Science Lab

A Grade 4 Science Exploration

Welcome to our Decomposition Lab Homepage! We have been inquiring into decomposition for the last few months, documenting the process in google apps (which you can view by clicking on the links below), and finally, compiling our findings into digital lab reports using iMovie. Throughout the process, we have been involved in designing the research, building rubrics to evaluate our progress, and blogging about the changes we have observed. Our teachers have also blogged about our experiences here. As we finalize our digital lab reports, we will post them here. We would love your feedback on our work - you can comment by completing this form!  Thank you! CSS Grade 4s

Final Digital Lab Reports
4.1/4.3 Group 1 - Katie, Ethan B and Tyler
4.1/4.3 Group 2 - Rachel, Bennett and Owen
4.1/4.3 Group 3 - Sam, Maia, Sophie
4.1/4.3 Group 4 - Josua, Cameron, Sydney

4.1/4.3 Group 5 - Ruby, Will L, Liam K**

4.1/4.3 Group 6 - Connor, Eddie, Chris
4.1/4.3 Group 7 - Alyssa, Jonah, Ethan M
4.1/4.3 Group 8 - Yashriya, Zayd, and Eric
4.1/4.3 Group 9 - Brandon, Rachel, Marvin
4.1/4.3 Group 10 - Alex, Brendan, Austin
4.1/4.3 Group 11 - Jordan, Sneha and Maitry
4.1/4.3 Group 12 - Michael, Ambrose, Callum
4.1/4.3 Group 13 - Joshua L, Max, Asia
4.1/4.3 Group 14 - Cole, Ciana, Menno

4.1/4.3 Group 15 - Justin P, Caleb, Braden

4.1/4.3 Group 16 - Brielle, Karen, Febronia
4.1/4.3 Group 17 - Hamed, Liam
4.2/4.4 Group 1 - Angie, Kyra, Nikolai
4.2/4.4 Group 2 - Rowan, Claire, Ethan
4.2/4.4 Group 3 - Michael B, Ben B, Karolis
4.2/4.4 Group 4 - Jakob, Alex, Syd D

4.2/4.4 Group 5 - Evan, Mike, Jaxon
4.2/4.4 Group 6 - Aislinn, Mark, Ewan

4.2/4.4 Group 7 - Liam M, Wil J, Leander
4.2/4.4 Group 8 - Emma, Lauren, Qaim
4.2/4.4 Group 9 - Grace, Aryan, Ben U
4.2/4.4 Group 10 - Ross, Cole, Rebecca

4.2/4.4 Group 11 - Logan, Maya, Will L
4.2/4.4 Group 12 - Melanie, Nicole, Camryn
4.2/4.4 Group 13 - Hunter, George, Sam
4.2/4.4 Group 14 - Henry, Justin, Steven

4.2/4.4 Group 15 - Ryan, Mustafa, John**
4.2/4.4 Group 16 - Joel, Rachel, Saige
4.2/4.4 Group 17 - Carter, Blake


What did you like about our work?
"I love hearing the students talk about what they learned themselves.  It shows how engaged they were.  Overall great job!  These students are so intelligent and the inquiry approach was amazing."

"It was awesome!  I liked how the students changed jobs and collaborated throughout the project and the movie.  They had great descriptions of how they conducted the experiment and tracked the data.  I love that they questioned why the potato was different form the other fruits & vegetables.  I liked that the the students explained how their hypothesis worked out."

"I watched two of the decomposition videos and I'm happy to share some of my thoughts.  I'm most impressed by the way students carried out their investigations — Students appeared mature, productive and engaged.  I observed students taking time to carefully weigh their fruit, record their observations, communicate their hypotheses, thoughts, and explanations. I was excited to see and hear students talk about their process using science vocabulary and terms. This communicates that students understand the steps involved in investigations. As fourth grade students, you should be proud of what you all have accomplished. This is a great example of learning science as inquiry. Congratulations scientists!!!" 
- J.DeStefano
graduate student
Saint Joseph College, CT

"I could see the scientific method in every step that you took. I found that you had great strategies to keep the data and were very detailed in your findings."

"This was a great! I am very impressed with how much thought was put into creating such a thorough science experiment. I can tell how much time you all put into making insightful observations about the decomposition of your potato. Great job and keep up the good work :)"

"You were so thorough in you work. You took into account the environment you were in and clearly explained the components of you experiment. I also loved how you created a video for this experiment. It is a great use of technology and something that I have never seen before. Great job."
"This movie was wonderful! It was extremely professional, what a great use of technology! I appreciated the fact that you defined each person's role in the experiment. Very well done, it looks like you learned a lot and your work showed that!"

"This has inspired me to do this in my classroom!"

