4th Grade PBL Science | Impact of Natural Hazards | Engineering Design


Grade Level:


This 3-week project-based learning (science-focused) research-based unit is the perfect way to teach reading, writing, research skills, and science in one engaging, real-world unit. Your students will use key standards, such as research, reading comprehension, and engineering design in a real-life scenario. The best part about PBL is that student choice and differentiation are built in!


Driving Question: How can I design a solution that will reduce the impact of natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, or volcanic eruptions on humans?


NGSS Standards Covered:

  • NGSS3-5-ETS1-1
    Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
  • NGSS3-5-ETS1-2
    Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • NGSS4-ESS3-2
    Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans. A variety of hazards result from natural processes (e.g., earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions). Humans cannot eliminate the hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts.


Students are challenged to research natural hazards and the potential impacts on humans and the environment. The students will then come up with a solution for reducing the impact of a natural hazard and design a model of their solution.


Banish those boring worksheets and get your students excited about real life learning! This 3-week project covers the following skills:

  • Research
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Explanatory Writing
  • Design & Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
  • Natural Hazards
  • Environmental Changes
  • Engineering Design Process


Included in this Resource:

  • Lesson Outline
  • Sample Pacing
  • Teacher Guide with Lesson Plans
  • Scaffolded Research Notes
  • Engineering Design Process Overview
  • Rubric & Sample Answers


Plus, a BONUS digital version is included as well!

Standards & Level

Grade Level(s):

Grade Level




Escape Challenges





Test Prep