. Students also learn that healthy body structures depend on good nutrition. These concepts are stepping-stones to later understanding of how structures are built up from cells.
4-5.LS1A. Students know that plants and animals can be sorted according to their structures and behaviors.
4-5.LS1A.1. Students are expected to sort plants and animals according to their structures (e.g., presence of hair, feathers, or scales on their skin) and behaviors (e.g., grazing, hunting, or diving for food).
4-5.LS1B. Students know that plants and animals have different structures and behaviors that serve different functions.
4-5.LS1B.2. Students are expected to describe the function of a given animal behavior (e.g., salmon swim upstream to spawn, owls hunt at night when prey are vulnerable).
4-5.LS1C. Students know that certain structures and behaviors enable plants and animals to respond to changes in their environment.
4-5.LS1C.1. Students are expected to give examples of how plants and animals respond to their environment (e.g., many plants grow toward the light, animals hide when they see a predator).
4-5.LS1D. Students know that plants and animals have structures and behaviors that respond to internal needs.
4-5.LS1D.1. Students are expected to give examples of how plants and animals respond to internal needs (e.g., plants wilt when they don't have water; animals seek food when they are hungry).

LS2. Ecosystems

4-5.LS2. Food Webs: In prior grades students learned that ecosystems include both plant and animal populations as well as nonliving resources, and that plants and animals depend on one another and on the nonliving resources in their ecosystem to survive. In grades 4-5 students learn how ecosystems change and how these changes affect the capacity of an ecosystem to support populations. Some changes in ecosystems are caused by the organisms themselves. The ability of any organism to survive will depend on its characteristics and behaviors. Humans also play an important role in many ecosystems and may reduce negative impacts through thoughtful use of natural resources. Concepts related to ecosystems, including food webs, make it possible for students to understand the interrelationships among various forms of life and between living things and their environment.
4-5.LS2A. Students know that an ecosystem includes all of the populations of living organisms and nonliving physical factors in a given area. Living organisms depend on one another and the nonliving physical factors in their ecosystem to help them survive.
4-5.LS2A.1. Students are expected to identify the living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.4-5.LS2A.2. Students are expected to give examples to show how the plants and animals depend on one another for survival (e.g., worms decompose waste and return nutrients to the soil, which helps plants grow).4-5.LS2A.3. Students are expected to describe how the plants and animals in an ecosystem depend on nonliving resources.
4-5.LS2B. Students know that plants make their own food using energy from the sun. Animals get food energy by eating plants and/or other animals that eat plants. Plants make it possible for animals to use the energy of sunlight.
4-5.LS2B.1. Students are expected to explain that plants make their own food, and animals, including humans, get food by eating plants and/or eating other animals.
4-5.LS2C. Students know that plants and animals are related in food webs with producers (plants that make their own food), consumers (animals that eat producers and/or other animals), and decomposers (primarily bacteria and fungi) that break down wastes and dead organisms, and return nutrients to the soil.
4-5.LS2C.1. Students are expected to draw a simple food web given a list of three common organisms. Draw arrows properly and identify the producers and consumers.4-5.LS2C.2. Students are expected to compare the roles of producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem.
4-5.LS2D. Students know that ecosystems can change slowly or rapidly. Big changes over a short period of time can have a major impact on the ecosystem and the populations of plants and animals living there.
4-5.LS2D.1. Students are expected to apply knowledge of a plant or animal's relationship to its ecosystem and to other plants and animals to predict whether and how a slow or rapid change in the ecosystem might affect the population of that plant or animal.
4-5.LS2E. Students know that all plants and animals change the ecosystem where they live. If this change reduces another organism's access to resources, that organism may move to another location or die.
4-5.LS2E.1. Students are expected to describe how one population may affect other plants and/or animals in the ecosystem (e.g., increase in Scotch Broom replaces native plants normally eaten by butterfly caterpillars, reducing the butterfly population).
4-5.LS2F. Students know that people affect ecosystems both positively and negatively.
4-5.LS2F.2. Students are expected to describe ways that humans can harm the health of ecosystems (e.g., overuse of fertilizers, littering, not recycling)

LS3. Biological Evolution

4-5.LS3. Heredity and Adaptation: In prior grades students learned about variations in inherited characteristics. In grades 4-5 students learn that some differences in inherited characteristics may help plants and animals survive and reproduce. Sexual reproduction results in offspring that are never identical to either of their parents and therefore contributes to a species' ability to adapt to changing conditions. Heredity is a key feature of living plants and animals that enables changes in characteristics to be passed on and for species to change over time. Fossils provide evidence of what ancient extinct plants and animals looked like.
4-5.LS3A. Students know that in any ecosystem, some populations of organisms thrive and grow, some decline, and others do not survive at all.
4-5.LS3A.1. Students are expected to list some reasons why some populations may not survive as well as others.

