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Science, 2009
  Grade: 4-5
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EALR 1: Systems.  Big Idea: Systems (SYS).  Core Content:  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).
EALR 2: Inquiry.  Big Idea: Inquiry (INQ).  Core Content:  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.
EALR 3: Application.  Big Idea: Application (APP).  Core Content:  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.
EALR 4: Physical Science.  Big Idea: Force and Motion (PS1).  Core Content:  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.
EALR 4: Physical Science.  Big Idea: Matter: Properties and Change (PS2).  Core Content:  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.
EALR 4: Physical Science.  Big Idea: Energy: Transfer, Transformation, and Conservation (PS3).  Core Content:  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.
EALR 4: Earth and Space Science.  Big Idea: Earth in Space (ES1).  Core Content:  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.
EALR 4: Earth and Space Science.  Big Idea: Earth Systems Structures and Processes (ES2).  Core Content:  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.
EALR 4: Earth and Space Science.  Big Idea: Earth History (ES3).  Core Content:  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.
EALR 4: Life Science.  Big Idea: Structures and Functions of Living Organisms (LS1).  Core Content:  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.
EALR 4: Life Science.  Big Idea: Ecosystems (LS2).  Core Content:  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.
EALR 4: Life Science.  Big Idea: Biological Evolution (LS3).  Core Content:  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.