Full Text of Grade K-4 NSES


Science as Inquiry (4ASI)

Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

4ASI1.1 Ask a question about objects, organisms, and events in the environment. This aspect of the standard emphasizes students asking questions that they can answer with scientific knowledge, combined with their own observations. Students should answer their questions by seeking information from reliable sources of scientific information and from their own observations and investigations.

4ASI1.2 Plan and conduct an investigation. In the earliest years, investigations are largely based on systematic observations. As students develop, they may design and conduct simple experiments to answer questions. The idea of a fair test is possible for many students to consider by fourth grade.

4ASI1.3 Employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the senses. In early years, students develop simple skills, such as how to observe, measure, cut, connect, switch, turn on and off, pour, hold, tie, and hook. Beginning with simple instruments, students can use rulers to measure the length, height, and depth of objects and materials; thermometers to measure temperature; watches to measure time; beam balances and spring scales to measure weight and force; magnifiers to observe objects and organisms; and microscopes to observe the finer details of plants, animals, rocks, and other materials. Children also develop skills in the use of computers and calculators for conducting investigations.

4ASI1.4 Use data to construct a reasonable explanation. This aspect of the standard emphasizes the students’ thinking as they use data to formulate explanations. Even at the earliest grade levels, students should learn what constitutes evidence and judge the merits or strength of the data and information that will be used to make explanations. After students propose an explanation, they will appeal to the knowledge and evidence they obtained to support their explanations. Students should check their explanations against scientific knowledge, experiences, and observations of others.

4ASI1.5 Communicate investigations and explanations. Students should begin developing the abilities to communicate, critique, and analyze their work and the work of other students. This communication might be spoken or drawn as well as written.

Understandings About Scientific Inquiry

4ASI2.1 Scientific investigations involve asking and answering a question and comparing the answer with what scientists already know about the world.

4ASI2.2 Scientists use different kinds of investigations depending on the questions they are trying to answer. Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting).

4ASI2.3 Simple instruments such as magnifiers, thermometers, rulers, provide more information than scientists obtain using only their senses.

4ASI2.4 Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already know about the world (scientific knowledge). Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations.

4ASI2.6 Scientists review and ask questions about the results of other scientists’ work.

Physical Science (4BPS)

Properties of objects and materials

4BPS1.1 Objects have many observable properties, including size, weight, shape, color, temperature, and the ability to react with other substances. Those properties can be measured using tools, such as rulers, balances and thermometers.

4BPS1.2 Objects are made of one or more materials, such as paper, wood and metal. Objects can be described by the properties of the materials from which they are made, and those properties can be used to separate or sort a group of objects or materials.

4BPS1.3 Materials can exist in different states — solid, liquid, and gas. Some common materials, such as water, can be changed from one state to another by heating or cooling.

Position and motion of objects

4BPS2.1 The position of an object can be described by locating it relative to another object or the background.

4BPS2.2 An object’s motion can be described by tracing and measuring its position over time.

4BPS2.3 The position and motion of objects can be changed by pushing or pulling. The size of the change is related to the strength of the push or pull.

4BPS2.4 Sound is produced by vibrating objects. The pitch of the sound can be varied by changing the rate of vibration.

Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism

4BPS3.1 Light travels in a straight line until it strikes an object. Light can be reflected by a mirror, refracted by a lens, or absorbed by the object.

4BPS3.2 Heat can be produced in many ways, such as burning, rubbing, or mixing one substance with another. Heat can move from one object to another by conduction.

4BPS3.3 Electricity in circuits can produce light, heat, sound, and magnetic effects. Electrical circuits require a complete loop through which an electrical current can pass.

4BPS3.4 Magnets attract and repel each other and certain kinds of other materials.

Life Science (4CLS)

The characteristics of organisms

4CLS1.1 Organisms have basic needs. For example, animals need air, water, nutrients, and light. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs can be met. The world has many different environments, and distinct environments support the life of different types of organisms.