WA.4. Physical Science

PS1. Force and Motion

4-5.PS1. Measurement of Force and Motion: In prior grades students learned that forces work not only to push and pull objects, but also to affect objects when they are dropped or thrown. In grades 4-5 students learn how to use basic tools to measure the fundamental quantities of force, time, and distance. Force can be measured with a spring scale. Distance and time can be measured by a variety of methods, and the results can be used to compare the motion of two objects. Focusing on accuracy of measurement, recording of data and logical conclusions from the data provide the foundation for future years when students will undertake more complex investigations.
4-5.PS1A. Students know that the weight of an object is a measure of how strongly it is pulled down toward the ground by gravity. A spring scale can measure the pulling force.
4-5.PS1A.1. Students are expected to use a spring scale to measure the weights of several objects accurately. Explain that the weight of an object is a measure of the force of gravity on the object. Record the measurements in a table.
4-5.PS1B. Students know that the relative speed of two objects can be determined in two ways: (1) If two objects travel for the same amount of time, the object that has traveled the greatest distance is the fastest. (2) If two objects travel the same distance, the object that takes the least time to travel the distance is the fastest.
4-5.PS1B.1. Students are expected to measure the distance that an object travels in a given interval of time and compare it with the distance that another object moved in the same interval of time to determine which is fastest.4-5.PS1B.2. Students are expected to measure the time it takes two objects to travel the same distance and determine which is fastest.

PS2. Matter: Properties and Change

4-5.PS2. States of Matter: In prior grades students learned to identify different physical properties of matter and to realize that an object may be made from several different types of materials. In grades 4-5 students learn that a given substance may exist in different states-solid, liquid, and gas-and that many substances can be changed from one state to another. This understanding of matter lays the foundation for later explanations of matter in terms of atomic theory.
4-5.PS2A. Students know that substances can exist in different physical states-solid, liquid, and gas. Many substances can be changed from one state to another by heating or cooling.
4-5.PS2A.1. Students are expected to explain that water is still the same substance when it is frozen as ice or evaporated and becomes a gas.
4-5.PS2C. Students know that the total amount of matter is conserved (stays the same) when it undergoes a physical change such as when an object is broken into tiny pieces, when a solid is dissolved in a liquid, or when matter changes state (solid, liquid, gas).
4-5.PS2C.1. Students are expected to explain that dissolved substances have not disappeared, and cite evidence to determine that the substance is still there (e.g., sprinkle sugar on cereal, add milk, and you can taste it even though you can no longer see the sugar).

PS3. Energy: Transfer, Transformation and Conservation

4-5.PS3. Heat, Light, Sound, and Electricity: In prior grades students learned to identify several different forms of energy. In grades 4-5 students build on their intuitive understanding of energy and learn how heat, light, sound, and electrical energy are generated and can be transferred from place to place. For example, they can observe that energy of motion can be transferred from one object to another. They can observe how heat energy is generated and moves from a warmer to a cooler place, and how sound can be produced by vibrations in the throat or guitar strings or other forms of vibration. They can also see that electrical energy can do many things, including producing light, heat, and sound, and can make things move. This introduction to the many forms of energy helps to prepare students for later studies of energy transformation and conservation.
4-5.PS3A. Students know that energy has many forms, such as heat, light, sound, motion, and electricity.
4-5.PS3A.1. Students are expected to identify different forms of energy (e.g., heat, light, sound, motion, electricity) in a system.
4-5.PS3B. Students know that energy can be transferred from one place to another.
4-5.PS3B.1. Students are expected to draw and label diagrams showing several ways that energy can be transferred from one place to another (e.g., sound energy passing through air, electrical energy through a wire, heat energy conducted through a frying pan, light energy through space).
4-5.PS3C. Students know that heat energy can be generated a number of ways and can move (transfer) from one place to another. Heat energy is transferred from warmer things to colder things.
4-5.PS3C.2. Students are expected to give examples of two different ways that heat energy can move from one place to another, and explain which direction the heat moves (e.g., when placing a pot on the stove, heat moves from the hot burner to the cooler pot).
4-5.PS3D. Students know that sound energy can be generated by making things vibrate.
4-5.PS3D.1. Students are expected to demonstrate how sound can be generated by vibrations, and explain how sound energy is transferred through the air from a source to an observer.
4-5.PS3E. Students know that electrical energy in circuits can be changed to other forms of energy, including light, heat, sound, and motion. Electric circuits require a complete loop through conducting materials in which an electric current can pass.
4-5.PS3E.1. Students are expected to connect wires to produce a complete circuit involving a battery and at least one other electrical component to produce observable change (e.g., light a bulb, sound a buzzer, and make a bell ring).4-5.PS3E.2. Students are expected to repair an electric circuit by completing a closed loop.4-5.PS3E.3. Students are expected to describe how electrical energy is transferred from one place to another, and how it is transformed from electrical energy to different kinds of energy in the circuit above.