Big Idea 1: The Practice of Science

A: Scientific inquiry is a multifaceted activity; The processes of science include the formulation of scientifically investigable questions, construction of investigations into those questions, the collection of appropriate data, the evaluation of the meaning of those data, and the communication of this evaluation.

B: The processes of science frequently do not correspond to the traditional portrayal of "the scientific method."

C: Scientific argumentation is a necessary part of scientific inquiry and plays an important role in the generation and validation of scientific knowledge.

D: Scientific knowledge is based on observation and inference; it is important to recognize that these are very different things. Not only does science require creativity in its methods and processes, but also in its questions and explanations.

General Information
Number: SC.4.N.1
Title: The Practice of Science
Type: Big Idea
Subject: Science
Grade: 4
Body of Knowledge: Nature of Science

Related Benchmarks

This cluster includes the following benchmarks.

Related Access Points

This cluster includes the following access points.

Independent

SC.4.N.1.In.1
Ask a question about the natural world and use selected reference material to find information, observe, explore, and identify findings.
SC.4.N.1.In.2
Compare own observations with observations of others.
SC.4.N.1.In.3
Relate findings to predefined science questions.
SC.4.N.1.In.4
Communicate observations and findings through the use of pictures, writing, or charts.
SC.4.N.1.In.5
Recognize that scientists perform experiments, make observations, and gather evidence.

Supported

SC.4.N.1.Su.1
Ask a question about the natural world, explore materials, observe, and share information.
SC.4.N.1.Su.2
Identify information based on observations of self and others.
SC.4.N.1.Su.3
Answer questions about objects and actions related to science.
SC.4.N.1.Su.4
Record observations using drawings, dictation, or pictures.
SC.4.N.1.Su.5
Recognize ways that scientists collect evidence, such as by observations or measuring.

Participatory

SC.4.N.1.Pa.1
Explore, observe, and select an object or picture to solve a simple problem.
SC.4.N.1.Pa.2
Recognize differences in objects or pictures.
SC.4.N.1.Pa.4
Recognize that people share information about science.
SC.4.N.1.Pa.3
Select an object or picture to represent observed events.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this topic.

Assessment

Let's Go to a Party Puzzles:

This is a set of questions about famous inventions/scientific concepts and the scientists who discovered/researched them. It contains a short biography of each scientist as well.

Type: Assessment

Formative Assessments

Packing Materials:

Students will test the solubility of different items used in packing. Based on their observations, the student will explain which of the materials would be least harmful to the environment. The task assesses students' ability to make simple observations and make generalized inferences from their observations

Type: Formative Assessment

Bounce Back Ball:

Students will be working in teams of four to measure the rebound heights of a tennis ball dropped from four different heights. Students will be investigating with the bouncing balls to measure changes in the type of energy they possess.

Type: Formative Assessment

Testing Food:

Students determine the relative amounts of oils in food. They then apply their understanding to an additional situation. The task assesses students' abilities to make simple observations, make generalized inferences from their observations, and apply their understanding to an additional situation.

Type: Formative Assessment

Lesson Plans

Just Right Goldilocks’ Café: Temperature & Turbidity:

This is lesson 3 of 3 in the Goldilocks’ Café Just Right unit. This lesson focuses on systematic investigation on getting a cup of coffee to be the “just right” temperature and turbidity level. Students will use both the temperature probe and turbidity sensor and code using ScratchX during their investigation.

Type: Lesson Plan

Just Right Goldilocks’ Café: Turbidity:

This is lesson 2 of 3 in the Just Right Goldilocks’ Café unit. This lesson focuses on systematic investigation on getting a cup of coffee to be the “just right” level of turbidity. Students will use turbidity sensors and code using ScratchX during their investigation.

Type: Lesson Plan

Just Right Goldilocks’ Café: Temperature:

This is lesson 1 of 3 in the Just Right Goldilocks’ Café unit. This lesson focuses on systematic investigation on getting a cup of coffee to be the “just right” temperature. Students will use temperature probes and code using ScratchX during their investigation.

