Inquiry in Fourth Grade

Our fourth graders learn through the lens of six thematic inquiry units throughout their school year.

Inquiry Unit Theme One: How we express ourselves

Central Idea: Understanding diverse creative expression may create open- mindedness.

Sample Inquiry question asked by scholar: I wonder how lacrosse was a form of expression for the Haudenosaunee people?

Summative assessment: Scholars write an informational essay and create a project based on a choice board that includes options like poster, 3D model, and skit.  Scholars present their projects to the class.

Key Concepts: Form, Reflection, Perspective

Subject Focus: Social Studies, Reading, Writing

Learner Profile Traits: Open-Minded, Inquirers, Knowledgeable

ATL Skills: Acquisition of Knowledge (Thinking Skill), Comprehension (Thinking Skill), Analysis (Thinking Skill), Respecting Others (Social Skill), Presenting (Communication Skill), Collecting Data (Research Skill)

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Elements of cultural expressions vary to include art, dance, sport, craftwork, shelter, dress, language, religion, etc.
  • Reflecting on a growing appreciation of diverse cultures builds empathy.
  • Each culture is different but all possess beliefs, structures, and expressions.

Inquiry Unit Theme Two: Where we are in place and time

Central Idea: Cause and effect relationships influence human migrations.

Sample Inquiry question asked by scholar: I wonder about the causes and effects of the great migration?

Summative assessment: Scholars write a narrative essay from the perspective of migrant person.

Key Concepts: Form, Perspective, Causation

Subject Focus: Social Studies, Reading, Writing, Math, Drama

Learner Profile Traits: Knowledgeable, Thinker, Open-Minded

ATL Skills: Writing (Communication Skill), Cooperation (Social Skill), Analysis (Thinking Skill)

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Humans have migrated frequently in various times and places.
  • There are underlying causes of human migrations.
  • There are effects that come along with human migrations.

Inquiry Unit Theme Three: How the world works

Central Idea: Humans design solutions to the world’s engineering problems.

Sample Inquiry question asked by scholar: I wonder how I can design a solution to the problems caused by tsunamis?

Summative assessment: Scholars write an informational essay describing their action plan, materials and design for their solution to the problem caused by a natural disaster of their choice.  Students then choose a creative option from a choice board such as a 3D model or advertisement for their product to be presented to the class.

Key Concepts: Causation, Form

Subject Focus: Science, Math, Reading, Writing

Learner Profile Traits: Open-Minded, Communicator, Reflective  

ATL Skills: Synthesis (Thinking Skill), Resolving Conflict (Social Skill), Presenting (Communication Skill), Planning (Research Skill)

Lines of Inquiry:

  • The natural world can be problematic.
  • The scientific method brings order to finding solutions.
  • Engineers use knowledge and creativity to design.  

Inquiry Unit Theme Four: Who we are

Central Idea: Human bodies are made up of systems.

Sample Inquiry question asked by scholar: TBD

Summative assessment: TBD

Key Concepts: Form, Function

Subject Focus: Science, Health, Reading, Writing

Learner Profile Traits: Inquirer, Knowledgeable

ATL Skills: TBD

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Human bodies are made up of cells.
  • The nervous system and sensory organs gather information for the brain.
  • The skeletal, muscle, skin, and digestive systems all serve important purposes.

Inquiry Unit Theme Five: How we organize ourselves

Central Idea: Human bodies are made up of systems.

Sample Inquiry question asked by scholar: TBD

Summative assessment: TBD

Key Concepts: Connection, Causation, Form

Subject Focus: Social Studies, Math, Reading, Writing

Learner Profile Traits: Knowledgeable, Caring, Reflective

ATL Skills: TBD

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Regions are classified based on geographic characteristics.
  • Geographic factors affect population distribution and the growth of cities.
  • There are costs and benefits of economic decisions.
  • Industrialization brings cultural change.

Inquiry Unit Theme Six: Sharing the planet

Central Idea: Humans share and reuse finite resources.

Sample Inquiry question asked by scholar: TBD

Summative assessment: TBD

Key Concepts: Change, Reflection, Responsibility

Subject Focus: Social Studies, Science, Reading, Writing

Learner Profile Traits: Principled, Inquirer, Caring

ATL Skills: TBD

Lines of Inquiry:

  • Humans can make choices to conserve energy and resources.
  • Human actions affect climate of our planet.
  • Sustainable solutions to environmental problems require thought and action.