Fourth grade is a year of joy and rigor. Students will be engaged in meaningful inquiry based learning opportunities in all areas of the curriculum. Fourth grade is a year of developing personal responsibility.
In fourth grade we focus on the study of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. Students learn how these teachings can help them to develop into good, happy, Christian people. We also focus our study on Mary, the Saints, and the liturgical year. Fourth graders are given many opportunities to live their faith through prayer, monthly visits to Encore Adult Day Center, and other acts of service and kindness.
Land and Water Unit: Using a stream table, students explore different interactions between land and water, such as how runoff causes stream formation; how groundwater forms; how soil is eroded, transported, and deposited; and how water shapes the land. The unit Land and water invites students to manipulate their model, create hills, build dams, and grow vegetation to observe how these things affect land and water interactions. Students come to understand how water shapes the land and how, in turn the land directs the flow of water.
- The fourth graders visit Lowry Nature Center each fall to investigate different water areas and the macroinvertebrates that are present in each of them. After identifying some of the macroinvertebrates, students are able to determine water quality.
- Students also visit the Water Treatment facility in Waconia. We learn about the process used to clean our drinking water.
Electric Circuits: In Electric Circuits, students investigate electricity by wiring a circuit to light a bulb. They come to understand that a circuit must form a complete circle through which electric current can pass in order to light the bulb. Students use this knowledge to explore other electrical concepts, such as what conductors and insulators, diodes, and the symbolic language of electricity. Student apply what they learned in a final activity in which they design and implement a wiring plan for a cardboard house.
Field Trip: At the beginning of our Electrical Circuits unit we visit the Bakken Museum and the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting. This field trip focuses on circuits and batteries. It is a great way to kick off the unit.
Microworlds: In Microworlds, students explore magnifiers, lenses and microscopes that can be used to extend the sense of sight to view objects in greater detail. By observing everyday objects with a variety of lenses, students learn that a magnifier must be transparent and curved. Students use a microscope, learn the functions of all its parts, and practice proper lighting and focusing techniques. Preparing their own slides, students are able to view onion skin under magnification. Students turn their attention to living specimens and view three microorganisms—Volvox, Blepharisma, and vinegar eels. Observing the structure of these microorganisms, and how they move, feed, grow, and multiply, develops the students’ sense of microbial life and interactions among living things and between living things and their environment.
Technology leads to engaging learning opportunities for 4th grade students. Students use technology to research and create meaningful products to share with others. The use of technology transforms the learning experience and makes learning come alive for students. Students will become proficient in their use of Google Slides and Docs in fourth grade.
Students in fourth grade take part in engineering activities as part of their Smart Lab and Science Curriculum. In the Smart Lab, students are engaged in Kinex building, Zome tools, Pixie, Animationish, design build challenges, digital photography, and much more. In Science, students are given multiple opportunities to design and test out their designs throughout our Land and Water and Electrical Circuits Units. As a culminating activity for our study of electricity, the children wire their own houses.
In 4th grade, students are actively involved in learning math. They have opportunities to become engaged in the lessons, to collaborate, practice “math talk” with their classmates, and to explore and practice mathematics skills on their own through the use of manipulatives and technology.
Big Ideas for grade 4:
- Place Value and Operations
- Multiplication with Whole Numbers
- Division with Whole Numbers
- Equations and word problems
- Fraction Concepts and Operations
- Fractions and decimals
Reading: Fourth grade uses the Reading Workshop model for reading. The children read books of their choice while focusing on specific genres and reading skills. Students take part in a 40 Book Reading Challenge throughout the school year. Reading Workshop has brought about some wonderful results in past years. This program fosters a culture of literacy and brings some amazing transformations in children’s attitudes about reading.
English/ Writing: Students will continue with their study of grammar and writing. We will focus on the Six Traits of Writing while practicing many different types of writing across all curricular areas.
Vocabulary: The children will study six vocabulary words each week. Our study will focus on the meaning of Greek and Roman word parts. We will have a quiz each Friday on these words.
Handwriting: Students in fourth grade will work on mastering the craft of cursive handwriting throughout the school year.
Spelling: Students will have weekly spelling lessons based on different spelling patterns and letter sounds. Spelling practice takes place throughout the week culminating with a test on Fridays.
The fourth grade curriculum focuses on the United States and its regions. The children will learn about the geography, history, climate, and economy of each region. Fourth graders will host a Presidential Wax Museum and a State Fair.