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K | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | High School Biology | HS Chemistry | HS Physics | Overview K-2 | Overview 3-4 | Overview 5-8 | Overview 9-12 |
Vocabulary, Skills, and Assessment Practices K-4, 5-8, 9-12

Science Curriculum Overview
Grades 3-4


Standard 1: Science as Inquiry. All students in grades 3-4 will experience science as full inquiry. Students will experience the physical and intellectual abilities of scientific inquiry. All 3rd and 4th grade students in USD #417 will be involved with at least one (1) “inquiry exploration activity” each quarter for a minimum of four (4) “inquiry exploration activities” during the school year.


Benchmark 1: All students will develop the skills necessary to do full inquiry. Full inquiry involves asking a simple question, completing an investigation, answering the question, and sharing the results with others.

¯ 1. Ask questions that they can answer by investigating.
¯ 2. Plan and conduct a simple investigation.
¯ 3. Employ appropriate equipment and tools to gather data.
¯ 4. Begin developing the abilities to communicate, critique, analyze their own investigations, and interpret the work of other students.

Standard 2: Physical Science. All students in grades 3-4 will increase their understanding of the properties of objects and materials that they encounter on a daily basis. All 3rd and 4th grade students in USD #417 will compare, describe, and sort objects involving a variety of materials within the study of Physical Science.


Benchmark 1: All students will develop skills to describe objects.

¯ 1. Observe properties and measure those properties using appropriate tools.
¯ 2. Classify objects by the materials from which they are made.
¯ 3. Describe and classify objects by more than one property.
¯ 4. Observe, describe, and record how one object reacts with another object.
¯ 5. Recognize and describe the differences between solids, liquids, and gases.

Benchmark 2: All students will describe the movement of objects.

¯ 1. Move objects by pushing, pulling, throwing, spinning, dropping, and rolling objects. Describe the motion. Observe that a force (push or pull) is applied to make objects move.
¯ 2. Describe locations of objects.

Benchmark 3: All students will recognize and demonstrate what makes sounds.

¯ 1. Discriminate between sounds made by different objects.
¯ 2. Describe how sound travels. (Gr. 4)

Benchmark 4: All students will experiment with electricity and magnetism.

¯ 1. Demonstrate that magnets attract and repel. (Gr. 3)
¯ 1. Construct a simple circuit. (Gr. 4)
¯ 2. Design a simple experiment to determine whether various objects will be attracted to magnets.


Standard 3: Life Science. All students in grades 3-4 will develop an understanding of biological concepts through direct experience with living things, their life cycles, and their habitats. All 3rd and 4th grade students in USD #417 will participate in exploration activities involving a variety of concepts within the study of Life Science.

Benchmark 1: All students will develop knowledge of organisms in the environment.

¯ 1. Compare and contrast structural characteristics and functions of different organisms.
¯ 2. Compare basic needs of different organisms in their environment.
¯ 3. Discuss ways humans and other organisms use their senses in their environments.

Benchmark 2: All students will observe and illustrate the life cycles of various organisms.

¯ 1. Identify life cycles of various organisms. (Gr. 4)
¯ 2. Compare, contrast, and ask questions about life cycles of various organisms.


Standard 4: Earth and Space Science. All students in grades 3-4 will observe objects, materials, and changes in their environment. All 3rd and 4th grade students in USD #417 will participate in a variety of activities involving concepts within the study of Earth and Space Science.

Benchmark 1: All students will develop an understanding of the properties of earth materials.

¯ 1. Observe and classify a variety of earth materials in their environment.
¯ 2. Collect, observe, and become aware of properties of various earth materials.
¯ 3. Experiment with a variety of soils.
¯ 4. Describe properties of many different kinds of rocks.
¯ 5. Observe fossils and discuss how fossils provide evidence of plants and animals that lived long ago. A fossil is a part of a once-living organisms or a trace of an organism preserved in rock.

Benchmark 2: All students will observe and describe objects in the sky.

¯ 1. Observe the moon and stars.
¯ 2. Observe and compare the length of shadows.
¯ 3. Discuss that the sun provides light and heat to maintain the temperature of the earth.

Benchmark 3: All students will develop skills necessary to describe changes in the earth and weather.

¯ 1. Describe changes in the surface of the earth.
¯ 2. Observe, describe, and record daily seasonal weather changes.


Standard 5: Science and Technology. All students in grades 3-4 will have a variety of educational experiences that involve science and technology. All 3rd and 4th grade students in USD #417 will participate in problem solving activities that will develop an understanding of the design process (state the problem, the design, and the solution) and utilize technology as a tool and/or media.

Benchmark 1: All students will work with a technology design.

¯ 1. Identify a simple design problem; design a plan, implement the plan, evaluate the results, and communicate the results.

Benchmark 2: All students will apply their understanding about science and technology.

¯ 1. Discuss that science is a way of investigating questions about their world.
¯ 2. Invent a product to solve a problem.
¯ 3. Work together to solve a problem.
¯ 4. Develop an awareness that women and men of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnic groups engage in a variety of scientific and technological work.
¯ 5. Investigate how scientist use tools to observe.

Benchmark 3: All students will distinguish between natural and human-made objects.

¯ 1. Compare, contrast, and sort human-made versus natural objects.
¯ 2. Use appropriate tools when observing natural and human-made objects.
¯ 3. Ask questions about natural or man-made objects and discuss the reasoning behind their answers. (Gr. 4)


Standard 6: Science and Personal and Environmental Perspectives. All students in grades 3-4 will demonstrate personal health and environments practices. All 3rd and 4th grade students in USD #417 will develop an understanding for the importance of personal health through science content and integrated studies such as: Physical Education and Health.

Benchmark 1: All students will develop an understanding of personal health. Personal health and mental well-being, including hygienic practices and self-respect.

¯ Discuss that safety involves freedom from danger, risk, or injury.
¯ Assume some responsibility for his/her own health.
¯ Discuss that various foods contribute to health.

Benchmark 2: All students will demonstrate an awareness of changes in the environment. Through classroom discussions, students can begin to recognize pollution as an environmental issue, scarcity as a resource issue, and crowded classrooms or schools as population problems.

¯ Define pollution.
¯ Develop personal actions to solve playground pollution.
¯ Practice reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Standard 7: History and Nature of Science. All students in grades 3-4 will experience scientific inquiry and learn about people form history. All 3rd and 4th grade students in USD #417 will begin to practice appropriate principles that will maintain the integrity of science discovery through inquiry and content studies.

The Students will…
¯ Recognize that students participate in science inquiry by asking questions.
¯ Observe, using various media, historical samples of people in science who have made contributions.

Last Updated November 26, 2002