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RULE §112.6Science, Grade 4, Adopted 2021

(a) Introduction.

  (1) In Kindergarten through Grade 5 Science, content is organized into recurring strands. The concepts within each grade level build on prior knowledge, prepare students for the next grade level, and establish a foundation for high school courses. In Grade 4, the following concepts will be addressed in each strand.

    (A) Scientific and engineering practices. Scientific inquiry is the planned and deliberate investigation of the natural world using scientific and engineering practices. Scientific methods of investigation are descriptive, correlative, comparative, or experimental. The method chosen should be appropriate to the grade level and question being asked. Student learning for different types of investigations includes descriptive investigations, which have no hypothesis that tentatively answers the research question and involve collecting data and recording observations without making comparisons; correlative and comparative investigations, which have a hypothesis that predicts a relationship and involve collecting data, measuring variables relevant to the hypothesis that are manipulated, and comparing results; and experimental investigations, which involve processes similar to comparative investigations but in which a hypothesis can be tested by comparing a treatment with a control.

      (i) Scientific practices. Students ask questions, plan and conduct investigations to answer questions, and explain phenomena using appropriate tools and models.

      (ii) Engineering practices. Students identify problems and design solutions using appropriate tools and models.

      (iii) To support instruction in the science content standards, it is recommended that districts integrate scientific and engineering practices through classroom and outdoor investigations for at least 50% of instructional time.

    (B) Matter and energy. Students investigate matter's measurable properties, including mass, volume, states, temperature, magnetism, and relative density, to determine how it is classified, changed, and used. Students compare and contrast a variety of mixtures, including solutions, and demonstrate that matter is conserved.

    (C) Force, motion, and energy. Students investigate forces, including friction, gravity, and magnetism, to observe their effects on objects. They differentiate between mechanical, sound, light, thermal, and electrical energy. Students observe the cycle of energy and the parts of a system while exploring circuits that produce light and thermal energy. They will build on their understanding of circuits in Grade 5. As students explore thermal and electrical energy, they observe the behavior of different materials to identify patterns and label the materials as conductors or insulators.

    (D) Earth and space. Students learn about processes on Earth that create patterns of change. These processes include the water cycle, weathering, erosion, deposition, the appearance of the Moon, and seasons. Students will build on this understanding in Grade 5 when they learn about day and night, shadows, and the rotation of Earth on its axis. Finally, students identify Earth's resources and classify them as renewable or nonrenewable.

    (E) Organisms and environments. In this strand, students begin to understand how organisms within an ecosystem interact. Students investigate producers to learn how they make food. Students build on their understanding of food chains, from Grade 3, as they explore food webs where they describe the flow of energy and the role of producers, consumers, and decomposers. They also use fossil evidence to describe environments of the past. Additionally, students explore plant structures and their functions. Students also differentiate between inherited and acquired traits of organisms.

  (2) Nature of science. Science, as defined by the National Academy of Sciences, is the "use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process." This vast body of changing and increasing knowledge is described by physical, mathematical, and conceptual models. Students should know that some questions are outside the realm of science because they deal with phenomena that are not currently scientifically testable.

  (3) Scientific observations, inferences, hypotheses, and theories. Students are expected to know that:

    (A) observations are active acquisition of either qualitative or quantitative information from a primary source through the senses;

    (B) inferences are conclusions reached on the basis of observations or reasoning supported by relevant evidence;

    (C) hypotheses are tentative and testable statements that must be capable of being supported or not supported by observational evidence. Hypotheses of durable explanatory power that have been tested over a wide variety of conditions are incorporated into theories; and

    (D) scientific theories are based on natural and physical phenomena and are capable of being tested by multiple independent researchers. Unlike hypotheses, scientific theories are well established and highly reliable explanations, but they may be subject to change as new areas of science and new technologies are developed.

  (4) Science and social ethics. Scientific decision making is a way of answering questions about the natural world involving its own set of ethical standards about how the process of science should be carried out. Students distinguish between scientific decision-making practices and ethical and social decisions that involve science.

  (5) Recurring themes and concepts. Science consists of recurring themes and making connections between overarching concepts. Recurring themes include structure and function, systems, models, and patterns. All systems have basic properties that can be described in space, time, energy, and matter. Change and constancy occur in systems as patterns and can be observed, measured, and modeled. Models have limitations but provide a tool for understanding the ideas presented. Students analyze a system in terms of its components and how these components relate to each other, to the whole, and to the external environment.

  (6) Statements containing the word "including" reference content that must be mastered, while those containing the phrase "such as" are intended as possible illustrative examples.

(b) Knowledge and skills.

  (1) Scientific and engineering practices. The student asks questions, identifies problems, and plans and safely conducts classroom, laboratory, and field investigations to answer questions, explain phenomena, or design solutions using appropriate tools and models. The student is expected to:

    (A) ask questions and define problems based on observations or information from text, phenomena, models, or investigations;

    (B) use scientific practices to plan and conduct descriptive investigations and use engineering practices to design solutions to problems;

    (C) demonstrate safe practices and the use of safety equipment during classroom and field investigations as outlined in Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards;

    (D) use tools, including hand lenses; metric rulers; Celsius thermometers; calculators; laser pointers; mirrors; digital scales; balances; graduated cylinders; beakers; hot plates; meter sticks; magnets; notebooks; timing devices; sieves; materials for building circuits; materials to support observation of habitats of organisms such as terrariums, aquariums, and collecting nets; and materials to support digital data collection such as computers, tablets, and cameras, to observe, measure, test, and analyze information;

    (E) collect observations and measurements as evidence;

    (F) construct appropriate graphic organizers used to collect data, including tables, bar graphs, line graphs, tree maps, concept maps, Venn diagrams, flow charts or sequence maps, and input-output tables that show cause and effect; and

    (G) develop and use models to represent phenomena, objects, and processes or design a prototype for a solution to a problem.

  (2) Scientific and engineering practices. The student analyzes and interprets data to derive meaning, identify features and patterns, and discover relationships or correlations to develop evidence-based arguments or evaluate designs. The student is expected to:

    (A) identify advantages and limitations of models such as their size, scale, properties, and materials;

    (B) analyze data by identifying any significant features, patterns, or sources of error;

    (C) use mathematical calculations to compare patterns and relationships; and

    (D) evaluate a design or object using criteria.

  (3) Scientific and engineering practices. The student develops evidence-based explanations and communicates findings, conclusions, and proposed solutions. The student is expected to:

    (A) develop explanations and propose solutions supported by data and models;


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