4CLS1.2 Each plant or animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction. For example, humans have distinct body structures for walking, holding, seeing, and talking.

4CLS1.3 The behavior of individual organisms is influenced by internal cues (such as hunger) and by external cues (such as a change in the environment). Humans and other organisms have senses that help them detect internal and external cues.

Life cycles of organisms

4CLS2.1 Plants and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying. The details of this life cycle are different for different organisms.

4CLS2.2 Plants and animals closely resemble their parents.

4CLS2.3 Many characteristics of an organism are inherited from the parents of the organism, but other characteristics result from an individual’s interactions with the environment. Inherited characteristics include the color of flowers and the number of limbs of an animal. Other features, such as the ability to ride a bicycle, are learned through interactions with the environment and cannot be passed on to the next generation.

Organisms and their environments

4CLS3.1 All animals depend on plants. Some animals eat plants for food. Other animals eat animals that eat the plants.

4CLS3.2 An organism’s patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism’s environment, including the kinds and numbers of other organisms present, the availability of food and resources, and the physical characteristics of the environment. When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, and others die or move to new locations.

4CLS3.3 All organisms cause changes in the environment where they live. Some of these changes are detrimental to the organism or other organisms, whereas others are beneficial.

4CLS3.4 Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments. Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organisms.

Earth and Space Science (4DESS)

Properties of earth materials

4DESS1.1 Earth materials are solid rocks and soils, water, and the gases of the atmosphere. The varied materials have different physical and chemical properties, which make them useful in different ways, for example, as building materials, as sources of fuel, or for growing the plants we use as food. Earth materials provide many of the resources that humans use.

4DESS1.2 Soils have properties of color and texture, capacity to retain water, and ability to support the growth of many kinds of plants, including those in our food supply.

4DESS1.3 Fossils provide evidence about the plants and animals that lived long ago and the nature of the environment at that time.

Objects in the sky

4DESS2.1 The sun, moon, stars, clouds, birds and airplanes all have properties, locations, and movements that can be observed and described.

4DESS2.2 The sun provides the light and heat necessary to maintain the temperature of the earth.

Changes in the earth and sky

4DESS3.1 The surface of the earth changes. Some changes are due to slow processes, such as erosion and weathering, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.

4DESS3.2 Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons. Weather can be described by measurable quantities, such as temperature, wind direction and speed, and precipitation.

4DESS3.3 Objects in the sky have patterns of movement. The sun, for example, appears to move across the sky in the same way every day, but its path changes slowly over the seasons. The moon moves across the sky on a daily basis much like the sun. The observable shape of the moon changes from day to day in a cycle that lasts about a month.

Science and Technology (4EST)

Abilities of technological design

4EST1.1 Identify a simple problem. In problem identification, children should develop the ability to explain a problem in their own words and identify a specific task and solution related to the problem.

4EST1.2 Propose a solution. Students should make proposals to build something or get something to work better; they should be able to describe and communicate their ideas. Students should recognize that designing a solution might have constraints, such as cost, materials, time, space, or safety.

4EST1.3 Children should develop abilities to work individually and collaboratively and to use suitable tools, techniques, and quantitative measurements when appropriate. Students should demonstrate the ability to balance simple constraints in problem solving.

4EST1.4 Evaluate a product or design. Students should evaluate their own results or solutions to problems, as well as those of other children, by considering how well a product or design met the challenge to solve a problem. When possible, students should use measurements and include constraints and other criteria in their evaluations. They should modify designs based on the results of evaluations.

4EST1.5 Student abilities should include oral, written, and pictorial communication of the design process and product. The communication might be show and tell, group discussions, short written reports, or pictures, depending on the students’ abilities and the design project.

Understanding about science and technology

4EST2.1 People have always had questions about their world. Science is one way of answering questions and explaining the natural world.

4EST2.2 People have always had problems and invented tools and techniques (ways of doing something) to solve problems. Trying to determine the effects of solutions helps people avoid some new problems.

