Lower School (Jr. K-4)

Grade 4

Fourth Grade at US

In fourth grade, social studies content is taught through the integrated theme studies of Ancient China and Whaling - A Way of Life. These in-depth studies provide experiences for boys to become deeply involved in the study of a particular topic, which allows them to take ownership of their learning. They also provide a context and a rationale for students to learn necessary research skills, which are integral to every theme. They study the interdependence between indigenous people and their environment, interaction between cultures, the need people have to explore their immediate environment and the wider world, and the development by all cultures of intellectual life including social, political, religious and artistic endeavors. They learn that societies that have their roots in ancient cultures must adapt to technological changes, the extended family has been the basis of community cohesiveness, the growth of civilization has been dependent upon access to waterways, and industry has developed from natural resources. 

Core Curriculum

Fourth graders master multiplication and long division and engage in an extensive study of fractions and decimals using the Bridges curriculum. They collect data and use mean, median, mode, and range to compare sets of data. They expand upon their knowledge of polygons, lines and angles, and how to calculate the area and perimeter of polygons and irregular shapes. They continue to develop and expand their problem-solving abilities.

In fourth graders learn to recognize and appreciate different genres in reading and writing. They engage deeply in reading independently for information, ideas, and pleasure, and begin to be critical interpreters of texts. They learn about the writing process and are expected to include a well-described setting, developed characters, a coherent story line, conflict that produces action, and effective resolution in the stories they write. Instruction in spelling and vocabulary building continue, as does refinement of handwriting.

In fourth grade, the goal of the science curriculum is for students to gain insights about science concepts, develop the abilities to do science effectively using science inquiry skills, and develop positive attitudes and curiosity about their scientific world. Experiences are provided where boys regularly make observations and predictions, measure and record data, and collaborate with peers. Boys are taught to use the tools of scientists to assist them in their discoveries and are encouraged to communicate their experiences in varied modes. Their investigations include matter, acids/bases, water, silkworm life cycle, marine ecosystems, cetaceans, geography, climate, oceanography, astronomy, outdoor explorations, and the use of microscopes.

Co-curricular Disciplines

Speaking and reading in Spanish gives boys the opportunity to expand their thinking and comprehension. Fourth grade boys study Spanish three our of seven days in our rotating schedule. They build vocabulary, including many new verbs and a deeper understanding of verb conjugation. They have conversations with each other and learn how to make more creative responses. Reading in Spanish strengthens pronunciation, comprehension and production. They conduct research projects about notable Hispanics to understand how Hispanic culture has had an impact on the world.

Fourth grade boys learn through play, experiencing musical concepts and gaining skills through their own active involvement. Listening acuity, expressive performance, and considerate participation are stressed in every lesson. Boys engage in creative holistic music making using the Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education. Fourth graders learn harmonic singing in two and three parts, and canons. They explore compound meter, syncopation, and sixteenth notes. They learn classroom use of large recorders, hand bells, guitars, and percussion. They study the instruments of the orchestra, join the Junior Choir, and may join the Flying Mallets and other pop-up ensembles.

Art is a place where the boys discover that art is everywhere. We explore the theme-based curriculum at each grade level and dive a little deeper into cultural art forms. Introductions to artists and traditional cultures play a key role in learning, but it is the student who makes that technique his own. In fourth grade, we explore symbolism and feeling in art. We critique further into our artwork and explain why or how? We explore color and storytelling using ancient art forms. Learning from traveling and field trips gives boys a perspective both emotional and literal.

We provide successful physical experiences for all boys through a curriculum designed to foster and develop the knowledge and values, physical skills, and practices necessary for personal physical fitness and lifetime wellness. In fourth grade, boys learn specialized skills in manipulative activities, rhythms, games and sports, large apparatus, stunts and tumbling, and swimming. Locomotor, non-locomotor, and manipulative skills are refined. Physical fitness is integrated into each lesson.
Young boys have boundless energy and a natural tendency to explore and discover.

The Fourth Grade Curriculum at a Glance

Whaling - A Way of Life


  • How does the environment influence the development of a culture?
  • How does technology advance a culture?
  • How does the past influence the present?
  • How do people work together to benefit each other and the environment?
  • How does the nature of ecosystems affect society?


Boys learn to love reading, researching, and expressing themselves through literature-based activities. In fourth grade, boys became more independent users of the library and a greater emphasis is placed on their understanding of the research process as they use the library for information as well as pleasure. We review Internet use and safety, evaluate websites for accuracy and currency, and distinguish between primary and secondary sources. In most cases, research is tied to assignments and projects in the classroom. In fourth grade, boys are asked to evaluate an author’s voice, and to use this knowledge while expressing themselves in a variety of creative writing projects. They study favorite authors and learn ways to share their reading with their classmates.


Shaker Heights Campus JUNIOR K – GRADE 8

20701 Brantley Road, Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122
Phone: (216) 321-8260

Hunting Valley Campus GRADES 9 – 12

2785 SOM Center Road, Hunting Valley, Ohio 44022
Phone: (216) 831-2200