4th Grade Science Standards in California

Instructor: Marissa Baranauskas
Discover the 4th grade science standards used in classrooms throughout California. Find out what content students will learn, and become familiar with resources that can help students develop their science skills.

California 4th Grade Science Standards

In 2013, California adopted the California Next Generation Science Standards for kindergarten through 12th grade. The CA NGSS focus on what students should know and be able to do by the time they complete each grade level. These standards include three dimensions of learning which are, Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI), Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEP), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCC), that are integrated to create maximum learning opportunities. The Disciplinary Core Ideas for 4th grade include:

Life Science

This subject addresses the structure and function of both plants and animals. Students will learn the basic parts of plants and animals, how these parts allow them to perform necessary life functions, and how animals use their sensory receptors to gather and process information. They will also develop an argument, explaining how plant and animal structure is related to specialized functions. Additionally, students will create a model that demonstrates how animals use their senses and respond to information.

The following collections of lessons can help students learn about these life science topics:

As an alternative, you can use these resources to develop your own lessons to use with students.

Earth Science

The formation of planet Earth and the impact that natural processes and human behavior have on its landscape are addressed with this subject. Students will learn how to identify changes and patterns in rock layers, the geographical location of large features such as mountain ranges and volcanoes on maps, how humans use natural resources for fuel and energy, and how the hazards posed by natural disasters can be reduced. Students will also be able to demonstrate their comprehension of weathering and erosion by conducting observations.

As supplemental resources, students can develop their skills in these topics by using these lessons on:

Physical Science

This subject addresses the concepts of energy and waves. Students will learn energy definitions, how energy and force interact, ways in which energy is conserved and transferred, and how energy is used in the chemical processes that support life. Additionally, they will learn about the properties of waves, how light is reflected and seen, and how technologies send and receive digital information. Students will also develop models to demonstrate concepts of wave amplitude and wavelength, and how light is observed by the human eye.

Students can learn more about these physical science topics using the following collections of lessons:

Your students can use the interactive quizzes and printable worksheets included with each lesson to see how much they've learned.


An introduction to the processes used to identify and solve problems is covered within this subject. Students will be tasked with researching a problem, and then they will use a specific criteria to develop and test their solutions under a variety of conditions. During this process, they will learn how to communicate with others to determine which is the best solution and to improve on any challenges that were faced during the design process.

For more information about engineering, students can use these lessons:

With these lessons, students will learn about the engineering design process as well as various forms of engineering.

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