THIRD GRADE CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

The world is a smaller place and our children are from many different cultures. It is important to instill in these children a mutual respect for all people everywhere. Understanding differences and reasons for them helps children accept others who may not be just like themselves. This program offers an integrated curriculum with whole class, cooperative group, and individual activities. It is literature-based and arranged around geographic themes, but includes social studies, math, art, music, science, computer, map skills, and library instruction.

The goal of Language Arts is to develop skills that allow each student to read at or above grade level; to encourage a love of literature; to develop proficiency in written and oral expression as a means of communication and of self-fulfillment. Reading involves exposure to a variety of literature in order to encourage an appreciation of good writing, to strengthen comprehension, and to foster vocabulary development.

Third graders concentrate on sentence structure and paragraph form. Additional grammar concepts are introduced and proof reading skills developed. Writing is responsive, creative, and informative.

Scope and Sequence for the third grade Math curriculum is taken from the Houghton Mifflin Math program, consistent with the other Lower School grades.  Daily math class is an hour in length and begins with a timed fact test (addition, then subtraction in the fall and moving on to multiplication and division beginning in November). This is followed by direct instruction of the current concept and with a short, nightly homework assignment.  Daily word problems, Math Minute reviews, and visual pattern tasks are part of the daily “paperwork” as well.  Class time is split between seatwork in a traditional classroom setting and problem solving/project time in our multi-purpose room.  Small group, active learning opportunities are focused on current topics but allow for the use of manipulatives, large scale projects, games and other constructivist types of activities.

In Social Studies, third graders study the basic features of the earth, explore their world through readings and observations, and become familiar with a variety of maps. Each continent is’ visited’ through map work, non-fiction readings, and fictional selections from the area. Teachers in other subject areas incorporate coordinating lessons when possible. Parents provide food samples and visitors relate experiences of travel. Geography a third grader’s world!

As Scientists, third graders have hands-on, active experiences with science ideas that have a natural and logical connection. Topics and skills are selected that integrate well with one another and with other subject areas. The program encourages students to gain knowledge of the world around them by doing science: observing, questioning, exploring, making and testing hypotheses, comparing predictions, evaluating data, and communicating conclusions.  Instruction is a balance between lecture, reading, guest speakers, cooperative group investigations, multimedia resources, and field experiences. 

A variety of concepts are explored throughout the year that connect the children to the different systems in the geosphere (air, water, earth/planets, ecology).  Special topics include participation in several citizen science projects such as Monarch Watch.  Students maintain a school garden where monarchs, and other species of butterflies, are captured as caterpillars and allowed to progress through their life cycle into butterflies.  Monarchs are tagged and released as part of a larger research project.  In the spring, students study wetland habitats.  The culminating activity is a field trip to Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge to complete a service project.  Most years this project is planting wetland grasses through a partnership with the National Aquarium and NOAA.