 

Type: Lesson Plan

Rocks:

Students will use their knowledge of minerals and the rock cycle to analyze the rocks on three available sites for a new skate park. After analyzing each rock site, they will write a one page recommendation that will explain the classification of the rock and why it is the best for option for building. In addition, they will create a product plan that contains information on the rocks, their history and their uses. Student groups will present to fellow group members then each student will evaluate the products.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Fast and the Curious:

In this lesson the students learn about wind energy and how it transforms through kinetic energy by designing a wind-powered model car.

Type: Lesson Plan

Dune or Doom: The Effects of Wind Erosion on Sand Dunes:

In this lesson, students will address the following real-world problem of sand dune erosion while integrating Engineering Design concepts:

Florida’s coastline has been ravaged by winds from hurricanes, resulting in damage to sand dunes and oceanfront properties. Your mission is to design the most effective barrier that would limit the amount of sand displaced from our tall sand dunes and prevent further damage to oceanfront buildings. Your designs can help us save the sand dunes before they are blown away!

Type: Lesson Plan

Building up Beaches:

In this STEM build, students will use problem solving skills and teamwork to model an effective way of slowing down beach erosion caused by the ocean. Students also will practice sharing their results through PowerPoint presentations.

Type: Lesson Plan

Friction: Friend or Foe?:

In this lesson, students will learn how different variables (mass, friction, and force) affect the motion of an object.

Type: Lesson Plan

Washed Away:

In this Engineering Design Challenge lesson, students will create a model beach and use different materials to find a solution to slow down the erosion process.

Type: Lesson Plan

"Life's a Breeze!":

In this Engineering Design Challenge, students must design a vessel that will carry passengers safely and quickly across a body of water by harnessing the power of the wind. Students will be given the opportunity to test and improve their vessels as they apply various math and science skills.

Type: Lesson Plan

Heating Up the Neighborhood:

This Engineering Design Challenge is intended to help students apply the concepts of heat insulators as they build a model house and test different materials to use as insulators, stopping the warm air from escaping and keeping the cool air out. Students will also have an opportunity to use technology in their exploration of heat energy.

Type: Lesson Plan

Sound Vibrations Using the Engineering Design Process:

This lesson uses the engineering design process to guide students through the exploration of sound energy and pitch. The design challenge is to produce a low-pitch tone by using different containers and liquids. Students must also create a budget to purchase supplies.

Type: Lesson Plan

Set Sail with STEM: Exploring Wind and Water Movement as Energy with Sailboats:

Come sail away with this STEM activity! Students will use hands-on inquiry to find out more about wind and its effect on sails. Through trial and error and based on data collected, students will design, build, and race their own vessel or "sailboat" across the boundless waters of a kiddie pool. Students should gain a better understanding of how moving water and air are sources of energy and can propel objects forward at varying rates of speed.

Type: Lesson Plan

Planet Hoppers, Inc: A Space Suit Design Company:

Students are asked to evaluate several space suit designs and select the best design based on given data. Students work in collaborative groups to develop a procedure for selecting the best design and share their ideas with the rest of the class. A twist is introduced and the groups are challenged to test the validity of their procedure.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Creating an Original Experiment!:

This lesson should take place once a student is familiar with the scientific method and has previously participated in various science experiments. In this lesson, the students will work in small groups to design and carry out an experiment using common classroom materials.

Type: Lesson Plan

Protecting the Dream:

Students in the MEA will work together in teams to determine a procedure for selecting a company from which to purchase a set of protective gear for skating. Students will make using their problem solving skills to make decisions based on a table that includes companies, price per set, durability, comfort.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Mrs. Thinkwell's Dilemma:

Mrs. Thinkwell is a 4th grade teacher, but she is having a hard time keeping her students engaged during the science lessons. The science lectures are just not working. Of course, there are a few students who seem to be doing well, but there are so many who are underachieving. She could not figure out the problem. Her principal suggested giving the students a multiple intelligence (MI) assessment and possibly utilizing small groups for instruction. She decided to try the MI assessment and received the results; but she still was unsure of what that meant for her classroom. Mrs. Thinkwell wants to utilize small groups in her classroom, but did not know the best way to group the students based primarily on their multiple intelligences.

Students will help Mrs. Thinkwell by creating groups of students based on a class data set of MI Assessment results.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Wind at Work: Wind as a Renewable Resource:

This is an Engineering Design Project that follows the CIS: Wind at Work Lesson. This is lesson two of two in the Unit and builds upon the understanding of wind as a natural resource. It is applying content knowledge and is not intended as an initial introduction to the benchmarks.

