• Elementary Science Grade 4 Unit 4 

    Subject: Science
    Grade: 4
    Timeline: 4 Weeks
    Unit 4: Earth and Moon 

    Unit Overview: 
    In this unit the students learn that Earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun and that the moon orbits the Earth. 

    Unit Objectives:
    The objectives of this unit are to apply the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) Crosscutting Concepts that bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas through the fields of science and engineering. 

    Similarities and differences in patterns can be used to sort, classify, communicate and analyze simple rates of change for natural phenomena. (5-ESS1-2)
    Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
    Natural objects exist from the very small to the immensely large. (5-ESS1-1)

    Focus Standards:
    PSSA Eligible Content:
    S4.D.3.1.1: Describe motions of the sun/Earth/moon system.  
    S4.D.3.1.2: Explain how the motion of the sun, Earth, moon system relates to time (e.g., days,months, years). 
    S4.D.3.1.3: Describe the causes of seasonal change as it relates to the rotation of the Earth and the tilt of the Earth's axis.

    NGSS Discipliinary Core Ideas:
    ESS1.A: The Universe and its Stars
    The sun is a star that appears larger and brighter than other stars because it is closer. Stars range greatly in their distance from Earth. (5-ESS1-1)
    ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System
    The orbits of Earth around the sun and of the moon around Earth, together with the rotation of Earth about an axis between its North and South poles, cause observable patterns. These include day and night; daily changes in the length and direction of shadows; and different positions of the sun, moon, and stars at different times of the day, month, and year. (5-ESS1-2)

    Concepts - Students will know:
    • characteristics of planets.
    • solar system motion.
    Competencies -Students will be able to:
    • describe planets using two or more characteristics.
    • compare and contrast Earth's surface with other planets.
    • describe positions of planets in relationship to the sun.
    • investigate planetary orbits including period, rotation, and distance. 
    • recognize that the Earth's tilt and revolution around the sun creates the seasons.
    • observe and identify phases and eclipses of the moon.
    • create a model to show the relationships in the Earth/Sun/Moon System.

    Formative Assessments:
    • Pre - Assessments
    • Teacher Observation
    • Notebooking
    • Performance Tasks


    Summative Assessment:
    • Post-Assessment
    Elements of Instruction:
    The NGSS identifies eight Science and Engineering practices that all students in all grads must participate in to effectively investigate the natural world through the practices of science inquiry, or solve meaningful problems through the practices of engineering design. 

    Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    Analyzing data in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to introducing quantitative approaches to collecting data and conducting multiple trials of qualitative observations. When possible and feasible, digital tools should be used.
    Represent data in graphical displays (bar graphs, pictographs and/or pie charts) to reveal patterns that indicate relationships. (5-ESS1-2)
    Engaging in Argument from Evidence
    Engaging in argument from evidence in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to critiquing the scientific explanations or solutions proposed by peers by citing relevant evidence about the natural and designed world(s).
    Support an argument with evidence, data, or a model. (5-ESS1-1)

    • Compare actual objects to a scaled model (i.e. toy car to actual car).
    • Investigate sphere shaped objects and compare to oblate spheroid shapes.
    • Students model rotation and revolution with their bodies or other movable objects.
    • Illustrate phases of the moon.
    • Make a model of different phases of the moon.
    • Demonstrate how mass and weight are similar by researching mass and weight of different objects.
    • Write a report using unit inquiry cards. 

    Interdisciplinary Connections:

    Additional Resources / Games:
    • Solar System Teacher Resource CD