Third Grade Curriculum Overview
Third grade students begin to move from concrete to more abstract concepts and understandings. Children this age look hard for explanations of how things work and why things happen as they do. The shift from our Blocks program to the use of primary and secondary source readings in social studies is a major change to which 3rd graders assimilate throughout the year. Social studies remains at the core of our curriculum, and there are many cross-curricular projects to help students immerse themselves in exciting topics.
Explore what your child will learn in each of the following subject areas:
- Social Studies
- Social-Emotional Learning
- Specials Classes
- Homework and Assessments
Literacy in 3rd grade includes literature circles, read alouds, guided reading and independent reading as students move from learning to read to reading to learn.
Students spend a great deal of time reading every day, whether in social studies, science, math, or during independent reading. In the first trimester, students are assessed with Fountas & Pinnell running records, which teachers use to place students in groups for literature circles. Each week, students read in their groups, working to strengthen decoding strategies and fluency while reading aloud. Group discussions allow the students to retell, make connections, predictions and inferences, all while supporting their thoughts with textual evidence. Students are asked to respond to these texts in various ways, including drawing, writing and retelling.
Third graders begin the year writing in small group writing circles. They practice listening to their classmates’ ideas and writing their own stories. The students then transition into a writers’ workshop, where they focus on writing a “small moment” story. Students practice brainstorming ideas, writing in a storyteller’s voice and editing their work. From their reading and conversations, students also engage in creative and informational writing about various topics, including their social studies topics. When engaged in informational writing, students practice creating topic sentences and claims supported by evidence from texts. Likewise, when creating persuasive writing pieces, students made sure to make a claim and support it with reasons and evidence.
- Character development
- Practice and implement skills in daily reading
- Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences
- Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
- Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
- Myths study
- Informational writing
- Persuasive/opinion writing
- Personal narrative
In 3rd grade, students build on the foundational mathematical concepts of the Singapore Math curriculum by engaging new and additional supplements and manipulatives. Students develop an understanding of place value, learn how to round and estimate, connect real life to math equations using money, time, and measurement, build foundational knowledge of basic multiplication, division, and fractions, and explore the concepts of geometry and graphing.
Units of Study:
- Count, write, and read numbers to 10,000
- Number bonds and estimation strategies
- Adding numbers up to 10,000 with or without regrouping
- Subtracting numbers up to 10,000 with or without regrouping
- Bar models, addition, and subtraction can be used to solve 2-step word problems
- 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 times tables
- Multiplication Tables of 6, 7, 8, and 9
- Mental multiplication
- Division with and without regrouping and remainders
- Solving two step multiplication and division word problems
- Metric Length Mass and Volume
- Making fractions
- Finding like fractions
- Adding and subtracting fractions
- Using customary measurements to find length, weight and capacity
Students have the excitement of coming to the laboratory classroom for science class. This gives them the opportunity to explore many hands-on activities, while building skills they will need in the future. They begin to experience an integrated approach to science, studying the foundational roots of physics and earth science while devising hypotheses, collecting data, and drawing conclusions. There is a focus on inquiry and discovery, as well as being able to support their ideas with scientific evidence.
- Engage in classroom discussions with relevance, meaning and insight
- Begin to demonstrate the understanding of scientific concepts
- Make meaningful connections between established scientific theories and data generated from investigation
- Record observations, thought processes and measurements accurately and completely
- Sound and Light
- Intro to Electricity
- Earth Science (focus on fossils)
Students examine the lives and communities of people who have lived and settled New Jersey and New York throughout history, such as the indigenous Lenape, European colonists and enslaved people brought forcibly to North America. The focus is on deeply investigating and researching a particular group of people and understanding why they migrated and immigrated, how they survived, the injustices perpetrated against or by them, and how groups resisted or reconciled these injustices. We also use current events to tie the past to the present, helping students understand the relevance and influence of history and its impact on modern day. Students demonstrate their deep understanding of topics by creating culminating projects.
Students begin the year learning what culture is and what it means to have a culture. Third graders examine their own culture at home, in school and in their communities. Students share artifacts that teach our class community about their families, history and cultural values. Students then trace back to the history of the first people to settle here in New Jersey, the Lenni-Lenape people. Students examine the Lenni-Lenape and other Native American communities with the focus on understanding the cultural values and beliefs. Students also examine different primary and secondary sources, such as books, articles, videos and paintings, to explore the different elements of Lenni-Lenape culture as well as their perspective and experience with the European colonists. Third graders conduct research and practice their note-taking skills to understand the parts and purposes of the Lenni-Lenape way of life.
