Fourth grade is a year of discovery as we continue to become independent learners.
Our Religion curriculum focuses on the four pillars of the Catholic Catechism: what we believe, how we worship, how we live, and how we pray. It is highlighted by a study of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes. Students learn about using the Bible, including how to identify and locate Scripture verses. As faith-filled Catholics, students prepare for and participate in school liturgies, take a vocational field trip to visit the Sisters at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Retreat Center, and enjoy an on-campus retreat that begins with morning Mass in the Basilica followed by a day of spiritual reflection and activities.
In Social Studies, the students focus on geography, history, and rich cultural traditions of California. The year begins with a study of its location, topography, and the four regions of the state. Historically, the journey begins with the early Spanish Explorers, progressing through the founding of the Missions, the Gold Rush, California Statehood, the building of the Transcontinental railroad and finally a look at the modern era of movie making, agriculture, and mass transit. A highlight of the year includes a field trip to our very own Mission San Juan Capistrano, where students view the historic buildings and learn firsthand about life within a mission as a Native American. The students create a ”mission project” which might include a DVD, a photo scrapbook, a PowerPoint presentation, or a replica of a chosen mission. Finally, the year of study culminates with an overnight trip aboard the Brig Pilgrim in Dana Point Harbor. It includes a simulation of what it was like to be a sailor during California’s hide-and-tallow trade.
In the fourth grade, students continue to practice and demonstrate proficiency in their math skills. They learn to add and subtract five-digit numbers, multiply double-digit problems, and do long division. They are introduced to solving simple algebra equations and begin problem-solving using fractions and decimals. They work with geometric figures.
The areas of study in science include life science, earth science, and physical science. Students will explore plant and animal structures, changes in the Earth’s surface, energy, and waves and their properties. They will also study rocks and minerals, and matter and electricity.
Over the course of the year, we read some great literature including Because of Winn Dixie, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Two Years Before the Mast and By the Great Horn Spoon. Students practice their writing skills through journals, poetry, reports, letters, and stories.