In 3rd grade, students learn about the physical and living world as they make observations, experiment, research, and record and present what they have learned. Third graders conduct hands-on experimentation to develop questions, hypothesize, and make observations and conclusions. Children may work in small groups or as a class observing and experimenting. As in other grades, the specific topics studied in science vary according to state. However, common topics studied in 3rd grade include: earth and space; plants; the cycle of life; animals; electricity and magnetism; and motion and sound. Consult your child’s teacher or research your state’s science standards for more details.
In order to build science skills, your 3rd grader:
- Observes living and non-living things and makes inferences about the observations.
- Researches information on a variety of topics using both text and digital resources.
- Collects and uses data to support experiments and what he learns.
- Records her observations both through writing and talking and uses those observations to explain and make conclusions.
- Understands what living things need (air, water, and food) and what they do (grow, move, and reproduce).
- Studies and observes life cycles.
- Experiments with different types of materials and different matter such as solid, liquids, and gas.
- Works in groups and as a class to conduct experiments and create projects.
Science Activities: 3rd Grade
- Research Your World: Choose something your child likes—for example, animals, plants, cooking, weather, and the body. Your child can come up with a list of questions she has about a topic and then work together to find the answers, experiment, and observe that topic.
- Plant Something: Plant something outside or inside and ask your child to observe what she sees, recording the growth and process. Once the plant has grown, help your child identify the different parts of the plants and talk and learn about what those parts do.
- Move It!: Go outside or stay inside to experiment with motion. Take a variety of objects (for example, a ball, a balloon, a paper airplane, or a toy car) and have them move in different ways. Slide them down a ramp, a hill, or stairs; push or throw them with different amounts of force; or blow air on them. As your child does this, talk about the different speeds of the objects, what makes them go faster and slower, and why this might be.
- Picture Science: You and your child can take close-up pictures of objects in science, such as animal parts, fur, plants, trees, or different materials (wood, rubber, metal). Then you and your child can use your observation skills to try to guess what the picture is. Make this a game, taking turns guessing what each other’s picture is.
- Quiz Show: Find either actual objects or pictures of objects that are both “alive” and “not alive.” Show your child one object at a time and ask him to answer “alive” or “not alive.” Make this feel fast paced and like a quiz show, showing objects quickly and asking your child to answer as quickly as possible. You can even time how long it takes. After a round of play, look at the different objects and talk about the similarities and differences between the alive and non-alive objects.