Third Grade Overview

Third Grade Curriculum Overview 

English/Language Arts
RTSD addresses the PA Core Standards in English Language Arts in Third Grade in the following ways:

Reading Comprehension: The core resource for comprehension instruction is the Making Meaning program. This program uses literature and informational text from texts read-aloud to teach students nine different comprehension strategies while also creating a supportive community of readers. In the classroom students receive direct instruction through teacher modeling, time to practice, an opportunity to share and, most critically, an opportunity to apply at their level what was learned.
The Making Meaning units of study in Third Grade include:
  • The Reading Life: Fiction and Narrative Nonfiction
  • Visualizing Narrative Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Making Inferences in Fiction
  • Questioning and Navigating Narrative Text for Deeper Understanding
  • Expository: How to use questioning and text features to deepen understanding of expository text
  • Determining Importance
  • Book Clubs
  • Revisiting the Reading life
Vocabulary: The Making Meaning Vocabulary supplement teaches high-utility words found in the Making Meaning read-aloud texts along with strategies students can use to unlock word meanings when they are reading independently. By using words from the books taught in the program, students learn words in context. The goal vocabulary instruction is to have students, without prompting, accurately using new vocabulary words in their everyday speaking and writing.

Writing: Written language instruction is based on Being a Writer. This core program uses trade books for genre immersion and author studies that encourage young writers to consider author’s craft. It also integrates writing instruction with regular community-building elements and guided partner work to develop in students a sense of autonomy, belonging, and competence. Being a Writer combines the use of explicit strategy instruction with student empowerment, cooperative learning and reflection to create a writer’s workshop that is engaging and powerful for the learner.

Units of study in Third Grade include:
  • The Writing Community
  • The Writing Process
  • Personal Narrative
  • Fiction
  • Functional Writing
  • Writing for a Test
  • Revisiting the Writing Community

Guided Reading and Small Group Instruction: Regular guided reading and other small group instruction allows students to practice and apply what they are learning in language arts. The purpose of guided reading is for students to have time to read and apply strategies and skills that were demonstrated by the teacher during read aloud and shared reading instruction.

Foundational Skills: Grades K-5 include direct instruction in the area of word study. In grade 3 Fountas and Pinnell Phonics Lessons 3: Letters, words and how they work serve as the core of the word study program. (Word Study Brochure)

Handwriting: Cursive writing is reinforced in grade 3 using the Zaner Bloser Handwriting program.
Math in Focus is a K-8 comprehensive mathematics program published by Marshall Cavendish.  Math in Focus provides rich and engaging resources based on 20 years of Singaporean success as a world leader in mathematics education. The framework presented in Math in Focus follows the same framework developed by the Singapore Ministry of Education.  The instructional approaches emphasize real-world, hands on experiences through a concrete-pictorial-abstract learning progression.


For more information about Math in Focus, please click here.



3 Grade Mathematics will be guided by the following course objectives:

  • Count, compare and order numbers to 10,000
  • Use a variety of strategies, including estimation, to add and subtract numbers to 10,000 with and without regrouping
  • Solve real-world one and two-step problems using addition and subtraction
  • Use a variety of models to multiply and divide with and without regrouping
  • Understand multiplication properties
  • Solve real-world one and two-step problems using multiplication and division
  • Solve problems involving money, customary and metric measurements
  • Use bar graphs, tally charts and line plots to organize and interpret data
  • Understand fractions, identify equivalent fractions, compare fractions and identify fractions of a set.
  • Solve problems involving time and temperature
  • Identify and compare angles and lines in plane shapes
  • Classify, combine and separate polygons
  • Investigate symmetry
  • Explore, understand and analyze the relationship between units that are used to find area and perimeter to solve real-world problems
For more information about the 3rd Grade curriculum, please click here.



