999 West Dundee Road
Wheeling, Illinois 60090

Phone: 847-537-8270

Superintendent: Dr. Michael Connolly

School Board & Administration



CCSD21 is a school district comprised of 13 schools across 6 different communities in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.



School District 21 prides itself on its Professional Learning Community and its rich tradition of professional collaboration, high levels of professional development, and family-like atmosphere. If you see the opportunity to work with colleagues in making a difference in the lives of students and families in a truly diverse setting, School District 21 seeks your application.

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Fourth Grade

Earth Science

Power Standards
  • Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in landscape over time. (4-ESS1-1)
  • Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation. (4-ESS2-1)
  • Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impact of natural Earth processes on humans. (4-ESS3-2)(Assessment is limited to earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions)

Critical Content

Concepts and Skills

* Power Standard Content

ESS1.C: The History of Planet Earth

  • * Local, regional, and global patterns of rock formations reveal changes over time due to Earth’s forces, such as earthquakes.  The presence and location of certain fossil types indicate the order in which rock layers were formed. (4-ESS1-1)

ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems

  • *Rainfall helps to shape the land and affects the types of living things found in a region. Water, ice, wind, living organisms, and gravity break rocks, soils, and sediments into smaller particles and moves them around. (4-ESS2-1)

ESS2.B:  Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions

  • *The locations of mountain ranges, deep ocean trenches, ocean floor structures, earthquakes, and volcanoes occur in patterns.  Most earthquakes and volcanoes occur in bands that are often along the boundaries between continents and oceans.  Major mountain chains form inside continents or near their edges.  Maps can help locate the different land and water features areas of Earth. (4-ESS2-2)

ESS2.E: Biogeology

  • *Living things affect the physical characteristics of their regions. (4-ESS2-1)

ESS3.B: Natural Hazards

  • *A variety of hazards result from natural processes (i.e., earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions).  Humans cannot eliminate the hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts.  (4-ESS3-2)

Critical Language (Science & Engineering Practices)

Language Usage

  • A student in fourth grade can demonstrate the ability to apply and comprehend critical language by providing evidence of earth’s history and changes over time to support an argument.   


Content-Specific Vocabulary

  • Patterns
  • Rock formations
  • Fossils
  • Landscape
  • Observations
  • Physical characteristic
  • Weathering
  • Plate tectonics
  • Geology
  • Biogeology
  • Canyon
  • Erosion
  • Vegetation
  • Earth’s features
  • Environment
  • Natural hazard
  • Earthquakes
  • Crust
  • Mantle
  • Magma
  • Lava
  • Tsunami
  • Floods
  • Organisms
  • Sediment
  • Soil
  • Mountain range
  • Ocean trench
  • Volcano
  • Continent
  • Eruption


Process-Specific Vocabulary

  • Construct
  • Analyze
  • Interpret
  • Pattern
  • Cause and effect
  • Reversible/irreversible
  • Analyze
  • Observe


Concept-Based Connections

Essential Understanding

  • Identifying evidence from patterns can be used to describe Earth’s features and explain changes to the Earth’s landscape.
  • Interactions among Earth’s systems, as well as human interaction with the Earth, can have an irreversible impact.


Factual Guiding Questions

  • What causes patterns in rocks to form?
  • How do fossils form?
  • What can we learn from fossils about life in the past?
  • How does ice (or water, wind, vegetation) change the surface of the Earth?
  • What is the difference between erosion and weathering?
  • What formations are created by weathering, erosion, and deposition?
  • Give a real life example of ice causing weathering? (wind, water, vegetation)
  • What are examples of the impacts of natural hazards on the Earth?
  • What do humans do to protect themselves from a natural hazard?
  • What natural hazards occur on Earth?

Conceptual Guiding Questions

  • Give an example of the layers of rock can be different and what caused them to be different?
  • Why is studying fossils and Earth’s layers important?
  • How has weathering, erosion, and deposition changed Earth?
  • How can we tell weathering, erosion, and deposition have occurred?
  • Why is it important to study Earth’s history and changes?
  • How do natural hazards affect Earth?
  • What causes natural hazards to occur?
  • Does geographic location affect the type of natural hazard that occurs?
  • What effect have humans had on Earth’s natural resources?


Engaging/Debatable Guiding Questions

  • Can we prove what the surface of the Earth looked like many years in the past by fossils?
  • Can we prove that great changes like the ice age happened by studying layers of the Earth?
  • Is erosion/weathering necessary?
  • Which type of erosion/weathering (wind, ice, water, vegetation) is the fastest?  Whis is the slowest?
  • Should humans make attempts to stop the natural erosion process from happening?
  • Is human impact on natural processes reversible?
  • Are the impacts of natural hazards always negative or can they be positive?
  • Should humans try to reduce the impact of natural hazards on Earth?