Type: Lesson Plan

Glow Kitty, Glow!:

This lesson studies the emerging science of using glow technology (phosphorescence and fluorescence) to improve the well-being of living things. Students will be introduced to the Glow Kitten and other animals that are naturally bioluminescent or have been modified by human impact. Then students will take part in their own investigation and create a glowing carnation while considering ways this technology can be used in their own lives. Along the way, students will research books, articles, and websites and use journal entries to record their learning. Finally, students will create their own advertisement highlighting their glowing carnation and its amazing uses!

Type: Lesson Plan

Who's to Blame? Me or My Parents?:

This is an integrated science and reading lesson. This lesson is intended as a beginning of year lesson to give students the foundation in some of the practice of science and writing standards. Students will conduct an investigation on inherited traits and use evidence from a research article and their investigation to support their findings.

Type: Lesson Plan

What Makes 'Em Move: By Water or Air:

In this lesson, 4th grade students read and discuss to determine differences and similarities between machines that transfer energy from renewable natural resources: water (hydro) and air (wind). This lesson also includes independent access point for this standard.

Type: Lesson Plan

Dissect It!:

After dissecting a flower(s), the students will be able to identify the parts necessary for pollination, or reproduction of flowering plants. They will also make comparisons and find patterns in nature, leading them to the understanding of the processes of sexual reproduction in flowering plants, including pollination and fertilization (seed production).

Type: Lesson Plan

Did It Change?:

Through demonstrations and lab/investigate rotations, students will explore physical and chemical changes.

Type: Lesson Plan

Rollercoaster Investigations:

This activity will allow students to explore the motion and speed of an object. While constructing a rollercoaster and using the Scientific Method, students will create their own question and then investigate it, finding out whether the speed of an object is affected by the track it follows.

Type: Lesson Plan

Save Our Sand--An Engineer/Design Challenge:

This Engineering Design Challenge is intended to help students apply the concepts of weathering and erosion from SC.4.E.6.4 as they build devices to stop beach erosion. It is not intended as an initial introduction to this benchmark.

Type: Lesson Plan

Wind Sculptures - An Engineering Design Challenge:

This Engineering Design Challenge is intended to help students apply the concept of how moving air is a source of energy and can be used to move things. It is not intended as an initial introduction to this benchmark.

Type: Lesson Plan

Cube Cooler—An Engineering Design Challenge:

This Engineering Design Challenge is intended to help students apply the concepts of heat insulators from SC.4.P.11.2 as they build cube-coolers to slow the melting rate of ice. It is not intended as an initial introduction to this benchmark.

Type: Lesson Plan

Florida's First Engineers-An Engineering Design Challenge:

This Engineering Design Challenge is intended to introduce students to Native Floridians, their basic needs, and the challenges they faced in Florida's environment. Students will be designing and constructing a tool out of Florida native materials (items found in Florida's environment) that could meet one of the basic needs of humans. They will be discussing whether Native Floridians were engineers based on their ability to construct tools and shelters out of native materials in order to solve problems.

Type: Lesson Plan

Cemented Together:

In this activity the students will create their own sedimentary rock using glue and various pieces of sediments found throughout the school yard. The students will create a model of a sedimentary rock and describe how they would identify a sedimentary rock in the real world.

Type: Lesson Plan

Honey Bee Human--an Engineering Design Challenge:

This Engineering Design Challenge is intended to help students apply the concepts of pollination from SC.4.L.16.1 as they design an apparatus that will pollinate a field. It is not intended as an initial introduction to this benchmark.

In this Engineering Design Challenge, students will make a 2-dimensional model (a graphic illustration) rather than build a prototype.

Type: Lesson Plan

Magnets 2: How Strong is Your Magnet:

This lesson is to experimentally measure the strength of a magnet and to graph how the strength changes as the distance from the magnet increases, and to also observe how a barrier (masking tape), built between the magnet and an iron object, will affect the strength of the magnet.

Type: Lesson Plan

Observing a Physical Change:

In this lesson, students are shown the difference between physical and chemical changes by dissolving and crushing seltzer tablets. Students learn to recognize that physical changes involved changes in size, shape, or texture, while chemical changes involve the formation of a new substance.