General Overview

RTSD uses Science and Technology Concepts (STC) program modules developed by the Smithsonian Science Education Center, a division of the Smithsonian Institution.  The STC Program is a set of inquiry-based science curriculum kits that cover life, earth, and physical sciences.

Young children are naturally interested in everything they see around them. During the elementary years, students are encouraged to observe, note properties, and develop explanations. As children become more familiar with their world they can be guided to observe changes and make predictions. Each year, students will use three hands-on modules that provide for opportunities to develop abilities of doing and understanding science. The students will focus on a four stage learning cycle:

                 focus on what they know about a topic and what they want to learn

                 explore a scientific concept (this is usually done in groups of four)

                 reflect on their findings and record the information in science notebooks

                 apply their new learning to real-life situations and other areas of the curriculum



Third grade students will be using three science modules which focus on three content areas of science, Earth and Space Science, Physical Science, and Life Science.  Descriptions of the modules are below and are excerpted from

Plant Growth and Development

Students plant their own seeds to begin an eight-week inquiry into the life cycle of a simple plant, the Brassica rapa in Plant Growth and Development. Using plants that complete their life cycle in 35 days, students are able to watch germination and maturation while learning about the specific parts of a plant and the function each serves. Because they care for their own seedlings, students learn that plants need light, soil, nutrients from soil, and water to survive. In addition, students use dried bees to simulate the pollination process to understand the interdependence of bees and flowers. These activities deepen their understanding of the characteristics of living organisms and their relationship with and 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.

Rocks and Minerals

In Rocks and Minerals, students are asked to explore the differences between rocks and minerals by observing the properties of rock samples, and sorting them based on those properties. Students also investigate minerals, on which they perform tests similar to those conducted by geologists to determine luster, hardness, color, and ability to transmit light, strengthening their ability to conduct experiments and record and interpret their data. Students compile a Mineral Field Guide, which is the sum total of their observations and discoveries. They use this field guide and their new knowledge of rocks and minerals to identify several unknown samples at the end of the unit. Throughout Rocks and Minerals, students read about different minerals and how they are used. Students continue to practice recording data and interpreting their scientific findings to draw conclusions based on evidence.


Developing their knowledge of states of matter, students learn to describe the properties of solids, liquids, and gases and categorize them by their identifiable properties in Changes. Students investigate the freezing, melting, evaporation, and condensation of water as an introduction to phase change. Rusting, dissolving, crystallization, gases created by effervescent tablets, and ink separated through chromatography are other phase changes students create and observe in the lab. This unit strengthens students’ ability to observe and describe the properties of solids, liquids, and gases. It also gives students many opportunities to predict results, plan and perform simple tests, and analyze, interpret, and discuss their results. Students have several opportunities to practice their new skills in lessons in which they devise ways of separating a mystery mixture, and plan and carry out investigations that involve other changes.
Social Studies



This social studies course will broadens student’s awareness of the local and global communities in which they live. They learn the basics of geography in order to locate communities and community features on maps.  They will begin to understand how and why changes happen in a community. They will learn about their local community of Wayne. They will be introduced to the term public service and investigate the roles or these services. They will explore the idea of how they can have active roles and responsibilities within their community.  They begin to understand how their role can help to make change. They will learn about different cultures and traditions.


Major Units of Study:


Unit I: Participating in Our Community


Unit II: Community Government and Economics


Unit III: Wayne Over Time


Social Studies Alive! Our Community and Beyond

Third grade art students attend art class once in every 5-day cycle for 50 minutes.   Art classes introduce the vocabulary that is intrinsic to producing and talking about art. The elements of art are imbedded in lessons that demonstrate how to use a variety of media, techniques, processes, tools and materials to create art.  Major understandings include: artists make thoughtful choices when creating works of art and often repeat a task many times to learn a new skill; visual art is created for a variety of purposes; art can communicate ideas, express emotions and relate experiences; visual art is displayed; and art elicits a response from the viewer.

