Grade 4



Learn About Planet Earth – Earth’s Atmosphere
Find out about the gases that support life on Earth and block out dangerous rays from the Sun.

Layers of the Atmosphere
Shows and gives facts about the layers of the atmosphere.


The Blue Traveler
Interactive game and teacher booklet
Player is a water droplet moving through the water cycle.

The Water Cycle Song
Explains how water changes as it moves through the water cycle.

Water Cycle Song
Models evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.

The Water Cycle
Video and quiz
The water cycle: evaporation, precipitation, transpiration, condensation, and vapor.

Water on Earth
Images, vocabulary, reading material, and review questions
Water is all around you — in pipes, in puddles, even in people. Water covers more than 70% of Earth's surface. That's a good thing, because all life on Earth depends on water. In fact, without water, life as we know it could not exist. Water is a very special substance. Do you know why?


Daily and Seasonal Weather
Interactive lesson and teaching tips
Students investigate the relationship between daily weather and seasonal weather. Students will read about how weather data is collected, then interpret examples of weekly and monthly weather data to find seasonal patterns. Visual supports (images), maps, and data alongside informational text provide students with the context they need to recognize differences between daily and seasonal weather.

Weather Underground Wundermap
Interactive weather map with layers that can be toggled to visualize weather fronts, windstreams, radar, temperatures, as well as severe weather.

Seasonal Temperature and Precipitation
Interactive, teaching tips, and Spanish/English transcript
Students compare the seasonal weather at their location with another U.S. location. They interpret temperature and precipitation data maps, collecting and recording the data for the two locations in order to find patterns and make comparisons. Visual supports (video, images), data maps, and informational text provide students with the context they need to identify seasonal weather at two locations.


Severe Storms
Slide show and quiz
Thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes and blizzards.

Disaster Detector
The citizens of Smithsonville are in dire need of a Disaster Detector! Help Smithsonville and other cities predict and prepare for natural disasters. Use tools to make predictions and save the city from damage by helping citizens prepare properly. Disaster Detector teaches players how to analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and how to implement tools to mitigate the effects of those disasters.

Hurricanes: The Most Violent Storms on Earth
This episode of Things Explained talks about how hurricanes form, how they impact the mainland U.S. and specifically Georgia, and ways we can help minimize storm damage.


NOAA Climate Data Online Search
Data bank
Request historical weather for your local area. Students can analyze temperature and precipitation data over a designated timeframe. Data can be downloaded in PDF, CSV (Excel compatible), or text format.





Daily Do: Why Can We See Scorpius Only in Summer?
Video, images, and lesson plan
A sensemaking lesson from the National Science Teaching Association that helps students explore why some constellations are only visible during part of the year.

Stars, Constellations and Planets
Video and teaching tips
On a clear night it is possible to see several stars, constellations and even planets.


Hubble’s Greatest Snaps
Importance of telescopes: Images sent back from the Hubble (scroll down webpage to see the list).

Astronomy: Resource 1
Video with support materials
Astronomy is the study of the things beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, everything from the tiniest parts of the atom to the vast cosmos. Learn more about the science of astronomy.

Hubble Space Telescope: Resource 2
Video with support materials
The Hubble Telescope gives us a unique view of the universe. Learn the history of this famous telescope and what it has helped us discover.

Astronomy: The Web Show: Resource 3
Video with support materials
In this Science Trek (formerly D4K): Web show, Kenneth Carpenter, Hubble Space Telescope Operations Project Scientist answers students’ questions about how telescopes in space get information back to scientists, why Neptune is so windy and more.

Galileo: Discovering Jupiter’s Moons
The telescope forever changed astronomy by providing more detailed views of distant objects than was previously possible. Galileo pioneered astronomy as the first person to study celestial objects through a telescope. His observations, including the discovery of moons around Jupiter, helped revolutionize the way people think about the universe.

How Do We Know What’s Out There?
From using the naked eye to the Hubble Space Telescope, there are many different ways we can observe the universe. In this episode of STEM in 30, learn the science behind observing, and discover the equipment that allows us to see further and further out.