Type: Lesson Plan

Exploring Water:

In this lesson, students record their observations of water in all of its phases.

Type: Lesson Plan

Designing Windmills:

In this lesson, students engage in an engineering design contest to design and create a windmill that will lift a load.

Type: Lesson Plan

Exploring Magnets:

In this lesson, students observe and record their observations of magnets attracting and repelling each other and other objects..

Type: Lesson Plan

Predator and Prey:

In this lesson the students will learn about a predator/prey relationship. They will learn about the role that plants and animals play in their ecosystem and what each role is called. The students will also learn about the limiting factors each ecosystem possesses that prevent any species population from becoming too large.

Type: Lesson Plan

The Lunar Cycle:

In this lesson, students learn about the Moon's changing appearance and its pattern of movement. Through class discussion, activities, and multimedia resources, students explore the phases of the Moon and are introduced to the concept of orbital motion. The Moon, Earth's only natural satellite, is easily observed with the naked eye. Over the course of one month, students observe and investigate its full range of appearances and its pattern of movement in the sky. Students then model the sun, earth and moon system in the classroom.

Type: Lesson Plan

Does Soap Float?:

In this science inquiry lesson, students will form hypotheses and carry out an investigation in order to answer a central question: Does soap float?

Type: Lesson Plan

Discovering Dinosaurs:

Students will examine evidence of dinosaurs, from which students will write a theory. Their theory must be supported by evidence. Students will then present their theory for a class discussion.

Type: Lesson Plan

Caution! School's a Zoo!:

This is a fun science lesson that teaches children about inherited animal behaviors through observation and direct instruction. Students then use their new skills to write a news article explaining what school might be like if teachers or students had different inherited and learned behaviors. This lesson can be integrated into reading and includes an opportunity for writing across the curriculum.

Type: Lesson Plan

Introduction To The Nature Journal:

In the lessons here, students exercise the observation skills that are essential to writing, visual art, and science. First, they try to use evocative language in describing pictures of birds from the Smithsonian's National Zoo. They go on to record observations and to make hypotheses as they follow the behavior of animals on the National Zoo's live webcams. They can watch the giant pandas, the tigers, the cheetahs, the gorillas, or any of a dozen other species.

Type: Lesson Plan

It's Too Hot In Here:

Students explore and investigate the theory that heat flow and movement within Earth causes earthquakes and volcanic eruptions as well as contributes to mountains and ocean basins. Students will examine: surface structures, tectonic plate maps, volcanic and earthquake historical data and video evidence. Students use their acquired knowledge to organize a PowerPoint or video presentation that illustrates their comprehension of of benchmark SC.7.E.6.7.

Type: Lesson Plan

Keep it Cool –an Engineering Design Challenge:

This Engineering Design Challenge is intended to help fourth grade students apply the concepts of the flow of heat from a hot object to a cold object and that heat flow may cause objects to change temperature. It is not intended as an initial introduction to this benchmark.

Type: Lesson Plan

Made To Sail:

Students use simple materials to design and make model sailboats that must stay upright and sail straight in a testing tank.

Type: Lesson Plan

Magnetic Personality:

Through teacher demonstrations and lab type investigations done in rotations, students will explore magnets, magnetic materials, magnetic fields, and electromagnets.

Type: Lesson Plan

Part 1: Pond Life:

This lesson is designed for students to investigate familiar and unfamiliar ecosystems using Internet resources, to explore how various organisms satisfy their needs within their environments, and to study the kinds of relationships that exist between organisms within an environment.

Type: Lesson Plan

Physical Properties of Matter:

Students will participate in a hands-on lab activity in which they will measure and compare apples based on many of their physical properties.

Type: Lesson Plan

Stop Heat From Escaping:

In this activity, students act as engineers to determine which type of insulation would conserve the most energy.

Type: Lesson Plan

Thumb Wrestling:

Activity: You will measure thumb length, wrist circumference, and thumb circumference to determine which factor plays a bigger part in determining our class thumb-wrestling champion. You will develop a hypothesis based on physical data collected from classmates. You will then test your hypothesis by conducting a thumb wrestling championship. After making observations and analyzing the results, you will form a conclusion to answer the challenge question.

