SCI Topics/ Resources


As we progress through each 9 Weeks this page will serve as a reading source for review.

Quiz Study- Begin with the blue 4th Notes in Friday Folder to know the date and topics. A Review Sheet will come home in the Friday before a Science Quiz on Thursday. Practice related Quizlet sections and look up words or concepts on this page using the Major Topics in Green.

Safety- We discussed how to safely do good science, prevent injury, protect eyes with goggles, and use the eye wash station. Students signed a safety contract and a copy went home for parent review and signature as part of the Science Success Checklist.

Observations and Inferences

observations- information gathered using the senses, sense clues

inferences- thoughts, the brain connecting observations, an answer solution or explanation based on observations

past knowledge- what we know from past experiences and learning

science- knowledge- explanations about nature supported by observations, past knowledge, and inferences

Observational Science and Experimental Science

Observational science- studying nature as it is  Example: Scientists ride around the African savannah and observe cheetahs, what they eat, how fast they move, how many babies they have, where they make nests for babies.

Experimental science- making a change to nature then seeing what happens  Example: Scientists watch cheetahs in a zoo, give them different homes, different foods, nest materials to see if they can help them reproduce while they are in a zoo.

Favorite Pets in the 4th Grade- What are the favorite pets of 4th graders? We made the rules for our study, listed pets, and took a survey by voting, constructed a table and bar graph of our results.

Organizing Science Information- tables and graphs

table- organizes information into columns and rows, has a title, heading labels for columns             

columns are up and down, rows are side to side

bar graph- organizes table info, comparison of amounts in heights of bars

line graph- organizes table info, shows a change in dots connected by a line


Graph Parts-

title- tells about both axes

x axis- major line that runs across, horizontal like the horizon

y axis- major line up and down, vertical, if I'm too vertical can get vertigo, y points to the sky

grid- the pattern of intersecting lines

labels- tells what each axis represents

scale- range and interval on a graph

range- the numbers low to high

interval- the amount represented by the distance between lines

key- tells what colors or symbols on the bars represent


Bar Graph Steps

1. Identify the range of numbers on the table low to high.

2. Create a scale that spreads the range over 3/4 of the graph using the same interval all the way up.

3. Make evenly sized bars with same width and space between

4. Label axes- use the table headings, labels can be words, numbers, or units

5. Draw bars and color them the height of the totals.

6. Title the graph- describes both axes, contains the labels for each axi

7. Make a key or legend- tells what the colors or symbols represent

How to set up a bar graph scale 


Line Graph Steps

1. Identify the range of numbers on the table low to high for cause and for effect.

2. Create a scale that spreads the range of the cause on the x axis over 3/4 of the graph using the same interval all the way up. Do the same for the range of effect on the y axis.

4. Label axes- use the table headings, labels would be the cause and unit of measure, effect and unit of measure.

5. Plot the pairs of numbers from the table, across the x axis then up the y axis to place a point. Repeat for all pairs of numbers in the table.

6. Connect the points with a line. Begin from the lowest number on the x axis, then follow in order of increasing number on the x axis. The line should begin on the left and go up or down toward the right.

7. Title the graph- describes both axes, contains the labels for each axis.

8. Describe the pattern shown in the line. As the CAUSE (increases, decreases, or stays the same), the EFFECT (increases, decreases, or stays the same).

How to set up a scale and line graph from table information.  Note independent variable is the same as cause. Dependent variable is the same as effect.


Matter- Physical Properties

matter- everything with mass (how heavy) that has volume (how big, space)

physical properties- characteristics of matter that can be observed or measured but do not change what you are observing, measuring the thermometer does not change it into something else, it is still H2O water

physical change- a change in a physical property, may be reversible, the substance is the same substance Ice melting is a physical change, liquid water, ice, and steam are all H2O and they can be changed from one to another by changing temperature.

observed physical properties- use senses to gather, color, shape, texture

measured physical properties- use instruments to gather, temperature, mass, volume, distance

temperature- measure of heat, instrument is thermometer, scale we use is degress Fahrenheit abbreviated oF

ice melts when heated is added -> liquid water -> boils when heat is added and becomes steam

ice is made when heat is removed to freeze liquid water  is made during condensation when heat is removed from steam

Phases of Matter- liquid solid and gas, change in matter form by adding or removing heat

We measured the temperature of water as a liquid, ice water, and steam using a thermometer. matter, heat changing water to different states/phases

weight- a measure of gravity's pull on an object, I become weighless in space where there is no gravity, lighter on the moon where gravity is less than Earth's gravity, and heavier on Jupiter where the gravity is greater than Earth.

mass- a measure of the amount of matter in an object, does not change with gravity's pull, instrument is balance, units are grams.

