Fourth grade students use investigations to learn about the natural world. While studying physical science, students learn about matter, and how to compare, contrast and measure changes in physical materials. They also explore force and motion, and investigate different forms of energy.
Students have numerous opportunities to measure, compare and contrast the physical characteristics of different materials, including size, mass, volume, states (solid, liquid, gas), temperature, magnetism, the ability to sink or float, and changes caused by heating and cooling. Students also create and examine a variety of mixtures and solutions. The use of different tools to collect, record and analyze information is emphasized.
By fourth grade, students are ready to learn that energy exists in many forms, including mechanical, sound, electrical, light, and heat/thermal. They begin in-depth explorations of electricity, such as building electrical circuits, and they learn about conductors and insulators. Students also design an experiment to test the effect of a force on an object.