Grade 4

About Our Grade 4 Program

Building upon the cognitive and social-emotional skills, knowledge and confidence gained in third grade, fourth graders take initiative, practice personal agency and hone their critical-thinking capabilities. As the oldest students of  the Lower School, they are eager to share their perspectives and express their ideas as they continue to explore their identities as individuals and members of a classroom community. Our thoughtfully-sequenced program and rigorous curriculum provides opportunities for developmentally-appropriate risk taking, which enables fourth graders to deepen their learning and expand their personal definitions of what’s possible.

Classroom Communities

At Brookwood, teachers lay the foundations for strong class communities: expectations are shared, routines are established and rules are created in order to help all kids be their best. We devote the beginning weeks of school to practicing the skills needed to create and maintain a cooperative and collaborative environment. Classroom communities are created anew every September—each one unique and distinct, molded by the personalities and passions of its students and teachers—with the overarching goal of honoring all individuals as members of our broader, vibrant Brookwood community.

Building Relationships Across Grades

Leadership opportunities abound in fourth grade. For example, as part of our Personal Growth and Development (PGD) program, fourth graders meet with Early Childhood buddies throughout the year to foster a greater understanding of what it means to be an empathetic and responsible member of our school community. This marks an important milestone for fourth graders—having been paired with eighth graders in third grade, they are now the ones serving as role models and leaders to their younger buddies.

Recess Regatta

Each May, fourth graders eagerly participate in the annual Recess Regatta, in which hand-carved miniature boats set sail on Cutler Pond in a race to the duck house. Through our fourth grade woodworking curriculum—based upon the principles of “sloyd” (originating in the 19th century as handcrafted)—students use chiseling techniques and belt sanders as well as physics theories and engineering principles to design and craft seaworthy (or rather, pond-worthy) vessels. Since 1989, the Recess Regatta tradition has been beloved by fourth graders, as well as our entire school community, and is an example of how cross-curricular, hands-on projects add depth and vibrancy to our academic program.


Curriculum Overview


The fourth grade mathematics curriculum builds upon the foundation laid in the prior Lower School grades and further strengthens students’ analytical thinking skills and number sense (good intuition about numbers, their magnitude, relationships and how they are affected by operations). Guided by the Investigations in Number, Data, and Space program, students focus on solving problems accurately and efficiently. They use arrays, pictures, models, data sets and story problems to discuss, develop and refine a range of strategies for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing larger multi-digit numbers. Students also extend their knowledge of the base-10 number system up to 1,000,000 and build a deeper understanding of fractions and decimals. In addition, fourth graders deepen their foundational knowledge of geometry and measurement by classifying quadrilaterals, finding the volume and identifying angle measurements, fractional parts and 2-D silhouettes of 3-D solids. Each student also engages in individualized practice to further facilitate mastery of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. As students apply this knowledge to model situations with mathematics, solve multi-step problems and analyze patterns, they demonstrate an understanding of increasingly complex mathematical situations and relationships.


Fourth graders read and discuss a variety of books that reflect diverse cultures, genres, and perspectives. They continue to grow their identity as a reader as their development of decoding and comprehension skills merge with topics that interest them most. When they engage in book groups, our readers recognize and discuss character development, more complex plots, the role of setting, word choice, and some literary devices. Fourth graders focus on expanding commonly used, specialized, and complex vocabulary with context support from texts. The writing curriculum is designed to encourage fourth graders to bring characteristics of genres, knowledge of audience and sense of purpose to writing. They dive more deeply into familiar genres, such as fiction and expository writing. Fourth graders develop an appreciation and aim for precise language, revise and edit writing during and after composing and attempt correct applications of learned conventions in final drafts.


The fourth grade science curriculum explores both human anatomy, biology and ecology. They learn the importance and functions of wetlands, gain familiarity with the biodiversity of life on Earth and problem solve engineering projects. Fourth graders leave this year with an understanding of the interconnectedness of the major systems of the human body, as well as the relationship between the human reproductive system and the onset of puberty.

Social Studies

Fourth graders engage in a variety of activities to help them explore the concept of “identity,” beginning with themselves and then expanding this idea to various groups of people within a variety of historical contexts. They learn about stereotypes and examine, discuss and analyze different perspectives. Students embark on the research process, including taking notes from a wide variety of sources, discerning pertinent versus nonessential information and presenting information through formally written and performed pieces. Students develop a working understanding of various historical events that have contributed to individual and group concepts of identity that evolve over time.

World Language

Beginning in fourth grade, students choose one language and through the remainder of their careers at Brookwood, strengthen their fluency of the language and deepen their knowledge of associated cultures. Fourth graders learn basic vocabulary as it relates to the classroom and their lives, common expressions (How are you?, How old are you?, etc.), and various cultural aspects of countries in which the language is spoken. Throughout the year, students develop proficiency in a second language by being introduced to reading and writing in their chosen language.  They begin to create their own sentences accompanied by illustrations to reinforce the content and ideas while continuously gaining a greater understanding of customs and traditions that help define and shape cultures.


Fourth graders practice making connections within literature, as well as with words (e.g. plan a search strategy for information using keywords to find the information using various sources such as a book index, library catalog, online site). They also begin to recognize there are different types of resources that can be used for different purposes: books, databases, periodicals, pre-selected websites and reference materials.

Music & Performing Arts

In fourth grade, students learn to sing in two part-harmonies and three part canons, sight-read SA music, sing and recognize the difference between chest and head voice and gain and exposure to 4/4, 2/4, and 3/4, and 6/8 meters. Fourth graders also perform in a drum ensemble, learning to read and perform complex rhythms, foster an appreciation and respect for many styles of music and develop an ability and love for performing.

Visual Arts

The fourth grade visual arts curriculum builds on and expands upon skills and design concepts introduced in third grade. The exploration of the human figure and landscape continues while working with two-dimensional and three-dimensional formats. Art forms from other countries and traditions are investigated and cross-curricular projects are done.  A variety of ceramic hand-building techniques (pinch, coil, and slab) are also reviewed and sculpting is added. Students are reminded to take creative risks, practice and believe in themselves as artists.

Physical Education

In the fourth grade, students develop sport-specific skills in field hockey, soccer, flag football, speedminton, basketball, volleyball, badminton, track and field and lacrosse. While doing so, they also develop sportsmanship in increasingly competitive situations. Fourth graders are given more independence in P.E., and are asked to take responsibility for lockers, clothing and equipment.


Fourth graders become proficient in using programming software to communicate, express themselves, and solve problems individually and collectively. They are also introduced to software for web mapping and outlining and use word processing skills to create finished reports.
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