Type: Lesson Plan

To Flow or Blow: Which One is Best for Here?:

In this lesson, 4th grade students will use web-based articles and maps to look at current and potential air (wind) and water (hydro)power plants for their, or a teacher-given, local area. Students will present an argument for which type of renewable energy plant they believe would be best citing evidence from text(s) and/or map(s). Students may work and/or write in groups or individually. Access points are included for this lesson.

Type: Lesson Plan

Use Those Tools!:

In this lesson, students will explore with scientific tools often used by scientists to provide them experience with the tools they will be using throughout the year on labs and investigations. They will compare the methods, observations, and results made by different groups using multiple tools and seek reasons to explain the differences across groups. The students will keep records that describe observations made, carefully distinguishing actual observations from ideas and inferences about the observations.

Type: Lesson Plan

Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) STEM Lesson

Drawing and Measuring Angles:

This is a S.T.E.M. Design Challenge to introduce students to measuring and drawing angles. Students will use a protractor to measure angles in whole number degrees. They will use their understanding of measuring angles to design an animal enclosure for Lowery Park Zoo for one of Florida’s endangered animals, the Florida Panther or the Florida Key Deer. Students will communicate the angle measurements of their enclosures along with what will be included for the animal’s natural habitat through a written proposal.

Type: Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) STEM Lesson

Original Student Tutorials

Keeping A Science Notebook:

Practice distinguishing between observations and inferences that are based on observations as you help Darius fill in his science notebook in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Empire of Evidence: COVID-19:

Learn to discriminate between observations and inferences in scientific investigations, explore the importance of objectivity in science, classify different scientific methods, and distinguish empirical evidence from ideas and feelings within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Flu and You: Part 2:

Discover what a virus is, actions that cause viruses like the flu to spread from one person to another, and strategies to decrease the spread of viruses to others.

This interactive tutorial is part 2 in a two-part series. Click to open part 1.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Flu and You: Part 1:

Discover what a virus is, actions that cause viruses like the flu to spread from one person to another, and strategies to decrease the spread of viruses to others.

This interactive tutorial is part 1 in a two-part series. Click to open part 2.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Let's Go Dipnetting!:

Compare the methods and results various groups have when they search for amphibians in an ephemeral wetland in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

How Science Works:

Discover the methods scientists use to solve problems, answer questions, and make discoveries in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Perspectives Video: Experts

Sea Floor Sediment Core Research:

Charlotte Sjunneskog, currator of the Antarctic Reasearch Facility, discusses the ocean sediment cores that are collected and what scientists look for in these samples.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Antarctic Core Research:

Charlotte Sjunneskog, curator of the Antarctic Research Facility, discusses the aspects of the cores that are collected and what researchers are looking for in the samples.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Problem-Solving Task

Rising Waters:

Students correlate the weight and water displacement of various balls. They then apply their understanding to an additional situation. The task assesses students' abilities to make simple observations, collect data, make generalized inferences from their observations, and apply their understanding to an additional situation.

This task is designed to take students approximately 45 minutes to complete.

Type: Problem-Solving Task

Professional Development

The Nature of Science: Presenting Lessons for Maximum Effect & Dispelling Popular Myths :

The webmaster for the ENSI web site (), a popular repository for Nature of Science Lessons, describes some educational philosophy about teaching the Nature of Science, including dispelling some teacher-held misconceptions.

Type: Professional Development

Resource Collection

Variables-FOSS Module:

Some of the most important scientific concepts students learn are the result of their ability to see relationships between objects and events. Relationships always involve interactions, dependencies, and cause and effect. The Variables Module has four investigations that help students discover relationships through controlled experimentation. Students will fling, float, fly, and flip objects as they discover relationships in each investigation.

Type: Resource Collection

Teaching Ideas

An Apple a Day:

Students are presented with an apple and are asked to draw it. In each subsequent class period they are asked to draw the same apple again. In this way, they watch and record the changes the apple goes through as it decays.

Type: Teaching Idea

Design a Sea Lion-A SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students investigate sea lion adaptations and create a sketch that illustrates a sea lion's body parts and adaptations.

Type: Teaching Idea

Catch of the Day-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students conduct experiments that simulate fishing techniques and explore processes that result in bycatch.