Major Topics:

  • Students will continue to broaden their understanding of how to create art work using the elements art: line, shape, color and texture, with a variety of materials and tools.
  • Students will continue to broaden their use of basic visual art vocabulary when talking about art.
  • Students will continue to broaden their understanding that visual art is exhibited.
  • Students will continue to broaden their understanding that art is part of everyday life.

Units ofStudy:

  • Introduction to architecture
  • Clay Slab work
  • Introduction to weaving around the loom to create a pillow or purse by fifth grade
  • Introduction to additional color families
Architects Make Zigzags: Looking at Architecture from A to Z by Diane Maddex
My Name Is Georgia:A Portrait by Jeanette Winter by Jeanette Winter
Health & Physical Education



The goal of 3rd grade physical education is for children to move efficiently and to achieve success and satisfaction in movement experiences.  Students begin to engage in more sport-related skills and activities.  The sport program is based on meeting the needs and interests of the elementary school children and is geared toward their development.  Inherent in our sport activities are many physical, educational, personal and social values.  The program stimulates skeletal growth, improves muscle strength and coordination, increases flexibility, promotes cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, introduces new skills, teaches the enjoyment of a variety of sports and reinforces the concepts of good sportsmanship and teamwork.  Students continue to expand their understanding of fitness concepts and healthy lifestyles  through games, movement challenges, and more advanced fitness testing. 

All students in first through fourth grade take part in wellness classes which consists of eight units taught throughout the school year to help educate students on living a healthy and safe lifestyle.  Throughout the students’ educational journey, the information taught becomes progressively more challenging but remains developmentally appropriate:

  • The safety unit focuses on safety while riding the bus or other means of transportation, participating in sporting or exercise activities, and in the home or school.
  • The emergency unit prepares the students to act appropriately in an emergency situation by learning the correct numbers to call and the information that is needed to aid in an emergency.
  • In the first aid unit, the students learn basic first aid procedures for minor injuries, including cuts, burns, nosebleeds and joint injuries.
  • During the hygiene unit, the students learn the basics of grooming and maintaining good health through procedures such as hand washing, brushing teeth and wearing clean clothes.
  • Stress reduction is the focus during the relaxation unit where students practice progressive muscle relaxation, mental imagery and yoga to deal with life stressors.
  • The circulatory system, the skeletal system, the nervous system, the muscular system and the respiratory system are the focus of the body systems unit.  The students learn the major organs of each system and ultimately how the systems work together.
  • The drug prevention unit allows the students to discover the care that must be taken when using a medicine and the definition of the word drug.  The dangers of smoking are the focus of this unit.
  • Making good choices when it comes to meals and snacks is the main point in the nutrition unit.  Students are introduced to foods that should only be consumed occasionally and those foods which can be eaten daily.

Elementary students receive instruction in Library once in every 5-day cycle for 50 minutes, with the exception of Kindergarten classes which are 30 minutes in length. The library curriculum is closely aligned with the English Language Arts Pennsylvania Core Standards and the American Association of School Librarians.

Students in library learn to:

1. Ask questions to find knowledge

2. Work with others to create new knowledge

3. Work as a cooperative library citizen

4. Read widely and make personal connections

Third Grade Units of Study

Life of a Reader
Selecting Informational and Literary Text
Preparing and Publishing Multimedia Presentations
Responsible Library Citizenship
Digital Citizenship


Elementary students experience music by singing, playing,moving and improvising. The skills of matching pitch, steady beat and rhythmic notation are taught and assessed regularly throughout all grade levels.Students learn how to read treble clef notation by performing on the soprano recorder throughout the school year. Students also use the recorder as a tool for ostinati and improvisatory activities. Children explore the musical elements: melody, harmony, rhythm, form and timbre, as well as expressive elements through a varied repertoire of music from diverse cultures and genres.Students regularly have the opportunity to perform music using Orff instruments and multicultural instruments.



 Silver Burdett’s Making Music, Grade 3. 2002 edition.