4EST2.3 Scientists and engineers often work in teams with different individuals doing different things that contribute to the results. This understanding focuses primarily on teams working together and secondarily, on the combination of scientists and engineer teams.

4EST2.4 Women and men of all ages, backgrounds, and groups engage in a variety of scientific and technological work.

4EST2.5 Tools help scientists make better observations, measurements, and equipment for investigations. They help scientists see, measure, and do things that they could not otherwise see, measure and do.

Abilities to distinguish between natural objects and objects made by humans

4EST3.1 Some objects occur in nature; others have been designed and made by people to solve human problems and enhance the quality of life.

4EST3.2 Objects can be categorized into two groups, natural and designed.

Science in Personal and Social Perspective (4FSPSP)

Personal health

4FSPSP1.1 Safety and security are basic needs of humans. Safety involves freedom from danger, risk, or injury. Security involves feelings of confidence and lack of anxiety and fear. Student understandings include following safety rules for home and school, preventing abuse and neglect, avoiding injury, knowing whom to ask for help, and when and how to say no.

4FSPSP1.2 Individuals have some responsibility for their own health. Students should engage in personal care - dental hygiene, cleanliness, and exercise - that will maintain and improve health. Understandings include how communicable diseases, such as colds, are transmitted and some of the body’s defense mechanisms that prevent or overcome illness.

4FSPSP1.3 Nutrition is essential to health. Students should understand how the body uses food and how various foods contribute to health. Recommendations for good nutrition include eating a variety of foods, eating less sugar, and eating less fat.

4FSPSP1.4 Different substances can damage the body and how it functions. Such substances include tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter medicines, and illicit drugs. Students should understand that some substances, such as prescription drugs, can be beneficial, but that any substance can be harmful if used inappropriately.

Characteristics and changes in populations

4FSPSP2.1 Human populations include groups of individuals living in a particular location. One important characteristic of a human population is the population density — the number of individuals of a particular population that lives in a given amount of space.

4FSPSP2.2 The size of a human population can increase or decrease. Populations will increase unless other factors such as disease or famine decrease the population.

Types of resources

4FSPSP3.1 Resources are things that we get from the living and nonliving environment to meet the needs and wants of a population.>

4FSPSP3.2 Some resources are basic materials, such as air, water, and soil; some are produced from basic resources, such as food, fuel, and building materials; and some resources are nonmaterial, such as quiet places, beauty, security, and safety.>

4FSPSP3.3 The supply of many resources is limited. If used, resources can be extended through recycling and decreased use. >

Changes in environments

NSMF4.1 Science influences society through its knowledge and world view. Scientific knowledge and the procedures used by scientists influence the way many individuals in society think about themselves, others and the environment. The effect of science on society is neither entirely beneficial nor entirely detrimental.

4FSPSP4.2 Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humans. Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither good nor bad. Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms, including humans.

4FSPSP4.3 Some environmental changes occur slowly, and others occur rapidly. Students should understand the different consequences of changing environments in small increments over long periods as compared with changing environments in large increments over short periods.

Science and technology in local challenges

4FSPSP5.1 People continue inventing new ways of doing things, solving problems, and getting work done. New ideas and inventions often affect other people; sometimes the effects are good and sometimes they are bad. It is helpful to try to determine in advance how ideas and inventions will affect other people.

4FSPSP5.2 Science and technology have greatly improved food quality and quantity, transportation, health, sanitation, and communication. These benefits of science and technology are not available to all of the people in the world.

History and Nature of Science (4GHNS)

Science as a human endeavor

4GHNS1.1 Science and technology have been practiced by people for a long time.

4GHNS1.2 Men and women have made a variety of contributions throughout the history of science and technology.

4GHNS1.3 Although men and women using scientific inquiry have learned much about the objects, events, and phenomena in nature, much more remains to be understood. Science will never be finished.

4GHNS1.4 Many people choose science as a career and devote their entire lives to studying it. Many people derive great pleasure from doing science.



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