Observing the Moon in the Sky
Interactive, background reading, teaching tips, and discussion questions
Observe images of the Moon during the day and night with this slideshow. The images can stimulate students’ thinking and questions about when and how the Moon appears in the sky and provide them with the opportunity to compare their own Moon observations with the Moon in the images.

Investigating the Day and Night Moon
Lesson plan
Students have likely observed the Moon both day and night, and some may have wondered about the daytime sightings. In this lesson, students will investigate why they can see the Moon during the day and night. They will build on their Moon observations and previous learning about the Earth–Sun–Moon system as they observe images and use a model that connects space and Earth-based perspectives. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to explain that Earth's rotation and the Moon's position in orbit relative to Earth and the Sun cause the Moon to appear in the daytime and nighttime sky.

Moon Phases Simulation Viewed from Earth and Space
Relate observable Moon patterns to motions within the Earth–Sun–Moon system using this digital model. Linked Earth and space perspectives enable students to recognize cause-and-effect relationships. They can also visualize the spatial and time scales of phenomena such as the Moon’s apparent path in the sky and the Moon’s appearance in the day sky and night sky.

Daylight Hours and the Sun’s Apparent Path
Explore the duration of daylight and the Sun’s apparent path in the sky in a northern hemisphere location during the solstices with this adapted WorldWide Telescope video. This resource gives students an opportunity to observe differences in the Sun’s apparent path across the sky and make evidence-based claims about the changing duration of daylight in summer and winter.


Observe Sunrise and Sunset
Video and student materials
Night and day are determined by the Sun's presence in the sky. As Earth rotates, the portion of the planet that is illuminated by the Sun experiences day while the portion that faces away from the Sun experiences night. As observed from most locations on Earth, the Sun appears to rise in the east and set in the west every day. A short time-lapse video of a sunrise and a sunset.

Moonrise to Moonset
Video, teaching tips, and student materials
Observe the Moon’s apparent path across the sky from moonrise to moonset with a video captured at a beach and a visualization of the Moon’s full arc produced by the California Academy of Sciences. This resource stimulates students’ thinking about how the Moon changes position in the sky during one day and provides the opportunity to visualize the spatial and temporal scales of the phenomenon.


The Sun, the Sky, and a Whole Lotta Pie: Ruff Ruffman’s Sun and Shadows Game
Interactive, background reading material, and teaching tips
Explore the relationship between the Sun’s apparent path in the sky and changing shadows with this interactive game featuring PBS KIDS character Ruff Ruffman. Students help Ruff use shadow clues to solve a problem: getting to the bakery before his twin brother so he can get the only apple-bacon-kibble pie made. The game allows students to model and manipulate the location of the Sun to observe the effect on an object’s shadow.


Earth in Orbit
Video, background reading, teaching tips, English/Spanish transcript
Observe and learn about Earth as it rotates on its tilted axis and orbits the Sun in this adapted video by the California Academy of Sciences. This resource can help students visualize the time and spatial scale of Earth’s rotation and orbit around the Sun while also stimulating curiosity and thinking about Earth’s axis and how the planet moves in space.




Color Vision
Interactive simulation
Use different color lights to create white light.

They Might Be Giants – Roy G Biv
Song that can be used to remember the colors of the visible light spectrum.




Bending Light
Interactive simulation
Use models to describe how light travels and interacts when it strikes an object using evidence from observations.

Light and the Law of Reflection
Learn about the reflection of light in this video segment adapted from Shedding Light on Science. Ball bearings are used to represent photons and illustrate the reflective property of light. A beam of light traveling through a water table demonstrates how two different surfaces—a mirror and a paper card—reflect light. Although light always follows the law of reflection, see how the seemingly smooth paper is actually rough and affects the way the light is reflected. Ray diagrams and a demonstration of ball bearings dropped onto smooth and rough tiles illustrate why reflected light is scattered from rough surfaces.