How we use a triple beam balance to measure mass and weight, and balance parts

accurate- doing something with accuracty, hitting the bull's eye of the target, measuring and getting exactly the correct measurement

precise- doing something with precision, hitting arrows close to one another, measuring three times and getting near the same measurement

How we used a bull's eye target to explain accuracy and precision. 

volume- how big something is, measure of the space occupied by a liquid or a solid, instrument is graduated cylinder, units are milliliters mL which = 1 liter L

volume of a solid- measured using a graduated cylinder and water displacement

How we measured the volume of objects using a graduated cylinder and water displacement


DENSITY- how heavy something is for its size, water has a density of 1, density = mass divided by volume, 1 gram of water weighs 1 milliliter 

If we divide 1 gram by 1 milliliter we get 1  . The density of water is 1.  Things that float in water have a density less than 1. Things that sink have a density greater than 1. If we add salt to water and make a sinking object suspend, it isn't floating or sinking, its density is the same as the salt water. What is the density of the salt water? It would be the mass of the salt water divided by its volume. 


Density of Water of different temperatures- we did this in class 


Density Diver- similar to what we did in class 

density divers- straws and glass and paperclips oh My!


Density of Water with Salt- I used a Lacrosse ball and salt water to demo 


Experimental science investigations

Experiments investigate to answer a question and find out the relationship between the cause and effect factors of the investigation.

Question being answered by the experiment is written to include the cause and effect.

Description of the experiment is written to include the cause and effect.

Three kinds of factors in an experiment, cause, effect, and controlled

Cause- the factor that is changed to see how it impacts the effect

In an experiment there should be only be one cause! The goal is to say this cause made the effect different and see how it is changed.

Effect- the factor that is impacted by a change in the cause

Controlled factors- factors that are kept the same or removed, to make a fair test that links the cause to the effect

WHY control factors? To be sure the test is fair by removing other factors that could change the effect

HOW do you control factors? keep them the same, or remove them.


Prediction- A statement telling how you think the cause will impact the effect. A prediction is based on past experiences, includes what you know.


Hypothesis- tells specifically how you think the cause will impact the effect, with specifics of cause and effect in statement

Written as an If….then… statement

If the cause happens in this way, then the effect will occur in this way.


Chemical Reactions

physical change- a change in a physical property, may be reversible, the substance is the same substance Ice melting is a physical change, liquid water, ice, and steam are all H2O and they can be changed from one to another by changing temperature.

chemical change- a change that results in something chemically different, usually not reversible.

lighting a match +>  light, heat, wood ashes, and smoke       These cannot be made back into wood.

The Largest Balloon- What recipe of vinegar and baking soda will inflate the largest balloon? We identify causes and effects, wrote a hypothesis, carried out an experiement that added vinegar to a small water bottle, and baking soda to a balloon. After attaching the balloon to the bottle we lifted it to allow the baking soda to fall out of the balloon and into the bottle. The reaction produces carbon dioxide which inflates the balloon. We measured the circumference of the balloon using a string and meter stick.

CERs To learn how to write a claim supported by evience, then linked to reasoning we circled back to Charades. Students had to write their inference (claim) support it with observations (evidence) and link to knowledge (reasoning). I think the group acted out skydiving...because I saw a hand pull to the side like opening a door, jumping, and arms raised over head like a parachute, then jumping like landing. I know that when you sky dive you jump out of a plane, fall in their air then open a parachute, then land on the ground.

What is the deal about CERs? This video is for parents to help them understand why CERs are so important, stop at the dice example (insert our charades example above). Yes, our 4th graders can do this, they are already doing it and doing it well! 

Is Air Matter? Student groups were asked to design three tests, collect evidence, and then write a CER using the framework used above, to answer the question Is Air Matter? Groups did various demonstrations to provide observable evidence that air has mass and volume. Most popular included showing Air in a balloon has more mass than an empty balloon, and that mass can be measured using a balance. Air in a balloon takes up more space than an empty balloon, and this volume can be measured using water displacement in a graduated cylinder.


