STEM Instructional Materials

This integrated OER unit focuses on the 4th grade NGSS bundle addressing Structure, Function, and Information Processing (Performance expectations 4-PS4-2, 4-LS1-1, and 4-LS1-2). Students are engaged in a storyline which presents them with the problem of saving the pika population who live in the Colombia River Gorge, a species which has recently been threatened in this region due to climate change. Through a series of activities, labs, and field STEM experiences, students engage in scientific modeling and investigation, while building their understanding of how an organism’s internal and external structures enable survival, growth and reproduction. The unit culminates with the development of a product that can be shared with a public audience to instigate positive change in the community and help protect the pika.

Unit Overview

Grades: 4

Duration: 27+ Sessions


  • 1 box modeling clay
  • 1 medium-sized, deep, aluminum tin
  • 1 box plastic wrap
  • 1 6-8 oz. paper cup, filled with water and frozen
  • Materials for FOSS Investigation 1: Terrestrial Environments
  • Field STEM Notebooks
  • Computers with internet access
  • Large Poster paper
  • Markers, crayons, colored pencils and construction paper
  • Materials for FOSS Investigation 3: Water Tolerance
  • Materials for FOSS Investigation 6: Salt Tolerance
  • 4 plastic water or soda bottles, 20-ounce
  • Hot tap water
  • Thermometer
  • Sheets of newspaper
  • Wool sock
  • Aluminum foil
  • Black plastic bag
  • Tape
  • Stop Heat from Escaping Worksheet
  • Ice
  • Materials for FOSS investigation 2: Bugs and Beetles
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