Third graders become the experts in Native American studies through the third grade theme, "Keepers Of the Earth".
After studying westward expansion from the explorers’ point of view in second grade, third graders learn to understand the Native American perspective. Multiple intelligence activities ranging from archeological dig simulations, to role-playing Native American legends, to creating dioramas of tribal life help the students gain a true understanding of the Native American culture and history.
Third grade is also a year when the children are starting to come into their own and realize the traits it takes to be a student. Development of their interpersonal intelligence guides them in their personal relationships during cooperative activities and in social settings. Linguistically, the students are moving from learning “how” to read to reading to learn. They use their logical-mathematical intelligence to analyze and solve problems and become critical thinkers in other content areas. The third grade theme allows for the nurturing of the naturalist intelligence, while the spatial, musical and bodily-kinesthetic intelligences are used to create projects, exhibitions and presentations.
“How can I become a responsible, independent third grader?” is the third grade mantra. It is definitely a year of transition. Students are expected to develop more independence, not only in their thinking and problem-solving, but in everyday classroom routines, homework completion, and responsibility to self and others. It is an exciting and important year of growth.
What to Expect from Your Third Grader
Third graders are full of energy and often do things in a hurry. They need physical release through time to play outdoors. Eight-and nine-year-olds enjoy socializing and sharing humor, and love group activities and cooperative work, preferably with peers of the same gender. They start to form larger friendship groups and tend to bounce back quickly from disagreements with each other.
This group of students likes to talk, wants ideas heard and has a rapidly expanding vocabulary. Exaggerating comes naturally at this age and time is spent helping students see the reality of a situation. Third graders are motivated to do well and they like to please. They take pride in finishing tasks, but may jump quickly between interests. Their sense of moral responsibility is developing and they are becoming more interested in issues of fairness and may argue about them. Patience, encouragement, and humor are essential elements in helping third graders grow.
Top Ten Things to Know about Third Grade
Skin Stories: Students create buffalo skins and write in sign language to aid in understanding.
Baseball Math: The concepts of percentages and averages is learned through figuring batting averages and ERA.
Native American Diorama: This culminating project allows the students the opportunity to demonstrate their genuine understanding of a Native American tribe of choice.
Trip To Little Creek: This visit to a nature preserve is instrumental in learning about habitats.
Archeological Dig: This simulation shows how archeologists acquired background information on the early history of Native Americans.
Trip to Mastodon State Park: Students explore an archeological dig site and learn about artifacts, mastodons and mammoths.
Native American Legends: Legends are brought to life through our class play.
Buffalo Math: Together with the math concepts of height, weight, width, and volume, this cooperative learning activity also teaches the importance of the buffalo while at the same time highlighting the importance of team work.
Trip to Kampsville: Students explore a dig site and learn to work as the Native Americans did -- grinding and planting corn, making rope, and flint knapping.
Timelines: Just as Native Americans recorded their life events on skins and wall paintings, students create timeline of their own lives.
If you would like more information about the content and skills covered in the third grade curriculum, click here.