"This is extraordinary work! Not only are these teachers masterful in designing authentic and worthwhile learning tasks for students but the assessment processes they have developed are clearly designed to deepen student understanding of important science concepts and ways of working. Not only are these students able to demonstrate a complete grasp of sophisticated scientific concepts but they are also able to accurately assess the quality of their own work as well as that of their peers. 
Thank you for documenting this process and making this extraordinary work available to myself and others. I will be pointing to this exemplar of teaching practices and student learning as I continue to work with teachers and school leaders throughout the province and elsewhere. 
The Canadian Education Association has identified the following 5 principles as being indicative of Effective Teaching Practices: 
  1. Teachers thoughtfully and intentionally design learning tasks and assessment processes to steward the intellect of all students 
  2. The work students undertake is worthy of their time and attention 
  3. Assessment practices are created to help students improve and demonstrate proof of their learning 
  4. Relationships of students to peers, teachers, experts, the discipline etc. are strengthened through the work 
  5. Teachers work collaboratively to strengthen their own practices and develop a true scholarship of teaching. T
The work of these teachers demonstrates everyone of the 5 principles at the highest levels. Not only have you empowered the very fortunate grade 4 students whom you teach but you have also helped to ""show the way"" for countless other educators and pre-service teachers throughout this province and elsewhere. 
Thank you for your extraordinary contributions to the field of education in Alberta!"
Candace Saar 
Galileo Educational Network 
University of Calgary

What could we do to improve?
"I would absolutely love to see more pictures and clips of the students thoughts along the way rather than just the final project.  I would love to see the whole process!"

"The only thing would be sure that the students finished what they were saying."

"My only questions I have are: you said that you kept the time, did you take results at the same time each day or did it differ? Also, was the temperature in the room always the same, or is it possible that the temperature decreased as night set in?"

"I think you did a great job. I think there are more questions that need to be asked though. Was the ambient temperature the same throughout the day and night? What type of potato did you use and do you think the results would be different for other types of potatoes? Fun experiment though!"

"I had trouble understanding the graphs, maybe they could be more clearly labeled. I'm wondering how the fruit flies relate to mold growing? Does mold only grow because of fruit flies? You could stay earlier in the presentation how they factor in and how things would change if the potato had more sugar."

Experiment Details
Group Roles: 

Each group member will rotate daily through these roles. Google doc contributions must be made in the colour with which you are identified below.
  1. Digital Documenter:
    • Takes photos (using photo booth), inserts them into the google doc, writes observations that are relevant, descriptive and scientific
  2. Handler:
    • ONLY person who handles the specimen
    • Measures temperature, weight and size (through area) 
    • Records all the info accurately and inputs it correctly into google docs
  3. Analyzer:
    • Computes the mathematical calculations accurately and inputs them appropriately into google docs
ALL group members are responsible for ensuring that accurate information is recorded and for reflecting on their contributions to the science lab using the rubric below.

4.1/4.3 Observations and Analysis

Group 1: Katie B, Ethan B, Tyler L

Group 2: Bennett A, Rachel Petrie, Owen H

Group 3: Sam B, Maia F, Sophie J

Group 4: Sydney E, Josua M, Cameron L

Group 5: Ruby C, Will L, Liam K

Group 6: Chris S, Connor D, Edoro O

Group 7: Alyssa D, Jonah N, Ethan M

Group 8: Yashriya L, Eric Z, Zayd J

Group 9: Brandon K, Rachel Peters, Marvin C

Group 10: Alex K, Brendan R, Austin L

Group 11: Jordan La, Sneha S, Maitry R 

Group 12: Callum C-I, Ambrose W, Michael W

Group 13: Josh L, Max S, Asia S

Group 14: Cole K, Ciana Y, Menno U

Group 15: Justin P, Caleb S, Braden

Group 16: Brielle A, Karen W, Febronia P

Group 17: Liam C, Hamed


Scientific Process

Group Responses


What changes will occur to a perishable food item over 2 and a half week period of being left out in the open? 

(Including weight, colour, smell, shape, texture, size etc.)


Fruit and vegetables, plates, weigh scales, thermometers, graph paper, computers 



(What can’t be changed?)

Ambient temperature, environment, the relative size of the sample, the light


(What is changing?)



(What we are measuring?)

Change in color, size, smell, temperature

4.2/4.4 Observations and Analysis

Group 1:  Nikolai A, Kyra B, Angie P 

Group 2: Rowan, Claire L, Ethan B

Group 3: Ben B, Michael B, Karolis P

Group 4: Jakob K, Alex A, Syd D

Group 5: Evan C, Mike H, Jaxon D

Group 6: Aislinn D, Mark S, Ewan H

Group 7: Leander J, Wil, J, Liam M

Group 8: Qaim K, Emma N, Lauren Lj

Group 9: Aryan L, Grace M, Ben U

Group 10: Ross M, Cole O, Rebecca M

Group 11: Logan O, Maya S, Will L

Group 12: Melanie D, Nicole H, Camryn T

Group 13: Hunter S, George T, Sam P

Group 14: Henry H, Justin Y, Steven T

Group 15: Ryan, Mustafa, John

Group 16: Saige S, Rachel B, Joel A

Group 17: Carter S, Blake A