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Family and Community Guide for 4th Grade

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Working Together: To support families, communities, and teachers in realizing the goals of the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS), this guide provides an overview of the learning expectations for 4th Grade. This guide offers some learning experiences students may engage in at school that may also be supported at home.

Why Standards? Created by Coloradans for Colorado students, the Colorado Academic Standards provide a grade-by-grade road map to help ensure students are successful in college, careers, and life. The standards aim to improve what students learn and how they learn in 12 content areas while emphasizing critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, and communication as essential skills for life in the 21st century.

See all of the Family and Community Guides here.

Where can I learn more?

  • As always, the best place to learn about what your child is learning is from your child's teacher and school. The Colorado Academic Standards describe goals, but how those goals are met is a local decision.
  • The Colorado Academic Standards were written for an audience of professional educators, but parents and community members looking to dig deeper may want to read them for themselves. Visit the Standards and Instructional Support homepage for several options for reviewing the Colorado Academic Standards.
  • If you have further questions, please contact the content specialists in the Office of Standards and Instructional Support.

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Comprehensive Health (adopted 2018)

The comprehensive health standards in the elementary years focus on developing individual skills to enhance physical, emotional, and social wellness and using those individual skills in family, school, and community environments. In each grade, the standards ask students to investigate healthy eating and living habits, explore positive communication strategies, examine effective decision-making, and identify ways to ensure personal and community safety.

Expectations for 4th Grade Students:

  • Physical and Personal Wellness: Set a goal to enhance personal nutrition and examine the connection between food and health (physical, emotional, social).
  • Social and Emotional Wellness: Identify the positive behaviors that support relationships; define stress and stress management.
  • Prevention and Risk Management: Use interpersonal communication skills to avoid tobacco; identify positive and negative uses for medicines; prevent conflict from escalating to violence.

Throughout 4th Grade You May Find Students:

  • Explaining how healthy foods provide energy for daily activities and how nutrients are necessary for good health, proper growth, and development.
  • Discussing and demonstrating how daily physical activity can make a person feel (increased energy and concentration).
  • Developing healthy relationships with peers and adults who can support school success and encourage responsible behavior.
  • Demonstrating how stress management helps build positive mental health.
  • Communicating personal health needs and wants.
  • Communicating physical and emotional consequences of violence.
  • Effectively communicating to support healthy behaviors in others.
  • Identifying the impact of excessive use of technology and unhealthy substances.

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Computer Science (adopted 2018)

Computer science may be taught at all levels preschool through high school, but the State of Colorado only has standards for computer science in high school.

Read the high school computer science family and community guide.

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Dance (adopted 2022)

The dance standards in the preschool or elementary years focus on general dance knowledge and skills. In each grade, students learn and perform dances, discuss and create dances, describe and critique dances, and give feedback about dances. 

In 4th Grade, students:

  • Movement, Technique, and Performance: Perform dances in different styles from memory.
  • Create, Compose and Choreograph: Create simple dances from a variety of ideas. Explain their movement choices and describe how dance connects to other art forms. 
  • Historical and Cultural Context: Research dances from the past and compare them to present dance styles. 
  • Reflect, Connect, and Respond: Describe the meaning and structure of dances.  

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Drama and Theatre Arts (adopted 2022)

The Drama and Theatre Arts standards in the preschool and elementary years focus on general theatrical knowledge and skills. Students learn acting techniques, create and perform scenes and plays, read plays, and discuss what they like about theatre. 

In 4th Grade, students:

  • Create: Experiment with physical and vocal choices to create meaning in a play. Design technical elements for a play. Create believable characters through body movements, vocal inflections, and improvisation. Share creative ideas when working with others. 
  • Perform: Perform in a scene or a play by portraying various characters.
  • Critically Respond:  Use experience to critique a play. Research how cultural and historical events influence theatrical performances. Discuss lighting, sound, special effects in a performance. 

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Mathematics (adopted 2018)

The mathematics standards in the elementary years focus on number and operations. Ideas from measurement and geometry help students learn about numbers and quantities. In each grade, students make sense of problems, explain their thinking, and describe their world with mathematics.

Expectations for 4th Grade Students:

  • Number and Quantity: Extend the concept of multiplication to multiplying a fraction by whole number through the idea of scaling (the picture is 3 times the original size versus the picture is 1/3 times the original size); compare and contrast simple addition and subtraction of fractions to whole number addition and subtraction; compare the size of fractions; solve simple multi-digit multiplication and division problems by making connections to place value.
  • Algebra and Functions: Fluently (consistently) add and subtract multi-digit numbers; generate and analyze patterns involving multiplication and division.
  • Data, Statistics, and Probability: Solve word problems involving measurements including simple conversions from one unit to another; create bar graphs from measurement data.
  • Geometry: Find the measure of angles; classify shapes based on lines and angles.