Predicting the Angle of a Bouncing Ball
In this Cyberchase video segment, the CyberSquad is trapped in a cave. Inez and Digit have the key to escape, but there is an enormous block of ice in their way. In order to get the key to Jackie and Matt, who are on the other side of the cave, the CyberSquad decides to slide the key along the ice until it bounces off the cave wall and travels to the other side. Since they do not want to risk losing the key, they decide to use a small model. While testing the various aiming points, the CyberSquad learns about angles of reflection.


Visible Light and Matter
Video, images, and reading
Above grade level. Matter can be classified as transparent, translucent, or opaque depending on how it interacts with light.


Sound Waves Experiment
Learn about the behavior of sound waves at different pitches.

Pitch and Frequency
Activity and lesson plan
To further their understanding of sound energy, students identify the different pitches and frequencies created by a vibrating ruler and a straw kazoo. They create high- and low-pitch sound waves.

Sound Vibrations
Activity and lesson plan
This lesson is designed to help students understand that vibrations are responsible for the sounds we hear. Additionally, they learn that sound vibrations can travel through different mediums.


Spectrogram Experiment
Learn about the frequencies that combine to make the “sound fingerprints” of various instruments.

The Science of Sound
Find out how vibrations affect the volume of sound.

Sound: Without Sound
What is sound to someone who is deaf: Follow a deaf student and find out what her day is like and the role sound plays in it.

Pitch and Frequency
Activity and lesson plan
To further their understanding of sound energy, students identify the different pitches and frequencies created by a vibrating ruler and a straw kazoo. They create high- and low-pitch sound waves.

Sound Vibrations
Interactive, videos, handouts, documents, and lesson plan
This lesson is designed to help students understand that vibrations are responsible for the sounds we hear. Additionally, they learn that sound vibrations can travel through different mediums.


String Telephone
Interactive, activity, and lesson plan
Students investigate how sound travels through string and air. First, they analyze the sound waves with a paper cup attached to a string. Then, they combine the string and cup with a partner to model a string telephone. Finally, they are given a design challenge to redesign the string telephone for distance.




Flowering or non-flowering plants
Classifying flowering or nonflowering plants.


From Seed to Flower
Plant growth in time-lapse format. The growth and development of a plant is one of the most spectacular events in nature. Yet, because it happens so slowly, over the course of days or weeks, it is difficult to observe in real time. Students can observe in just a few seconds some of the most important life stages of a plant, from germination to the formation of a flower, and several phases in between.


Pumpkin growth time-lapse: from the seed to the mature fruit in 108 days and nights
4 ½ minute video clip is a time-lapse shot with a GoPro Hero in southern Sweden.


Heredity: Who Are You?
Video and link to additional resources
The passing down of traits from parent to child is called heredity and the study of how those traits go from generation to generation is called genetics. We start by learning about DNA and genes, and how they make us who we are.


Cat Adaptations: Super Senses
Video, activity, discussion questions, vocabulary, and student handouts
Rusty spotted cats are the smallest felines in the world, but these little cats have some extremely powerful senses! In this video from Super Cats: A NATURE Miniseries, students will learn how one tiny cat uses his senses to navigate the world around him. Support materials include discussion questions, vocabulary, and a hands-on activity where students use their sense of touch to help a rusty spotted cat find its way home.


Plant Adaptations
Video and quiz
Plants must adapt to their environments to live and grow.

Roots & Stems
Video and quiz
What do roots and stems do for the plant?

Video and quiz
Role in reproduction.

Mosses & Ferns
Video and quiz
Reproduction through spores, vascular and non-vascular plants.

Plants without Seeds
Slideshow and quiz
How do plants reproduce without seeds?

Plant Defenses: How Plants Avoid Being Eaten
Video explaining structural adaptations that allow plants to survive herbivory. Includes macrophotography and animations.

The Amazing Ways Plants Defend Themselves – Valentin Hammoudi
Video explaining unique adaptations that help plants survive insect and animal attacks. Includes introduction of plant immune systems and cell structures. Fully animated with narration.


Beaks: Bird Feeding Adaptations
Video explaining how bird beaks are shaped to allow for efficient resource obtainment.