Third Grade

Third grade students search for explanations of how things work and why things happen, including issues of justice and fairness, as they begin to see the bigger world.


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, research reports, personal narratives, fairy tale adaptations, and opinion writing. Students become increasingly adept at applying math to real-life situations.


Social emotional learning (SEL)  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.

Literacy is integrated into the majority of third grade activities. Students read fiction and nonfiction texts for a variety of purposes: to gather information, to prepare for discussions, and for enjoyment. Writer’s Workshop guides quality compositions of narratives, informational reports, fiction writing, and poetry. A focus on grammar and spelling, by utilizing the Wired for Reading curriculum, allows students to decode unknown words in reading as well as strengthen their ability to become independent writers. Reader’s Workshop helps students transition from learning to read to reading to learn, and practices deeper comprehension skills such as predicting and inferring while finding evidence within text. Book groups and writing partnerships foster the sharing of perspectives, and group presentations enhance public speaking skills.

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, culture, and values as part of their identity unit. Students then turn their focus to the local community when studying economics and businesses in Wallingford. Social 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 about, identify problems and possible solutions related to their topics, and embark on a design thinking project. Social 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.

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 computational skills, logical thinking, and problem-solving strategies. Math manipulatives are gradually replaced with mental and written math. Number sense and algebraic thinking appear frequently in 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 curricula.

Life science: Third graders complete an in-depth study of the interconnectedness within ecosystems and the food chains and webs present in different ecosystems of both Washington state and around the world. 

Physical science: Our electric circuit unit ignites the inquiry and innovation of third grade students. In this unit, students discover that electricity in circuits can generate energy in the form of light, heat, and magnetism. 

Earth and environmental science: During an in-depth weather and climate unit, students learn the pieces that create weather systems and the data that is associated with those systems. We then extend this learning to a study of climate change and its effects on people around the world.  Visit the Science Lab to learn more>

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