Benchmark 10F
Historical Perspectives: Understanding Fire
Grades 6-8, page 250

From the earliest times until now, people have believed that even though millions of different kinds of material seem to exist in the world, most things must be made up of combinations of just a few basic kinds of things. There has not always been agreement, however, on what those basic kinds of things are. One theory long ago was that the basic substances were earth, water, air, and fire. Scientists now know that these are not the basic substances. But the old theory seemed to explain many observations about the world.

See Content Standard G History and Nature of Science (grades 9-12): Historical Perspectives