Elementary School Curriculum

The Primary Years Programme - PYP

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Grade Four

Programme of Inquiry

Units of study, which meet the criteria of the International Baccalaureate Organization, have been developed for each grade level. Each unit is taught through a structured inquiry method and focuses on key concepts which are international and skill-based. Throughout each unit students have the opportunity to develop an action component in response to what they have learned. Whenever meaningfully possible, other curricular areas are integrated to support an in-depth exploration of the unit.

The units for Grade 4 are: 


Central Idea: Beliefs and values of cultures are conveyed through rituals, celebrations and the way people live their lives.

Key Concepts: form, connection, perspective, responsibility

Related Concepts:  geography, seasons, religion, chronology, family, diversity, identity, prejudice, traditions, self-concept, acceptance, roles, value, beliefs, human rights, trust, well-being

Lines of Inquiry:

  • the role of rituals and celebrations in society

  • how rituals are used by cultures to mark beliefs and important events

  • the significance of symbols used in society



Central Idea: Cultures change over time due to various reasons.

Key Concepts: causation, change, connection

Related Concepts: geography, resources, technological advances, artifacts, exploration, innovation, progress history, communication, culture, tradition, contrast, audience, conflict

Lines of Inquiry:

  • aspects of Japanese culture and society

  • changes that have occurred in Japanese culture over the past 100 years

  • factors the at have influenced these changes



Central Idea: Advertising is a powerful force which is used to influence the choices we make.

Key Concepts: form, connection, perspective

Related Concepts:  roles, communication, identity, truth, innovation, choice, stereotype, teamwork, trust, audience, propaganda , opinion

Lines of Inquiry:

  • the purposes of advertising

  • the various forms advertising take

  • the use of language, images and sounds in advertising

  • the effectiveness of assorted advertisements

  • the affect of advertising on the choices we make



Central Idea: Natural changes in the earth’s structure and atmosphere can have devastating effects.

Key Concepts: form, function, causation

Related Concepts: geography, landscape, erosion, resources, forms of energy, tectonic plate, physical changes, earth’s structure, risk-taking, community, initiative

Lines of Inquiry:

  • the structure of the earth

  • natural disasters that may occur when the earth’s structure and atmosphere change

  • the affect of natural disasters on people and the environment

  • human preparedness and responses to natural disasters



Central Idea: In an organization people share a responsibility towards a common purpose.

Key Concepts: function, connection

Related Concepts: networks, rights, cooperation, employment, interdependence,  wealth, poverty, communication, roles, goals, consequences, independence, well-being

Lines of Inquiry:

  • the types of organizations that people work in

  • the variety of jobs that people perform

  • the qualities and skills necessary to work in a particular organization

  • the responsibilities workers have for specific jobs within an organization

  • the ways in which people work together to achieve a goal or vision



Central Idea:  Pollution is a consequence of the way we live our lives, and impacts the global environment.

Key Concepts: form, causation, connection, responsibility

Related Concepts: conservation, pollution, forms of energy, sustainability, interdependence, dependence, impact, media, composition, environment, relationships

Lines of Inquiry:

  • forms of pollution that may be harmful to people and the environment

  • the impact pollution has on the environment

  • alternative materials, processes and practices that may decrease the amount of waste produced

  • the individual and society’s responsibilities to the environment

Language – Aims and Content 

The aim is to develop the child’s ability to express himself/herself confidently, in fluent and accurate English.

Oral Communication – Listening and Speaking

Children will show an awareness of the power of oral language. They will use speech responsibly to inform, entertain and influence others. They will be able to listen for a sustained period of time and for a variety of purposes. They will use a wide range of vocabulary and complex sentence structures to clearly express and explain their thought, needs, feelings, opinions and ideas. The children will be given the opportunity to perform for an audience through a variety of activities. 

Written Communication – Reading and Writing

Reading – the children will be taught using a balanced literary program including a variety of reading strategies and structures. This may include individual instruction, levelled and heterogeneous guided reading groups and literary response groups. There is an emphasis on reading to learn through literature-based instruction. Selected novels are the core reading materials for independent readers. 

Writing – the children, through daily writing experiences will write fluently and effectively for a wide range of purposes. They will use the writing process confidently and with a growing independence. They will revise writing to clarify ideas and be able to edit and proofread their own work. The children will continue to develop their understanding and use of the six writing traits in their writing. Students will continue to focus on formation of Zaner-Bloser script cursive letters. Letter size, proportion, form and legibility will be emphasized.


Oral Communication

  • listening – learning to listen to gain information and respond appropriately

  • speaking – using spoken language to communicate effectively; express feelings and state opinions

Written Communication

  • reading – learning about the structure of print and the meaning it conveys

  • writing – using writing to express ourselves meaningfully and creatively using rules and conventions of English

Visual Communication

  • learning to use, understand and construct different forms of visual images

  • experimenting with visual media and its influence on thinking and behaviour

Dramatic Communication

  • learning how to develop creativity, self-expression and empathy

  • participating in drama

Learning Outcomes

By the end of Grade 4 students are expected to:

Oral Communication: Speaking and Listening

  • explain ideas clearly in a discussion

  • modulate voice for effect in reading or drama

  • follow instructions when pursuing a task individually or as a member of a group

  • participate appropriately in conversation and group discussion

Written Communication: Reading and Writing


  • read silently and with sustained concentration

  • use context as a basis for predicting meaning of unfamiliar words


  • write texts which include the elements of setting, characters, conflict resolution, chronological order of events and clarity of expression

  • write using a variety of genres including narrative and non-fiction

  • use ideas, themes and structures from own reading in their writing

  • use patterns to spell correctly

  • show a growing awareness of family word groups

  • use cursive script in independent work

  • Visual Communication: Viewing and Presenting

  • make presentations that reflect thinking and points of view

  • identify and use different media/visual aids

Dramatic communication

  • use voice and body language to add emphasis to characterization in role play

  • use simple elements of production


Teachers use a variety of resources and mathematic schemes in their planning and teaching. The emphasis is on learning mathematics through practical activities, discussion and application.

The aim of the programme is to help students to develop:

  • an understanding of the nature and the purpose of mathematics
  • skills in mathematical thinking within a supporting network of concepts, facts and techniques
  • confidence in using and applying mathematics
  • an appreciation for its challenges and satisfaction from solving mathematical problems
  • an awareness of the place of mathematics in solving the problems of everyday life


The mathematics curriculum is divided into five strands: Shape and Space, Data Handling, Measurement, Pattern and Function and Number.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of Grade 4 students are expected to:

Mathematics objectives are currently under the review cycle. The revised list may be posted by the end of the first trimester.