Throughout 4th Grade You May Find Students:

  • Adding and subtracting large numbers with ease using place value.
  • Explaining the connection between addition and subtraction.
  • Solving multi-digit multiplication and division problems.
  • Solving word problems about the addition and subtraction of fractions.
  • Explaining what it means when something is one-half or one-third times the original size (1/2 x 1; 1/3 x 1) versus three times the original size of an object (3 x 1).
  • Describing turns with angle measurements (“He just did a 180 on his skateboard”).
  • Exploring what happens when you measure an item in inches versus feet and vice versa.

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Colorado Academic Standards: Music

Music (adopted 2022)

The music standards in the preschool and elementary years focus on general music knowledge and skills. In each grade, students perform a variety of music styles, identify and write music notation, practice musical creativity, and describe their own musical preferences. 

In 4th Grade, students:

  • Expression of Music: Perform using loud/quiet, moderate/fast, and harmony. Respond to feedback and self-reflection. 
  • Creation of Music: Create a melody.
  • Theory of Music: Read, write, and demonstrate knowledge of various music notation symbols.
  • Response to Music: Identify and understand music from American history.

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Physical Education (adopted 2018)

The physical education standards in the elementary years focus on enhancing movement concepts and skills, understanding basic health-related components and skill-related components of fitness and how it relates to personal fitness, demonstrating respect, and the ability to follow directions. In each grade, students demonstrate various movement concepts; assess personal behaviors; connect fitness development to body systems; demonstrate respect for self, others, and various physical activity environments; and utilize safety procedures during physical activities.

Expectations for 4th Grade Students:

  • Movement Competence and Understanding: Identify the major characteristics of mature locomotor (e.g., walking, running, skipping), non-locomotor (e.g., twisting, stretching, bending), manipulative (e.g., catching, throwing, striking) and rhythmic skills (e.g., dancing, jumping rope, hula hoops); provide and receive feedback to and from peers using the major characteristics of mature locomotor and manipulative skills.
  • Physical and Personal Wellness: Explain how the health-related fitness components are used to improve physical fitness; analyze opportunities for participating in physical activity and actively engage in teacher-directed and independent activities.
  • Social and Emotional Wellness: Assess and take responsibility for personal behavior and stress management.
  • Prevention and Risk Management: Demonstrate knowledge of safe practices in a physical activity setting.

Throughout 4th Grade You May Find Students:

  • Dribbling and passing an object to a moving receiver.
  • Using a variety of manipulatives to throw to a moving target, making the needed adjustments for skill improvement.
  • Creating a rhythmic routine, including gymnastics, creative dance, or jump rope.
  • Using peer assessment tools to recognize and evaluate the critical elements of movement in a variety of physical activities.
  • Identifying health-related components of fitness and demonstrating an exercise that positively impacts each component.
  • Understanding the importance of participation in fitness-enhancing physical activities such as gymnastics clubs, community-sponsored youth sports, or activity clubs.
  • Demonstrating respect for the person who is officiating.
  • Explaining safety considerations prior to participation in lead-up games.

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Reading, Writing, and Communicating for K-5 (adopted 2018)

The reading, writing, and communicating standards move from developing skills in reading, writing, and communicating to applying these literacy skills to more complex texts through the elementary years. Standards at each grade emphasize skills related to speaking and collaborating with others as students work with literature and informational readings and participate in individual and group research projects.

Expectations for 4th Grade Students:

  • Oral Expression and Listening: Develop and use a plan to effectively convey information and use active listening strategies (asking questions, paraphrasing, body posture) to receive information.
  • Reading for All Purposes: Read literary (stories), informational, and persuasive books and articles with understanding and with fluency (with appropriate speed, accuracy, and expression) supported by a knowledge of spelling patterns, word parts (prefixes, root words, suffixes), and vocabulary (word meanings) especially when it comes to words with many syllables.
  • Writing and Composition: Use a writing process – planning, drafting, revising, editing, sharing – to produce a variety of stories, informational articles and essays, and opinion pieces for an intended audience and with a clear purpose.
  • Research Inquiry and Design: Use reading and writing skills to gather information – individually and in groups – and produce a written or oral presentation based on the new information gained from the research process.

