Grade Four Science

Grade 4 Science and Technology/Engineering Benchmarks

Earth and Space Science

  • Give a simple explanation of what a mineral is and some examples, e.g., quartz, mica.
  • Identify the physical properties of minerals (hardness, color, luster, cleavage, and streak), and explain how minerals can be tested for these different physical properties.
  • Identify the three categories of rocks (metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary) based on how they are formed, and explain the natural and physical processes that create these rocks.
  • Recognize that the earth is part of a system called the “solar system” that includes the sun (a star), planets, and many moons. The earth is the third planet from the sun in our solar system.
  • Recognize that the earth revolves around (orbits) the sun that the earth rotates on its axis once approximately every 24 hours. Make connections between the rotation of the earth and day/night, and the apparent movement of the sun, moon, and stars across the sky.
  •  Describe the changes that occur in the observable shape of the moon over the course of a month.

Physical Science

  • Differentiate between properties of objects (e.g., size, shape, weight) and properties of materials (e.g., color, texture, hardness).
  • Compare and contrast solids, liquids, and gases based on the basic properties of each of these states of matter.
  • Identify the basic forms of energy (light, sound, heat, electrical and magnetic.) Recognize that energy is the ability to cause motion or create change.
  • Give examples of how energy can be transferred from one form to another.
  • Recognize that sound is produced by vibrating objects and requires a medium through which to travel. Relate the rate of vibration to the pitch of the sounds.
  • Recognize that light travels in a straight line until it strikes an object or travels from one medium to another, and that light can be reflected refracted or absorbed.

Life Science

  • Describe the major stages that characterize the life cycle of the frog and butterfly as they go through metamorphosis.
  • Give examples of how inherited characteristics may change over time as adaptations to changes in the environment that enable organisms to survive, e.g. shape of beak or feet, placement of eyes on head, length of neck, shape of teeth, color.


  • Identify materials used to accomplish a design task based on a specific property, i.e., weight, strength, hardness, and flexibility.
  • Identify and explain the appropriate materials and tools (e.g., hammer, screwdriver, pliers, tape measure, screws, nails, and other mechanical fasteners) to construct a given prototype safely.
  • Identify a problem that reflects the need for shelter, storage, or convenience.
  • Describe different ways in which a problem can be represented, e.g., sketches, diagrams, graphic organizers, and lists.
  • Identify relevant design features (e.g., size, shape, weight) for building a prototype of a solution to a given problem.
  • Use different methods for representing solutions to problems (e.g., sketches, diagrams, graphic organizers, lists).

Skills of Inquiry/Scientific  Process We Expect Students to Demonstrate

(from the MA Science and Technology/Engineering Framework, 2006)

  • Ask questions and make predictions that can be tested.
  • Select and use appropriate tools and technology (e.g., calculators, computers, scales, balances, meter sticks, and graduated cylinders) in order to extend observations.
  • Keep accurate records while conducting simple investigations or experiments.
  • Conduct multiple trials to test a prediction. Compare actual results with the prediction.
  • Recognize simple patterns in data and use data to create a reasonable explanation for the results of an investigation or experiment.
  • Record data and communicate findings to others using graphs, charts, maps, models, and oral/written reports.