Grade Three Curriculum

Third grade teachers capitalize on the intellectual curiosity of students this age—interest and excitement about new people, places and concepts. Third graders begin to develop a growth mindset, as teachers introduce a more flexible way of learning, allowing students to hone their own interests and learn from others. Conversations center around the importance of both physical and emotional wellness. Students expand friendships, become community builders, and take on more responsibility for both their academic and social lives. Teachers create lots of opportunities for sharing thoughts, feelings and ideas about creating a positive and collaborative learning environment.

How does the world work? How do we care for the world? These essential questions drive the central themes of Grade 3, which include life cycles of plants and animals; environmental responsibility and stewardship; immigration and metropolises; and electrical circuits. Themes are incorporated across all subjects and in all project-based activities. A two-night stay at The Farm School in Athol, Massachusetts, along with caring for Milton’s own community garden, deepens students’ understanding of the natural world and our role in it. Students learn in depth about the expedition of Lewis and Clark; the life cycle of Monarch butterflies; and the development of cities.

Studies and Skills

Language Arts
Small group reading instruction enables students to deepen and refine their comprehension strategies

Identifying the main elements of fiction: problem/events/resolution

Determining the challenges faced by characters and analyzing characters’ abilities to surmount those challenges

Connecting books read to past reading and to students’ lives

Journaling, original fiction and poetry as vehicles for students to work on their writing mechanics

Spelling lessons taken from context and Words Their Way

Students learn to write in cursive using the Handwriting Without Tears program

Grammar lessons on parts of speech, punctuation and sentence structure

Spanish Language and Culture
Acting out simple dialogues

Extending knowledge of vocabulary and grammar structures through visuals

Identifying people and animals based on oral and written descriptions

Developing cultural awareness of the Spanish-speaking world through games, songs and activities

Learning partnership with El Pilar school in Madrid

Computer Science and Instructional Technology
Learning about digital citizenship–using internal school email appropriately; explain and follow rules for treating others appropriately online

Word processing, proofreading and correcting spelling and grammar errors in text

Orientation to creating and sharing documents using Google Drive

Construct programs that include sequencing, events, loops, conditionals and variables

Building on iPad skills that support classroom curriculum

Multi-digit addition and subtraction

Modeling multiplication situations and products with arrays

Representing fractions with geometric models

Understanding area and perimeter as part of the “Build a City” project

Communicating mathematical thinking


Studying Monarch butterflies and their life cycle

Plant and seed development/gardening

Animal adaptation and survival

Electricity and circuits

Power generation and conservation

Library and Information Science
Using internet resources curated by a teacher to gather information

Explaining why and how to give credit for the ideas and work of others

Searching online databases or apps for information

Evaluating web and database resources for usefulness and accuracy

Illustrating and communicating original ideas and stories using digital tools and media-rich resources

Physical Education and Fitness

Exploring space

Refining locomotor skills (running, hopping, skipping, sliding)

Fitness and cooperation


Music and Performing Arts
Studying the music of North America; First American music and culture through drumming, dance and flute

Studying the recorder and ukulele

Melodic note reading, rhythmic note reading, vocal technique

Breath control, choral music reading, ensemble singing

Enhancing musical vocabulary

Visual Arts
Creating two- and three-dimensional works of art

Yearlong focus on observational drawing

Continued work on painting, illustrating, sculpting and constructing

Introduction to photography as an art form

Woodworking and Design

Safe use of power tools and hand tools

Measurement and technique

Incorporating engineering concepts

Facility with simple machines

Developing creative, individual projects