Throughout 4th Grade You May Find Students:

  • Reading a variety of literature and nonfiction texts to understand different perspectives and perceptions; using strategies to understand texts (generating questions, summarizing, marking the text); making connections within and between different texts.
  • Writing about texts to “think through” a response to a reading; using strategies to effectively share responses with group members; actively listening to others (paraphrasing, summarizing, and responding); reflecting on readings; making personal connections to texts.
  • Exploring the decisions a writer makes in producing the piece of writing (the author’s “craft”); comparing different books, articles, or stories about the same topic; evaluating the use of illustrations or graphics in a text; explaining how writers use evidence to support ideas.
  • Writing narratives to express experiences in the world; using evidence from texts to produce explanations or arguments; using research skills to answer questions about a topic; talking with peers and adults about how to improve writing; writing with accuracy and with a variety of sentence structures, appropriate vocabulary and word choice, and correct punctuation.

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Science (adopted 2018)

Three-dimensional science standards in the elementary grades lay the foundation for students to work and think like scientists and engineers. In elementary grades students will explore disciplinary core ideas in Physical, Life, and Earth and Space sciences by engaging with phenomena in the world around us.  Learners in elementary grades develop and ask testable questions, collect and analyze different types of evidence, and write and communicate our understanding. We also see strong connections to skills students will use to be successful with literacy and mathematics. Mastery of these standards will result in young learners who have a deep understanding of how scientific knowledge can provide solutions to practical problems we see in our world. 


Expectations for 4th Grade Students:

  • Physical Science: Recognize that energy comes in many forms such as light, heat, sound, magnetic, chemical, and electrical and can move from place to place; understand collisions between objects can impact motion; recognize that waves have regular patterns of motion, and that patterns can be used to encode, send, receive, and decode information, explain how an object can be seen. 
  • Life Science: Recognize that organisms have both internal and external structures that serve various functions, and describe how animals receive and process information through their senses.
  • Earth and Space Science: Understand how Earth has changed over time, and how energy and fuels that humans use are derived from natural sources and their uses affect the environment in multiple ways.

Throughout 4th Grade You May Find Students:

  • Using evidence to construct an explanation relating to the speed of an object, and ask questions about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide.
  • Making observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place.
  • Developing models to describe the properties of waves or to describe how we see objects.  
  • Constructing an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. 
  • Using models to describe that animals receive and process information through their senses.
  • Analyzing and interpreting data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features. 
  • Identifying evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time. 
  • Obtaining and combining information to describe that energy and fuels are  derived from natural resources, and their uses affect the environment

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Social Studies (adopted 2022)

The social studies standards in the elementary years begin with individuals and families and move from there to explorations of neighborhoods, communities, the state of Colorado, and the United States. In each grade, students investigate historical events, examine geographic features and resources, consider economic decision-making processes, and define civic roles and responsibilities.

In 4th Grade, students:

  • Explain the role of individuals, diverse cultural groups, and ideas in the history of Colorado. (History)
  • Recognize the connections between important Colorado events and events in the history of the United States. (History)
  • Use maps to ask and answer questions about the geography of Colorado and to understand the interactions between humans and their environment. (Geography)
  • Explain the relationship between choice and “opportunity cost” (the value of something that you give up when choosing something else). (Economics)
  • Discuss multiple perspectives on an issue. (Civics)
  • Explain the formation and structure of Colorado state government (General Assembly, Judicial, and Executive branches). ​(Civics)
  • Define positive and negative incentives. (Personal Financial Literacy)

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Visual Arts (adopted 2022)

The Colorado Academic Standards in visual arts are organized by elements of the creative process taught in a cyclical, interconnected manner the way artists learn, connect, think, come up with ideas, experiment, plan, work, refine, share, and reflect in repetitive ways. 

In 4th Grade,students:

  • Observe and Learn to Comprehend: Understand how artists develop a style by making choices to use different artistic elements and materials. 
  • Envision and Critique to Reflect: Interpret a work of art. Use research to make a personal work of art. 
  • Invent and Discover to Create: Investigate personal interests to create works of art to communicate intent. Use failures to learn and keep going.  
  • Relate and Connect to Transfer: Explain how people find meaning in an artwork. Explain how art can provide details about the time and place they were created. 

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World Languages (adopted 2018)

Instead of being organized by grade level, the world languages standards are organized into ranges that describe the progression of learning a student should experience as they grow from novice language learners to an advanced user.

Read the world languages family and community guide for elementary school here.

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