Grade 4Science

Focus: In this unit students explore the dynamic nature of Earth, including the layers of our planet: the inner and outter core, the mantle, and the crust.

As they explore the ever-changing Earth and the processes that drive change, students see the effect of continental drift and how actions in the mantle cause major changes in Earth’s crust. Mountains may be formed when large parts of Earth’s crust push against each other.

In addition, students explore other surface-transforming processes, including weathering and erosion, change Earth over time. Also, by studying rocks, rock layers, and fossils, geologists find even more evidence that the structure of Earth’s surface has changed over time.

Some natural geological events that change Earth’s surface—such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and mudslides—can be hazardous to people. Understanding the large-scale processes behind these events can help people engineer safeguards, such as earthquake-resistant buildings, that consider potential damage and danger.

This is a problem-based unit, which means that students build, over the course of all the lessons, to a culminating capstone activity. Every lesson is designed to help students publish or present their findings to their community.

Number of Lessons: 13

Lesson Time: 30–45 minutes daily. Each lesson may be divided into shorter segments.

Please note that certain lessons in this unit are designed for multiple days, resulting in approximately 21 days of instruction. For more information, please refer to the recommended Pacing Guide within the Teacher Guide.


Additional Search Terms:

plate • fossil • geologist • Earth’s core • mantle • Earth’s crust • rocks• sedimentary • igneous • metamorphic • earthquake • tsunami • volcano • hot spot • lava • magma • weathering • erosion • landslide • nonfiction • informational text


CKSci Grade Levels: CKSci units are correlated to topics at the grade levels specified in the 2019 Core Knowledge Science Sequence.

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