Grade 3


Third graders will observe, handle and create environments for isopods and other animals in order to learn about habitats and adaptations.  Students will also have a chance to explore ancient habitats and see how scientists have used fossils to learn about animals habitats and adaptations. 

By the end of the unit students will understand:

  • all plants and animals have adaptations(characteristics) that help them survive
  • all plants and animals live in habitats for which they are suited/adapted 
  • changes to habitats affects animals’ and plants’ ability to survive
  • fossils are evidence of life and habitats long ago (not just dinosaurs)
  • scientists group animals according to their characteristics 
  • in order for organisms to exist on earth over time, they must reproduce
  • our scientific understanding of life long ago is based on evidence

Circuits and Pathways  Scope and Sequence

In this exciting and electrifying unit, students build circuits and run experiments to test their ideas. Electricity is a fundamental part of modern life, and this unit will teach third graders what electricity is, how it is generated, and how people make use of it. Students apply knowledge about static electricity and current electricity to their projects.

Key activities include:

  • Locate the critical contact points on a light bulb. Using a battery and wires, light the bulb.
  • Explore the idea that static electricity provides evidence of electrons jumping; build charge on a comb and experiment with different materials.

By the end of the unit, students will:

  • Describe how we know static electricity is a build-up of electrons.
  • Be able to construct a circuit that lights a light bulb, rings a buzzer or runs a motor.
  • Plan, conduct, evaluate and share student-led investigations based on questions from students’ science notebooks.


Rocks and Minerals  Scope and Sequence

Building on the soil unit in second grade, third graders learn about types of rocks and how a rock and a mineral are different. Students continue to explore our active Earth and learn that the Earth is a shifting system: rocks form and are weathered in an on-going cycle.

Key activities include:

  • Using three-dimensional shapes, cut and paste to invent a new mineral. Name it and give it properties appropriate to minerals.
  • Collect four rocks from school grounds and use the “geologist test” (scratch it, sink/float and vinegar test) to try and identify the rock.

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Investigate rock specimens.
  • Conduct tests on mineral samples.
  • Analyze and construct models of crystal patterns, volcano, and rock collections.
  • Name the three types of rock and explain how they are divided into three categories.
  • Demonstrate an understanding that minerals are made of crystals and have a solid, regular shape.
  • Describe how humans have used rocks and minerals for technologies throughout time.
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