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Grade 4

4-LS1-1 Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior and reproduction. 
              Science and Engineering Practices: Engaging in Argument from Evidence
              Disciplinary Core Ideas: Structure and Function
              Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models
 
What could we do?
Students could visit a natural area to observe plants and animals in their environment. Common species that are easily observed, like squirrels, ants, spiders and trees, provide opportunities for students to look for evidence of internal and external structures that support survival, growth, behavior and reproduction. Students should document this evidence in writing and with digital photographs or sketches. Also ask students to look for plants and animals that do not show evidence of having structures to support survival, growth, behavior or reproduction. How are those species different than the ones that do show such structures? In the classroom, have the students write a paper to support the concept that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior and reproduction. They should include specific examples from the observations made during the field trip.
 
Where could we go?
Illinois state parks, city parks, national wildlife refuges, forest preserve district sites, nature centers, conservation district sites, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites and other locations
 
4-ESS1-1 Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time. 
              Science and Engineering Practices:  Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
              Disciplinary Core Ideas:  The History of Planet Earth
              Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns
 
What could we do?
Visit a natural area that has rock cliffs or other geological features. You may be able to see layers of colors in the rock/soil. They reflect the changes over time in the geology of the area. You may find fossils representing evidence of life that once lived here. If earthquakes have caused rocks to move quickly as they slip along each other at a fault line, there may be evidence above ground. A park naturalist or local geologist may be able to help you identify such features.  A field trip in early spring before the leaves are present on trees, in late fall when the tree leaves have fallen or in winter can help you to see more geological features than when leaves are present.
 
Where could we go?
Many of Illinois’ state parks include geological features that can be used to help support the teaching of this performance objective.
 
4-ESS2-1 Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind or vegetation.
Science and Engineering Practices: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Disciplinary Core Ideas: Earth Materials and Systems; Plate Tectonics and Large-scale System Interactions; Biogeology
Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns; Cause and Effect
 
What could we do?
Students could visit a local natural area to observe the effects of weathering and erosion. They should propose agents that are causing the weathering/erosion and discuss what effects these processes are having on the land. Are these processes affecting land in its natural state, land that has been manipulated in some way by humans or both? Students should propose solutions to slow or stop the weathering/erosion. Upon their return to school, they can be provided with a fictional situation for which they can propose solutions to slow or stop the effects of weathering/erosion. They can also build a model to illustrate the plan and test its effectiveness. If staff members at the natural area have been undertaking steps to stop or diminish weathering/erosion, students can compare areas that have been modified to stop weathering/erosion with areas that are showing the effects of weathering/erosion. What are the differences in these locations? What steps have been successful? What steps were unsuccessful? A field trip in early spring before the leaves are present on trees, in late fall when the tree leaves have fallen or in winter can help you to see more geological features than when leaves are present.
   
Where could we go?
Illinois state parks, city parks, national wildlife refuges, forest preserve district sites, nature centers, conservation district sites, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites and other locations