Math: 3rd Grade

Learn what math topics are covered in 3rd Grade and how to help your child outside the classroom.
By Shira Ackerman, MA
Jan 25, 2013



Portrait of smart schoolchild standing at blackboard and looking at camera

Jan 25, 2013

Third grade is a very important year for math learning, as students dive into multiplication and division. Specifically, students use math tools such as number rods, (units of blocks that represent a certain number), base blocks and tiles or marbles. This helps them truly understand the concepts underlying multiplication and division as they add together and divide different groups of objects. In doing this, students don’t just memorize their multiplication tables but instead understand what it means to multiply.  In addition, students also practice explaining these concepts when they detail, both orally and through writing, how they solve a problem. Third graders also begin to study fractions.

In order to build math skills, your 3rd grader:

  • Multiplies and divides numbers up to 100 and understands the relationship between multiplication and division.
  • Understands that 3x5=15 and 5x3=15 (this is the commutative property of multiplication).
  • Begins to memorize the product of all one-digit numbers so that she has memorized them all by the end of 3rd grade.
  • Solves word problems that require two steps and more than one mathematical action. For example: If Scott has 9 cupcakes and 12 candies, how many cupcakes and pieces of candy can he give to 3 people so that each person has the same amount?
  • Rounds numbers to the nearest tens or hundreds.
  • Adds numbers up to 1,000.
  • Understands and creates fractions and uses number lines to represent and compare different fractions.
  • Solves problems involving time and measurement.
  • Creates and uses graphs to represent data and answer questions.
  • Learns about shapes (and specifically quadrilaterals) and their features.
  • Learns about and calculates the area of an object using multiplication and addition (and specifically by multiplying the lengths of the sides of an object).

Math Activities

  • Create a Multiplication Collage: Your child can look through magazines and newspapers to find multiple pictures (around 20) of one type of thing (for example, animals with 4 legs, cars and trucks, or pairs of things). Then help your child practice her multiplication skills by asking her to group the objects to solve a multiplication problem. She can use the collage to solve the problem and explain how she solved it.    
  • Take a Poll: Ask family members a question and create a graph of the answers using numbers and pictures. Ask your child questions about the different “data” you collected and create a graph based on the data. Your child can then “report” the findings to the family like a news reporter.
  • Cook with Fractions: Make foods such as parfaits, sandwiches, or pizzas using fractions. For example, ask your child to help you make a pizza with 1/4 of a topping. Or when serving food such as pizza or a pie, your child can help you slice it into parts and serve it.
  • Time It: Towards the middle and end of the school year, when your child has become more familiar with multiplication, begin to time how long it takes it for her to do multiplication tables by heart for one number at a time. For example, work on 2, then 3, then 4. Record how long it takes as well as her progress, encouraging her to break her previous records. 
Age 8