Grade 4


Classes become departmentalized in fourth grade, allowing teachers to be content area experts in science, math, language arts and geography. Students build important skills—organization, responsibility and independence—that are a cornerstone of the grade 4 experience. They become inventors, researchers, explorers and historians. Academic and personal growth in these areas lays the foundation for success in middle school.

Grade 4 Curriculum

List of 4 items.

  • Science

    Grade 4 scientists learn by doing. The science classroom becomes a hands-on lab where students brainstorm, research, design and build their own inventions. They analyze needs in the marketplace, construct prototypes and refine their products based on testing and user input. They also synthesize different scientific principles and combine them to create mazes and roller coaster models. 
  • Math

    Fourth grade math focuses on the HOW—how to develop mental math skills, how to unravel the content of a word problem, how to arrive at a correct answer. The strategies are just as important as the solutions. Students benefit from 90 minutes of math instruction every day. This enriched program allows them to complete the equivalent of fourth and fifth grade math curriculum in a single year, focused on fractions, pre-algebra and geometry. Barstow students are so engaged in the math curriculum that two thirds of their grade level participate in a weekly math club. During these morning meetings, students are introduced to regional and state competition. 
  • Language Arts

    Language arts in grade 4 engages students as they become more confident readers, writers and thinkers. They shift from learning to read, to reading to learn and they do so by choosing authors and genres that ignite their personal interests. They also further refine their personal writer's voice through free form prompts and structured writing exercises. Students learn to critique their own work and the work of their peers. They continue word study and build their vocabularies through reading, writing and spelling.
  • Social Studies

    Through the study of the regions of the United States, grade 4 students learn about the development of our nation. They use maps as primary source documents to help them understand the flow of people and products across America. They study states, capitals and the three branches of government, using iPad-supported learning to keep content fresh, relevant and interactive. Each spring, students delve into the history and government of Missouri. This culminates in a trip to Jefferson City to meet state lawmakers and witness the legislature in action. The experience serves as an introduction to the annual grade 5 trip to Washington, D.C.

Curriculum Spotlight: Invention Fair

Any inventor will tell you, creativity, collaboration and problem-solving skills are critical to their process. In grade 4, students apply all those skills to the engineering design process—and create products that can be used in daily life. The Grade 4 Invention Fair is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the lower school year. 

"Our invention projects start with brainstorming. I ask the kids to think about problems they run into all the time and then come up with ways to fix them,” science teacher Mindy Roper said. “That gets the process started, but there a lot of steps and learning opportunities before they get to a finished product.”
Once they have an idea, students research and analyze needs in the marketplace, construct prototypes for testing and refine their inventions based on user input. They also create marketing and advertising plans. The invention unit helps students learn time management, the value of making and correcting mistakes—and builds skills they’ll use again when they tackle their first science fair projects in grade 5.

In 2017, one student entered her product into a national invention competition. Julia Luetje, now in grade 6, became a grand prize winner in the Dreamvention contest for her "Storm Sleeper." She is now pursuing a patent and pitching the concept at events such as the Kansas City Pure Pitch Rally.

lower school news


Fourth grade students participate in a day trip to Jefferson City, Missouri, each spring. The field trip complements their in-depth study of Missouri, the branches of government and the system of check and balances. Students watch the legislature in action and meet lawmakers to discuss what they've learned. 

Field Trips and Special Events

List of 5 items.

  • Invention & Science Fair

    Students combine curiosity, creativity and problem-solving skills to develop and produce their own inventions. They test and refine their projects based on user feedback. They develop marketing plans and present their finished projects at the Barstow Invention and Science Fair.
  • Wildwood Education Center

    Students experience innovative and high-quality outdoor education with three objectives: overcoming challenges, applying science and building community. 
  • Spelling Bee

    Students in grades 4–8 participate in the annual school spelling bee. Grade level winners compete for the Barstow title. The winner advances to the Jackson/Clay County Spelling Bee.
  • Super Bowl Math Day

    Love of math and love of sports combine for a fun-filled day of activities before the Big Game. Super Bowl Math Day gives students practice in probability, prediction and statistics.
  • Pi Day

    Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathmatical constant. It is observed on March 14, since 3.14 represents the first three digits of pi, with a variety of games and activities.  

Daily Schedule

7:00 - Extended Care Available
8:15 - Science
9:00 - Social Studies
9:45 - Math
10:30 - Physical Education
11:10 - Music*
11:55 - Lunch & Recess
12:30 - Enrichment
1:15 - Writing
2:00 - Reading
3:00 - Dismissal 
3-6:00 - Extended Care Available

*Special Classes:
Music, Art, STEAM, Spanish & Chinese 

For more information on applying and admissions:

Visit our Admission's web pages for admission's requirements, information and important dates.

The Barstow School

11511 State Line Road • Kansas City, MO 64114
P (816) 942-3255 • F (816) 942-3227