Grade 4

Science Curriculum

Year 4 Level Description

The science inquiry skills and science as a human endeavour strands are described across a two-year band. In their planning, schools and teachers refer to the expectations outlined in the achievement standard and also to the content of the science understanding strand for the relevant year level to ensure that these two strands are addressed over the two-year period. The three strands of the curriculum are inter-related and their content is taught in an integrated way. The order and detail in which the content descriptions are organised into teaching and learning programs are decisions to be made by the teacher.

Incorporating the key ideas of science

Over Years 3 to 6, students develop their understanding of a range of systems operating at different time and geographic scales.

In Year 4, students broaden their understanding of classification and form and function through an exploration of the properties of natural and processed materials. They learn that forces include non-contact forces and begin to appreciate that some interactions result from phenomena that can’t be seen with the naked eye. They begin to appreciate that current systems, such as Earth’s surface, have characteristics that have resulted from past changes and that living things form part of systems. They understand that some systems change in predictable ways, such as through cycles. They apply their knowledge to make predictions based on interactions within systems, including those involving the actions of humans.


Living things have life cycles - ACSSU072

Making and recording observations of living things as they develop through their life cycles

  • describing the stages of life cycles of different living things such as insects, birds, frogs and flowering plants.
  • comparing life cycles of animals and plants.
  • recognising that environmental factors can affect life cycles such as fire and seed germination.

Living things depend on each other and the environment to survive - ACSSU073

  • investigating how plants provide shelter for animals.
  • investigating the roles of living things in a habitat, for instance producers, consumers or decomposers.
  • observing and describing predator-prey relationships.
  • predicting the effects when living things in feeding relationships are removed or die out in an area.
  • recognising that interactions between living things may be competitive or mutually beneficial.

Natural and processed materials have a range of physical properties that can influence their use - ACSSU074

  • describing a range of common materials, such as metals or plastics, and their uses
  • investigating a particular property across a range of materials
  • selecting materials for uses based on their properties.

considering how the properties of materials affect the management of waste or can lead to pollution.

Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural processes and human activity - ACSSU075

  • collecting evidence of change from local landforms, rocks or fossils
  • exploring a local area that has changed as a result of natural processes, such as an eroded gully, sand dunes or riverbanks.
  • investigating the characteristics of soils
  • considering how different human activities cause erosion of the Earth’s surface.
  • considering the effect of events such as floods and extreme weather on the landscape, both in Australia and in the Asia region

Forces can be exerted by one object on another through direct contact or from a distance - ACSSU076

  • observing qualitatively how speed is affected by the size of a force.
  • exploring how non-contact forces are similar to contact forces in terms of objects pushing and pulling another object.
  • comparing and contrasting the effect of friction on different surfaces, such as tyres and shoes on a range of surfaces.
  • investigating the effect of forces on the behaviour of an object through actions such as throwing, dropping, bouncing and rolling.
  • exploring the forces of attraction and repulsion between magnets.


Science involves making predictions and describing patterns and relationships - ACSHE061

  • exploring ways in which scientists gather evidence for their ideas and develop explanations.
  • considering how scientific practices such as sorting, classification and estimation are used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in everyday life.

Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions - ACSHE062

  • investigating how a range of people, such as clothing designers, builders or engineers use science to select appropriate materials for their work.
  • considering methods of waste management and how they can affect the environment.
  • exploring how science has contributed to a discussion about an issue such as loss of habitat for living things or how human activity has changed the local environment.
  • considering how to minimise the effects of erosion caused by human activity.


By the end of Year 4, students apply the observable properties of materials to explain how objects and materials can be used. They describe how contact and non-contact forces affect interactions between objects. They discuss how natural processes and human activity cause changes to Earth’s surface. They describe relationships that assist the survival of living things and sequence key stages in the life cycle of a plant or animal. They identify when science is used to understand the effect of their actions.

Students follow instructions to identify investigable questions about familiar contexts and make predictions based on prior knowledge. They describe ways to conduct investigations and safely use equipment to make and record observations with accuracy. They use provided tables and column graphs to organise data and identify patterns. Students suggest explanations for observations and compare their findings with their predictions. They suggest reasons why a test was fair or not. They use formal and informal ways to communicate their observations and findings.