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Teaching and Learning » Third Grade

Third Grade

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Language Arts

In third grade, students continue to develop strategies to effectively use language. Through the presentation of reports and journal writing, they learn to write and speak for a specific purpose. Students learn to become strategic readers by identifying the elements of a story. They read expository material for specific information. Study skills include note taking, the use of reference materials, interpreting graphs and diagrams, and test-taking skills.

Vocabulary development continues to include the refinement of phonetic and decoding skills. Word analysis strategies include: homonyms, antonyms, synonyms, analogies, multiple meaning and compound words. Students expand their vocabulary by learning strategies for identifying unfamiliar words.

Reading comprehension skills taught include: understanding fiction and nonfiction reading selections, identifying main ideas, sequencing events, recalling details, making predictions, drawing inferences, and understanding cause-and-effect relationships.

Third graders continue to learn and practice the steps of the writing process. Peer conferencing is introduced as another revision technique. Proper grammar, spelling, and the mechanics of writing are taught to enable students to proofread and communicate more effectively.


Third graders focus on fact families in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. They continue developing strategies for multi-digit addition and subtraction problems. Learning multiplication facts through the 10s is a goal this year. Other third-grade skills include understanding large numbers in addition to working with small numbers using equivalent fractions and decimals (to the thousandths). They continue the study of geometry, negative numbers, calculator skills, telling time, and geometry.

Practical application of measurement skills includes linear, weight, and capacity with customary and metric units. Students perform probability experiments that provide information for analyzing data and predicting outcomes. Third graders will have Home Links homework on a regular basis.

Media Center

Third grade is a busy year in the media center. Students begin to use the computer card catalog to find their books. They practice searching by author, by title and by subject. They are introduced to the Dewey Decimal System, and use their alphabet skills, their math skills and their general subject knowledge to locate books. Encyclopedia, maps and globes in the media center are important resources. Students use these for classroom research on cities, countries and other curriculum subjects. Third graders are reading chapter books and poetry. Literature appreciation continues to be important as it is a lifelong skill. In many schools, biography is an important unit for third grade as these students find a variety of materials with information about the person of their choice.


Students learn important science concepts and develop the ability to think critically by actively constructing ideas through their own inquiries, investigations, and analyses. Students are actively engaged in the process of science as they explore the natural world.

Measurement, the process of quantifying observations, is one of the cornerstones of science. Measurement compares nature—the unknown—to a standard unit—the known. Through such comparison, the organization of the world becomes more comprehensive. The Measurement Module consists of four investigations, each designed to emphasize a particular type of metric measurement—length, mass, temperature, and volume.

Water is the most important substance on Earth. Water dominates the surface of our planet, changes the face of the land, and defines life. These powerful, pervasive ideas are introduced here. The Water Module consists of four investigations in which students explore properties of water, changes in water, interactions between water and other earth materials, and how humans use water.

The Earth, Moon, and Sun Module is designed to introduce students to objects we see in the sky. Students compare and contrast the characteristics of the Earth, Moon, and Sun as they investigate the relative motion of each.

The Structures of Life Module consists of four sequential investigations dealing with observable characteristics of organisms. Students observe, compare, categorize, and care for a selection of organisms, and in so doing they learn to identify properties of plants and animals and to sort and group organisms on the basis of observable properties. Students investigate structures of the organisms and learn how some of the structures function in growth and survival.
Social Studies

The third grade social studies curriculum focuses on regions. Students begin by examining regional communities in Michigan and then go on to explore the five regions of the United States. Students actively participate in inquiry-based lessons that emphasize knowledge of history, geography, economics, and political science as they compare and contrast the US regions. Third graders continue to expand their knowledge of citizenship as they further explore the core democratic values.

Visual Art

The third-grade visual art curriculum continues to focus on the sequential study of the elements and principles of art, including color, line, form, shape, pattern, composition, space, and texture. Students are provided activities to stimulate their imaginations and refine as well as expand their artistic skills, visual acumen, and historic and aesthetic awareness. Students at this level can talk about and produce a high quality of art. They are able to discriminate and form artistic judgments about their art and the creative efforts of their peers.

During the year, student art may be displayed in individual school buildings and throughout the community.

Vocal/General Music

In third grade, students continue to build upon their musical knowledge-base as more complex songs, musical notation, and vocabulary are presented by the music specialist. Students actively demonstrate their awareness of the elements of music through their successful use of dynamics, tone color, melody, and harmony in the songs they sing and in the accompaniments and compositions they create. Students deepen their understanding of the world around them and hone their critical-thinking skills by tracing a song's geographic, historical and cultural roots, as well as listening to, analyzing, interpreting, and responding to a variety of songs and musical works.

Exposure to a variety of music allows students to formulate attitudes and values about music. A public performance is often an outcome of the third-grade curriculum.


Students in third grade review and reinforce the decision-making steps and process in choices they make. The students are introduced to the various body systems. The major parts and functions of the skeletal and muscular systems are identified. Peer pressure in relation to smoking is discussed, and students learn to select the appropriate choice of behavior in a given situation.

Physical Education

Students go to Physical Education class twice a week, once for 25 minutes and once for 30 minutes. Students continue to work with their Gross Motor skills, spatial awareness, and coordination. They will explore the principles of eye, hand, and foot coordination through a variety of activities. Students continue to develop traditional team sports based skills through culminating activities and game play.   They will be assessed in certain skills throughout the year. Students will develop positive characteristics and attitudes, a sense of fair play, teamwork concepts, and cooperation with others. At this level, there is an increased emphasis on cardiopulmonary fitness, muscular strength, flexibility and coordination through the T.R.O.Y. Fitness Program. Students are assessed twice a year in Continuous Jog, Jump Roping, Plank, Sit and Reach, and Flex-arm Hang. Every student will have a personal fitness log that they will set goals for themselves in each of the fitness tests. After every assessment, student will reevaluate their goals and set new ones.


Troy School District's elementary Spanish program is intended to help children achieve a positive, successful experience in their exposure to learning another language. Elementary students in grades 3 through 5 receive 45 minutes of oral instruction per week. In third grade, the children will become more comfortable with reading and writing in Spanish. The students will begin independent oral activities, and will continue mastering listening comprehension skills. Some topics of instruction include greetings, colors, numbers, family, community, animals, alphabet, calendar and breakfast foods.