Later, 3rd graders explore the history and culture of ancient African kingdoms and modern-day African communities.
Students begin examining the interactions and challenges that arise when two distinct cultures collide through a study of the Trail of Tears. Students explore the past and present impacts of the Trail of Tears on Native Americans by reading articles and books about how Native Americans overcame these hardships and still practice various forms of activism today.
Students engage in a study of how the events and choices from the past have impacted their world today and how different perspectives impact our thinking of the past. Students examine rights and responsibilities and investigate what motivates some people to stand up for other people’s rights in their study of advocacy movements. Our concluding project focuses on advocating for indigenous people.
- Fairness and justice
- Observe artifacts and primary sources to extract information
- Identify main ideas and supporting details in secondary sources
- Explain orally or in writing how past events impact the present
- Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a specific topic
- The Lenape people
- Medieval African Kingdoms
- New Amsterdam
- Slavery in New Amsterdam
- Perspectives of enslaved peoples and their stories
The character and social-emotional education curriculum in 3rd grade is designed to facilitate student awareness and preparedness to effectively and appropriately interact in groups, as well as confidence and conviction in their own moral and ethical choices. Students explore their identities and learn more about other people’s lives and experiences by respectfully asking questions and listening with an open mind.
- Third grade topics include:
- Respect and friendship
- Building community
- Similarities and differences
- Anti-bullying behavior
- Conflict resolution
- Exclusion and inclusion
- Active listening
- Health topics: different types of families, safety, hygiene
In 3rd grade, students design, produce, and perform a 40-minute musical that takes place at each campus. Third graders audition to be part of the ensemble and play supporting roles, and 4th graders can audition for larger roles and take on leadership positions. In addition to being cast members, students also help with costume-making as part of the Visual Arts curriculum. Students interested in creating and building the set can participate in our set design afterschool program.
Units of Study:
- Vocal Technique
- Musical Literacy
- Music Appreciation
- Navigating Google workspace for education
- Computational thinking through block-based coding and robotics
- Expressing ideas through animation using different programs
- Digital citizenship
- Media balance and well-being
- Privacy and security
- Digital footprint and identity
- Relationships and communication
- Cyberbullying, digital drama and hate speech
- Media literacy
Third grade art focuses on cultural artifacts of Native American, African and European cultures, such as Haudenosaunee wampum and cornhusk people and Ashanti adinkra symbols stamped on ceremonial cloth. Students learn how such objects transmitted history, treaties and folk values. They also see examples of still-living communities that continue to thrive and preserve their identities through these art objects. Even in the face of institutional erasure like the Trail of Tears, students witness the resilience and resistance of people like the Cherokee nation through their art and culture.
Units of Study:
- Observational drawing- Watercolor painting
- Symbolism portraits
- Wampum belts
- Adinkra symbols
- Delft tiles, from Ming China to NYC
- Gees Bend Quilts
Beginning in 2nd grade, students experience Spanish for half the year and Mandarin for the other half, gaining exposure to two world languages. At the end of 4th grade, students select Spanish or Mandarin and continue as their world language through 8th grade. Students continue their study of Spanish vocabulary, grammar, speaking and listening through cultural studies of Spanish-speaking countries around the world.
- The neighborhood and home
- People in their neighborhood and community
- Places in the community
- The verb "ser" in present indicative
- Identify synonyms
- Genders and numbers
- Familiarity with –que- and qui-
- Cultural Backdrop: Argentina
- Map of Argentina
- Argentina's capital
- Argentina's flag
- Poem “Las Cataratas del Iguazú”
- Lifestyle of the Patagonicos and Andinos, especially the types of houses in which they used to live.
Third graders can expect daily homework that is purposeful and helps students manage their time and workload responsibly. This will vary by student and according to subject. Students are assessed frequently through quizzes, tests, journals, daily observation, writing assignments, projects, homework and portfolios.
In addition to the trips connected to the social studies and science curricula, the students enjoy an overnight trip to Fairview Lake YMCA camp in western New Jersey. During their two-day stay, students experience team-building and increased confidence through activities on low ropes courses, exploration of the lake, stream, and swamp habitats, a night hike and campfire, and a challenging hike to the top of the Kittatinny Ridge.