According to the Michigan Department of Education's Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs), fourth graders will:

"Develop an understanding that the sun is the central and largest body in the solar system and that Earth and other objects in the sky move in a regular and predictable motion around the sun. Understand that those motions explain the day, year, moon phases, eclipses, and the appearance of motion of objects across the sky. Understand that gravity is the force that keeps the planets in orbit around the sun and governs motion in the solar system. Develop an understanding that fossils and layers of Earth provide evidence of the history of Earth’s life forms, changes over long periods of time, and theories regarding Earth’s history and continental drift."

This is information that will be covered during the Earth Science Unit. Students will complete lessons entitled:
"Comparing the Sun, Moon, and Earth", "Solar Dance", and "Time Wise"...just to name a few.

As this unit commences, the identification and comparison of common objects in the sky will be the student's initial study. The class will participate in long term observations of the sun and moon; including Lunar observations and the completion of a "Moon Books". Students will identify patterns in movement and they will collect data to summarize information regarding the orbit of the Earth around the sun, and the moon around the Earth.
As a class, we will use scale models and activities, which will provide the tools to demonstrate the orbits and explain the predictable cycle of one month in the phases of the moon, and day and night as the movement of the sun and moon across the sky.

As this unit wraps up, students will explore the history of the Earth through evidence from fossils and compare fossils of life forms with organisms that exist today.

The underlying theme within the physical, life, and Earth science is ENERGY...and specifically energy from the sun. Students can and will make connections between the heat and light energy from the sun and the dependency of all living things on the sun.