Science 4

Course Outline

The Science 4–6 program is a hands-on, minds-on program that encourages students to learn by manipulating materials, observing first-hand, and talking and writing about what they are learning. This active, experiential, inquiry approach promotes the importance of building and expanding on the natural curiosity of students and recognizes the valuable experiences that they bring to the classroom. It seeks to nurture in students a lifelong desire to experience, question, and investigate. In this program, students learn how to conduct investigations by defining problems, seeking answers, making plans, and evaluating their own and others’ thinking.

Learners will investigate a variety of local natural habitats

Through careful observation of local habitats, learners will come to identify components and characteristics that differentiate various habitats. Learners will explore the basic needs of living things and explore how various organisms satisfy their needs in the habitat in which they are typically found. Students can begin to look for ways in which organisms in one habitat differ from those in others and to consider how some of those differences are helpful for survival.

Learners will analyze Interconnectiveness of and within local habitats, inclusive of a Mi’kmaw perspective

While exploring and investigating the plants and animals that live and interact in various local habitats, learners will observe the impact they can have on the environment.The concept of interconnectiveness will be further explored by looking at the variety of populations that exist in a habitat and the impact of the loss of one population on a community. Ideas of biodiversity, populations, food chains, predator/prey relationships and the roles of producers, consumers and decomposers will be developed.  An analysis of interconnectiveness will empower students to take small steps in their local environment to ensure habitats are preserved and protected.

Learners will investigate the properties of Light

An investigation of the properties of light allows for further development of scientific thinking processes. Learners will hone their skills of questioning, observation, cause and effect, as well as drawing conclusions from evidence. An exploration of the properties of light will begin by observing how light interacts with various objects in the environment. These observations help learners gain an understanding of light sources and of materials that block or change the path of light.  Probeware serves as a useful tool that can provide quantitative and graphical data. From these investigations, learners begin to infer that light travels in straight lines. 

Learners will investigate how light is used

An understanding of the properties of light will be enhanced as learners investigate how light is used in nature and in optical devices. An exploration of lenses and mirrors will lead to an understanding of how images can be distorted, magfied or made smaller. Learners will explore the functions of various optical devices that have been developed over time.  These optical devices allow learners to enhance their senses and learn more about the universe.

Learners will investigate sound in the environment 

Sound is a phenomenon that can be sensed, measured and controlled in various ways. Music provides an appropriate context for this outcome. Learners will explore sound production using music to see how various musical instruments can impart different qualities of sound. An investigation of sound in the environment can be facilitated through the use of probeware. The varying ability of humans and other animals to detect sound can also be explored which will lead to discussions about the necessity of ear protection and technologies to enhance hearing.

Learners will test how the properties of sound change

Learning how sound is caused by vibrations is important as learners explore both factors that affect sound production and how sound travels. Learners will inquire about sound production and how pitch and intensity can be varied. The testing of how various materials and states of matter reflect and transmit sound provides an opportunity to practice scientific processes. Using this knowledge, they will be able to design their own musical instruments or sound-making devices.

Learners will analyse rocks, minerals, and fossils in the local environment

In addition to exploring the living things around them, learners will become familiar with the Earth materials that make up their world. From observing, recording descriptions and classifying the rocks and minerals in their local habitat, to exploring the make-up of soil and the fossils that can be found in it, learners can hone their inquiry skills. An analysis of rocks, minerals, and fossils in the local environment provides an opportunity to discover that rocks are used for many things and that rock characteristics help determine their use.

Learners will investigate how the Earth’s surface changes over time

Through an investigation of how the Earth’s surface changes over time, learners will extend their understanding of soil composition from concepts explored in grade 3 to look at the factors that affect landscape changes. Learners will investigate the changing landscape by examining the processes of erosion, transport and deposition.  Additionally, learners will determine how wind, water and ice reshape the landscape. Learners will explore the impact of both humanity and nature on the Earth and will come to realise that the Earth is a dynamic, ever-changing planet.


  • Learners will investigate a variety of local natural habitats.
  • Learners will analyse interconnectiveness of and within local habitats, inclusive of a Mi’kmaw perspective.
  • Learners will investigate properties of light.
  • Learners will investigate how light is used.
  • Learners will investigate sound in the environment.
  • Learners will test how properties of sound change.
  • Learners will analyse rocks, minerals, and fossils in the local environment.
  • Learners will investigate how the Earth’s surface changes over time.

Updated March 10, 2022