3rd Grade Science

  • Performance expectations are based on the Next Generation Science Standards and the PA Academic Standards for Science and Technology and Environment and Ecology. The third grade students in the Radnor Township School District will develop their knowledge of the states of matter, the life cycle of plants, and the biogeochemical cycle.  By developing their knowledge of the states of matter, students learn to describe the properties of solids, liquids, and gases, and categorize them by their identifiable properties. This gives students many opportunities to predict results, plan and perform simple tests, and analyze, interpret, and discuss their findings. Students will engage in an inquiry of the life cycle of a simple plant.  Seeds are systematically planted, growth is observed and recorded, and reproduction is simulated in order to complete the life cycle from seed to seed.  These activities deepen their understanding of the characteristics of living organisms and their relationship to and their dependence on the environment in general. Throughout this unit, students are asked to use their observation and recording skills, complete and analyze data tables, use simple tools, draw diagrams, and apply scientific vocabulary.

    Through an investigation of rocks and minerals, students are asked to explore the differences between and among rocks and minerals through observation and categorization of their properties. Field tests are conducted to support the scientific process.  Students practice recording data and interpret their scientific findings to draw conclusions based on evidence.

    In 3rd Grade Science Students will know that:

    Changes in Matter

    • Different kinds of matter exist in various states, depending on temperature.
    • Matter can be described and classified by its observable properties.
    • Different mixtures of materials may change their properties by chemical or physical processes.   Sometimes these changes are reversible, and sometimes they are not.
    • Materials may react with each other and change to form new substances.
    • Some substances may be changed from one state to another by heating and cooling.
    • Heating or cooling a substance may cause changes that can be observed.

    Plant Growth and Development

    • Plants and animals have unique and diverse life cycles that include birth, growth, reproduction, and death.
    • When the environment changes in physical characteristics, temperature, availability of resources, some organisms survive, others move, yet others may die.
    • Plants can grow and develop only in environments in which their needs are met. 
    • To move through their life cycle, plants need light, water, and nutrients from the soil.
    • Reproduction is essential to the continued existence of every kind of organisms. To reproduce, plants must be pollinated.
    • The environment also affects the traits that an organism develops.

    Rocks and Minerals

    • Matter can be described and classified by its observable properties.
    • Each mineral has a unique chemistry.
    • Rocks are aggregates of minerals and are constantly changing to form new rocks.
    • Rocks and minerals have unique properties that may be identified by observation and testing and that help determine how these earth materials are used.
    • Earth has changed over time with some changes being rapid and others being slow.  Sometimes changes occur over a longer period of time than one may be able to observe.
    • Many types of rocks and minerals are formed from the remains of organisms or are altered by their activities.

    In 3rd Grade Science, students will develop the following skills:

    Changes in Matter

    • Observe, describe, and classify matter by properties and uses (e.g., size, shape, weight, solid, liquid, gas, texture, flexibility, hardness, color, etc.).
    • Plan and carry out investigations to test the idea that warming some materials causes them to change from solid to liquid and cooling causes them to change from liquid to solid.
    • Construct an argument and provide evidence that some changes caused by heating or cooling can be reversed and some cannot.
    • Approach science as a reliable and tentative way of knowing and explaining the natural world and apply this understanding to a variety of situations.
    • Weigh evidence and use scientific approaches to ask questions, investigate, make informed decisions about how they live their daily lives, and engage in their vocations and communities.
    • Make and use observations to identify and analyze relationships and patterns in order to explain phenomena, develop models, and make predictions.

    Plant Growth and Development

    • Use models to explain how reproduction is essential for every kind of organism.
    • Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in seed dispersal or pollination of plants. Students identify the relevant components of their model, including those components that mimic the natural structure of an animal that helps it disperse seeds (e.g., hair that snares seeds, squirrel cheek pouches that transport seeds) or that mimic the natural structure of an animal that helps it pollinate plants (e.g., bees have fuzzy bodies to which pollen sticks, hummingbirds have bills that transport pollen).
    • Develop a model to describe the commonalities of life cycles of different organisms.
    • Construct an argument with evidence that within a specific habitat, some organisms survive well, some not so well, and others cannot survive at all.
    • Use evidence to support an explanation that the environment can influence traits.
    • Approach science as a reliable and tentative way of knowing and explaining the natural world and apply this understanding to a variety of situations.
    • Weigh evidence and use scientific approaches to ask questions, investigate, make informed decisions about how they live their daily lives, and engage in their vocations and communities.
    • Make and use observations to identify and analyze relationships and patterns in order to explain phenomena, develop models, and make predictions.
    • Evaluate systems, including their components and subsystems, in order to connect how form determines function and how any change to one component affects the entire system.

    Rocks and Minerals

    • Observe, describe, and classify matter by properties and uses (e.g., size, shape, weight, solid, liquid, gas, texture, flexibility, hardness, color, etc.).
    • Make observations from multiple sources to provide evidence that Earth’s events can occur quickly or slowly.
    • Use fossils as evidence to infer that some rocks were formed from the remains of once living organisms.
    • Use evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support the explanation for a change in landforms and environments over time.
    • Approach science as a reliable and tentative way of knowing and explaining the natural world and apply this understanding to a variety of situations.
    • Weigh evidence and use scientific approaches to ask questions, investigate, make informed decisions about how they live their daily lives, and engage in their vocations and communities.
    • Make and use observations to identify and analyze relationships and patterns in order to explain phenomena, develop models, and make predictions.