New York State Science Standards for Grade 4

Instructor: Bill Sands
Discover the standards used in fourth grade science classes throughout New York. Find out what content students will learn, and become familiar with resources that can help students review their science knowledge.

Fourth Grade Science Standards in New York

The state of New York adopted new science standards in December 2016. Based on the Next Generation Science Standards, this series features topics covered in the previous set of standards, as well as several new concepts, processes, and ideas for students in the fourth grade to explore.

Standards Structure

The standards for fourth graders are broken down into four subjects, each of which is related to a core scientific discipline, such as physical, life, and Earth science.

These subject-area standards are accompanied by a list of standards related to Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts. These descriptors provide additional information on broader student expectations used to confirm that students are continuing to improve important skills and to provide a common link between the main science disciplines.

Fourth Grade Subjects

Students at this level can expect to encounter new ideas and build upon topics that have already been introduced at the lower grade levels.


New York students tackle the concept of energy for the first time in fourth grade. Students can expect to rely on familiar skills, such as scientific investigation and data collection, as they tackle topics including electric circuits, collisions between objects, energy conversion, and the use of natural resources to generate energy.

Earth's Systems: Processes that Shape the Earth

After covering the basics of Earth's systems in the second grade, New York students are expected to explore this concept more thoroughly in the fourth grade.

As the name would suggest, this subject teaches students about the physical composition of the Earth and the materials and processes involved in shaping the world we know today. Standards cover such topics as weathering, erosion, and topography. Students are also expected to devise potential means of preventing natural Earth processes from affecting humans and use rock formations and fossils to explain the changes to a landscape.

Waves: Waves & Information

In a return to a subject introduced in first grade, students use their existing knowledge of light and sound waves to explore their behaviors and applications. During these lessons, students are expected to design a model that can depict amplitude and wavelength and explain how waves make objects move.

Other objectives include generating and comparing solutions to problems that utilize a pattern of waves for information transfer. This instruction incorporates the Disciplinary Core Ideas involving the transmission of information, while the development and use of models satisfies one of the major Science and Engineering Practices.

Structure, Function, & Information Processing

In first grade, students were asked to identify functional uses of animals' different body parts. Fourth graders build on that knowledge by designing models to examine the role reflected light plays in vision, developing arguments about the various benefits that animals derive from internal and external structures, and employing models in an effort to explain how animals receive and respond to information.

Study Materials for Kids

Whether you're living in New York or anywhere else in the world, has several online resources to help students improve their scientific literacy.

This Science for Kids course covers a wide range of scientific topics for students in elementary school. If you're looking for more specific content, this 4th Grade Science course contains plenty of useful information to help students learn about concepts ranging from energy types and electricity to weathering, erosion, and rock properties. Elementary School Science Worksheets helps students practice what they've learned.

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