Type: Teaching Idea

Ball Bounce Experiment:

Students investigate different balls' abilities to bounce and represent the data they collect graphically.

Type: Teaching Idea

Biomusic:

Students have an opportunity to identify a variety of sounds in the environment, discuss the sounds using appropriate terminology and identify whether they are a product of human production or the natural environment.

Type: Teaching Idea

Bycatch Game-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students will explore the advantages and disadvantages of different fishing techniques.

Type: Teaching Idea

Compost Growth Challenge-A SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students will compare and contrast the growth rate of plants grown in different soils.

Type: Teaching Idea

Exploring A Decomposition Community:

In this classroom lab setting, students will construct Decomposition Columns from two-liter plastic bottles. Students will gather organic material and observe activity in the column. Students will record observations and construction steps in their science notebook.

Type: Teaching Idea

Exploring Sound Length Makes A Difference:

In this elementary physics lab, students will begin to explore the relationship between the length of an object and the sound it produces as it vibrates, by using a wood or plastic ruler and the edge of a desk or table.

Type: Teaching Idea

Heat Transfer:

Students will explore how different colors absorb or reflect heat using a black can of water, a white can of water, and a plain can of water.

Type: Teaching Idea

Invertebrate "Heads Up 7 Up"-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

In this activity, the student will identify biographical information about various tidepool animals.

Type: Teaching Idea

Investigating Changes In Matter:

In this chemistry lab, students will observe a variety of physical and chemical changes in matter.

Type: Teaching Idea

Investigating Magnetic Force Fields:

In this classroom activity, the students will investigate the magnetic pull of a bar magnet at varying distances with the use of paper clips. Students will hypothesize, conduct the experiment, collect the data, and draw conclusions that support their data. Each student will record the experiment and their findings in their science journals. As a class, students will compare each groups' data and their interpretation of the results.

Type: Teaching Idea

Looking at Weathering and Erosion:

Students will be divided into small groups to do simple science experiments that illustrate a type of weathering or erosion.

Type: Teaching Idea

Sound All Around:

Students will have an opportunity to work with sounds and learn about pitch, volume and how sound travels.

Type: Teaching Idea

Teaching The Scientific Method Through Thumb Wars:

Students will have an opportunity to go through the entire process of the scientific method using the game "Thumb Wars".

Type: Teaching Idea

Webcams: Animal Inquiry and Observation:

Observe animal habits and habitats using one of the many webcams broadcasting from zoos and aquariums around the United States and the world in this inquiry-based activity that focuses on observation logs, class discussion, questioning, and research.

Type: Teaching Idea

Wildlife Reserve-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

In this activity, the students will design a protected environment for an endangered animal that encourages the animal's natural behaviors and meets its physical requirements. Students will explain to their classmates why the protected environment is essential for the endangered animal.

Type: Teaching Idea

Unit/Lesson Sequences

Measuring Mass:

In this unit, students will first do research and study the Law of Conservation of Mass and learn how to form a hypothesis. After they learn how to form a hypothesis, they will use balance beams to measure clay and crayons.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Plants Parts and Life Cycles:

In this unit, students learn about various plants, their parts, their life cycles, and the importance of bees in plant reproduction.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Weathering and Erosion:

In this unit, students learn about weathering and erosion (and different types of weathering and erosion) through different models and activities. An engineering design competition asks students to synthesize knowledge about erosion to create an erosion-blocking process/product for the Atlantic Coast.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Rocks and Minerals:

In this unit, students learn the physical properties of rocks and how they are formed.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Chemical Change Investigations | Inquiry in Action:

In this series of 10 investigations, students gain experience with the evidence of chemical change - production of a gas, change in temperature, color change, and formation of a precipitate. Students begin by observing that similar-looking powders can be differentiated by the way they react chemically with certain test liquids. Students then use their chemical tests and observations to identify an unknown powder and, in a follow-up activity, to identify the active ingredients in baking powder. Students continue to explore chemical change by using a thermometer to observe that temperature either increases or decreases during chemical reactions. Then they control these reactions by adjusting the amount of reactants. In another set of activities, students use the color changes of red cabbage indicator to classify substances as acids or bases, neutralize solutions, and compare the relative acidity of two different solutions. Students conclude the investigation by comparing a precipitate to one of the reactants that formed it. Students see that a new substance was created during the chemical reaction. Information and questions about photosynthesis and cellular respiration are included as examples of chemical changes on pages 316-318 of this resource.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Physical properties and physical change in liquids | Inquiry in Action:

In this investigation, students compare the way four known liquids behave, and then apply these observations to identify an unknown liquid. Students then compare how each liquid combines with water and use this property to identify unknown liquids. The activities throughout the investigation emphasize the characteristic properties of liquids, identifying and controlling variables, making observations, and analyzing results to answer a question.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Physical Properties & Physical Change in Solids | Curious Crystals | Inquiry in Action:

In this investigation, students will carefully look at four known household crystals. After observing and describing the crystals, students will be given an unknown crystal, which is chemically the same as one of the four known crystals but looks different. When students realize that they cannot identify this crystal by its appearance alone, they will suggest other tests and ways to compare the crystals to eventually identify the unknown crystal. The other activities in this investigation are examples of tests students can conduct on the crystals. After a series of these tests, students will gather enough evidence to identify the unknown crystal.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Pollination:

The students will identify the plant parts involved in reproduction, identify the animal (bee) structures involved in pollination, and demonstrate how pollen moves from the male stamen to the female stigma.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Pollution:

In this lesson students will learn about pollution and its effects. They will learn in depth about pesticides and see its harmful effects that they might not have realized at first. The students will simulate a landfill and see what objects will decompose and which objects won't. They will create their own solutions to an oil spill and test to see which solution is the most effective. The students will observe the effects oil has on water birds. Through this they will determine the long term damage done by an oil spill.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Video/Audio/Animations

Who Wants to Win $1,000,000?:

This game is designed to test students' knowledge of math and science.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Experiment - Which is the best insulator?:

Watch a demonstration of an experiment which tests the effectiveness of two different insulators. The participants will demonstrate their thinking as they run an experiment, identify variables and collect data.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Virtual Manipulative

Tinker Ball:

Consider a wide range of possibilities when problem solving by experimenting with materials. Play around with objects and ideas to discover that there may be more than one solution. You will have an opportunity to explore with an assortment of objects to create a path for a ball to take.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Original Student Tutorials

Keeping A Science Notebook:

Practice distinguishing between observations and inferences that are based on observations as you help Darius fill in his science notebook in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Empire of Evidence: COVID-19:

Learn to discriminate between observations and inferences in scientific investigations, explore the importance of objectivity in science, classify different scientific methods, and distinguish empirical evidence from ideas and feelings within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Flu and You: Part 2:

Discover what a virus is, actions that cause viruses like the flu to spread from one person to another, and strategies to decrease the spread of viruses to others.

This interactive tutorial is part 2 in a two-part series. Click to open part 1.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Flu and You: Part 1:

Discover what a virus is, actions that cause viruses like the flu to spread from one person to another, and strategies to decrease the spread of viruses to others.

This interactive tutorial is part 1 in a two-part series. Click to open part 2.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Let's Go Dipnetting!:

Compare the methods and results various groups have when they search for amphibians in an ephemeral wetland in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

How Science Works:

Discover the methods scientists use to solve problems, answer questions, and make discoveries in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Video/Audio/Animation

Experiment - Which is the best insulator?:

Watch a demonstration of an experiment which tests the effectiveness of two different insulators. The participants will demonstrate their thinking as they run an experiment, identify variables and collect data.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Virtual Manipulative

Tinker Ball:

Consider a wide range of possibilities when problem solving by experimenting with materials. Play around with objects and ideas to discover that there may be more than one solution. You will have an opportunity to explore with an assortment of objects to create a path for a ball to take.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Lesson Plan

Part 1: Pond Life:

This lesson is designed for students to investigate familiar and unfamiliar ecosystems using Internet resources, to explore how various organisms satisfy their needs within their environments, and to study the kinds of relationships that exist between organisms within an environment.

Type: Lesson Plan

Teaching Idea

Wildlife Reserve-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

In this activity, the students will design a protected environment for an endangered animal that encourages the animal's natural behaviors and meets its physical requirements. Students will explain to their classmates why the protected environment is essential for the endangered animal.

Type: Teaching Idea