Third grade students search for explanations of how things work and why things happen as they begin to see the bigger world, including issues of justice and fairness.
The social-emotional curriculum is developed as carefully as the academic program. Reading and writing are a daily part of third grade life, through the workshop model developed by Teachers College at Columbia University, research reports, personal narratives, fairy tale adaptations, and opinion writing. Students become increasingly adept at applying math to real-life situations.
Character education promotes good citizenship and developing awareness of self-identity. Responsive Classroom and Meridian CARES expectations provide a framework for building a caring classroom and school community. Having a positive attitude toward learning and empathy for others are emphasized. Third graders transition from being “little buddies” to being role models as “big buddies” of the kindergartners. Service learning is developed through projects that reflect the year-long study nonprofits in the local community.
Literacy is integrated into many third grade activities. Students read fiction and nonfiction texts for a variety of purposes: to gather information, to prepare for discussions, and for enjoyment. Readers and Writers workshops guide quality compositions of narratives, reports, and poetry. A focus on grammar and spelling allows students to deepen their literacy skills. Book groups and writing partnerships foster the sharing of perspectives, and group presentations enhance public speaking skills.
Math is a tool for reasoning and problem solving. In third grade, students move from concrete to abstract thinking. They work individually and in differentiated groups, using math tools and games to explore computation skills, logical thinking, and problem-solving strategies. Math manipulatives are gradually replaced by mental and written math. Number sense and algebraic thinking appear in much third grade math—multiplication through grouping, skip counting, arrays, and notation; drawing connections to division; and working with fractions. Data interpretation encompasses graphs, charts, and line plots; measurement extends to perimeter, area, and volume. Third graders work with the Bridges in Mathematics and the accompanying Applied Math as well as Eureka curricula.
Social Studies incorporates individuals, the Wallingford community, and the world. At the beginning of the year, students develop an idea of cultural identity by delving deep into family history, beliefs and values as part of their Family Heritage and Identity. The community unit culminates with studying economics and businesses in Wallingford. Global Studies emphasizes the development of cultural competency with a focus on environment and social change. Students choose topics of interest to write a research report and create model, perform dramatic tableaus, and share their learning to the school community at the Global Studies Museum. Global studies also provides students an opportunity to strengthen geography and mapping skills. For Service Learning, students identify a global or local issue and collaborate on possible solutions for action.
Life Science: Third graders kick off the school year learning about Food Chains and Webs, specifically that of leopard geckos, crickets and earthworms. During this unit, students build terrarium habitats to investigate the interactions among living and non-living organisms, which make up an ecosystem. This helps students recognize that ecosystems are ever-evolving and the important role each organism plays. This idea is integrated into Global Studies as we investigate how environmental changes in different parts of the world can affect ecosystems. Students knowledge is enriched during our overnight camping trip to Camp Seymour. Students apply the scientific process in various activities, and become adept in transferring these skills to other contexts.
Physical Science: We ignite inquiry and innovation with electrical circuits. In this unit, students discover that electricity in circuits can generate energy in the form of light, heat and magnetism. Through a series of investigations, students learn that electric circuits require a complete circle through which an electrical current passes, and that different types of circuits show different characteristics. Special highlights for students include creating individual simple electric circuits to test currents, as well as building flashlights, and designing and wiring their own cardboard houses!
Earth & Space Sciences: Students will expand on their science investigation skills as we explore the Solar System in our second unit. Third graders will gain perspective on the physical relationships between objects in space, combine geometry and astronomy concepts, like orbits and ellipses, and learn about the rotation and revolution of the planets. In addition, students will work together in pairs to research and present information to the class about a planet in our Solar System. Collaboration, reading informational texts, note-taking, and presentation skills will be highlighted in this unit. Third graders will discover that there are still many unanswered questions and that science continues to evolve as we learn more about space!
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