What is pH ? Students write what they know about acids, based, and neutral things based on our RAD and a pH scale with several common things listed. Then they are given solutions and use what they know to make predictions about the pH of the solutions. Next they test the solutions and record the color changes that occur due to the chemical reaction between the indicator and solution. After testing all ten they compare their colors to a pH scale made using red cabbage indicator to determine the pH number for each solution. Last they write a CER that answers the questions which are acids, which are neutral, and which are bases. We tested these: fish tank water, lemonade, baby wipe solution, Dial bar soap, tap water, dishwasher detergent, dilute ammonia, lemon juice, pop rocks dissolved in water, and saliva.  pH and red cabbage indicator

pH scale

acids- contain more H than OH, has pH less than 7

bases- contain more OH than H, has pH greater than 7

neutral- contains same H as OH, has pH = 7

HOH is water H2O has same OH as H, is neutral


Periodic Table of Elements basics and making connections

matter- anything that has mass (has a measure of heaviness) and volume (takes up space)

atoms- the smallest unit of matter, contain electron e- in the cloud, and proton p+ and neutron n in the nucleus

elements- all the different kinds of atoms that make up the matter in the universe

molecules- the smallest piece of matter with elements connected by bonds

H2O is a molecule of water, dihydrogen oxide, contains two elements H hydrogen and O oxygen, contains 3 atoms two hydrogen and one oxygen

CO2 is one molecule of carbon dioxide, contains C carbon and O oxygen, contains 3 atoms 1 carbon and 2 oxygens

H hydrogen is the smallest atom, has 1 proton, 1 neutron, and 1 electron, is found in water H2O

For this list of molecules we idenified elements, atoms of each, drew 2D models, and constructed 3D models of clay. water, carbon dioxide, sodium chloride, silicon dioxide, iron oxide, calcium carbonate, and sugar (glucose)

We wrote the reaction for photosynthsis to show how carbon dioxide and water ->react in a plant with sunlight to make water and oxygen and glucose

Yeast + Food => Carbon dioxide  We constructed a setup to capture the carbon dioxide produced by yeast into a syringe so we could measure the millliters. Different foods were easier for the yeast to breakdown and use to make carbon dioxide. This process is used to make bread rise. How bread rises with yeast

Newton's Laws of Force and Motion

We designed demonstrations to show inertia, force, action and reaction. We designed a demo and explained how it shows all three, as well as friction, momentum, potential and kinetic energy. 

1st Law- The Law of Inertia- An object at rest (or in motion) will stay at rest (or in motion) until a force or energy acts upon it.

2nd Law- The Law of Force- The force of an object in motion is equal to its mass multiplied by its acceleration.

force = mass x acceleration

3rd Law- The Law of Action and Reaction- For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Forces come in pairs, every force has an equal and opposite force.

force- a push or a pull, magnets repelling is a push, using your legs to jump is a push, magnets attracting is a pull, gravity is a pull

gravity- the force of a larger object to pull a smaller object toward it due to its mass

motion- movement

friction- resistance to movement due to contact between objects

momentum- the property of a moving object, it keeps moving even after the force causing motion is removed

energy- the ability to do work (cause motion)

potential energy- energy stored in an object due to position on a hill or rubberband pulled back

kinetic energy- energy of an object that is in motion, a car rolling down a hill or a rubberband that was pulled back let go and is flying

Newton and his laws of motion

Video demonstrating Newton's 3 Laws of Motion 

Newton's Laws and Rocket Science 

How does a parachute work?


Simple Machines- make work easier

What are the Six Simple Machines, what do they do, and how do they work? See Quizlet for pictures of parts and functions.

lever- a rod that moves on a fulcrum, when one end is pushed down the other goes up to lift an load, Examples are seesaw, balance, scissor handles, light switch toggle

inclined plane- a plane with a slant, as objects go up the slant they are moved a little at at time over a longer path, Examples are wheelchair ramps, mountain roads, stairs

wheel and axel- a disc on a rod, as the rod is pushed the discs roll and reduce friction to move a load, Examples wheels are on wagons, bikes, cars, trains, chairs

screw- an inclined plane wrapped around a rod with a wedge point at the end, turned clockwise pulls two objects together, counter clockwise pushes them apart, Examples screw, vise, drill bit is a screw with a wedge sharp edge

wedge- two inclined planes forming a sharp triangle shape, pushed into an object splits the object apart, may also connect objects, Examples- nail, staple, push pin, knife

pulley- a wheel with a groove to hold a rope, pulling down on the end of the rope raises the load on the other end, turning a crank winds up the rope to pull an object on the other end, Examples- flag pole, water well, crane, lawn mower starter cable

How does a crane work?

How does a construction crane work using simple machines? 

How does a crane and counterweight work?