• Grade Three

    Introduction to History and Social Science

    The standards for third-grade students include an introduction to the heritage and contributions of the peoples of ancient Greece and Rome and the West African empire of Mali. Students should continue developing map skills and demonstrate an understanding of basic economic concepts. Students will explain the importance of the basic principles of democracy and will identify the contributions of selected individuals. Students will recognize that Americans are a people who have diverse ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, who all contribute to American life, and who are united as Americans by common principles.


    3.1          The student will explain how the contributions of ancient Greece and Rome have influenced the present world in terms of architecture, government (direct and representative democracy), and sports.

    3.2          The student will study the early West African empire of Mali by describing its oral tradition (storytelling), government (kings), and economic development (trade).

    3.3          The student will study the exploration of the Americas by

    a)   describing the accomplishments of Christopher Columbus, Juan Ponce de León, Jacques Cartier, and Christopher Newport;

    b)   identifying the reasons for exploring, the information gained, the results of the travels, and the impact of the travels on American Indians.


    3.4          The student will develop map skills by

    a)   locating Greece, Rome, and West Africa;

    b)   describing the physical and human characteristics of Greece, Rome, and West Africa;

    c)   explaining how the people of Greece, Rome, and West Africa adapted to and/or changed their environment to meet their needs.

    3.5          The student will develop map skills by

    a)   positioning and labeling the seven continents and five oceans to create a world map;

    b)   using the equator and prime meridian to identify the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Hemispheres;

    c)   locating the countries of Spain, England, and France;

    d)   locating the regions in the Americas explored by Christopher Columbus (San Salvador in the Bahamas), Juan Ponce de León (near St. Augustine, Florida), Jacques Cartier (near Quebec, Canada), and Christopher Newport (Jamestown, Virginia);

    e)   locating specific places, using a simple letter-number grid system.

    3.6          The student will read and construct maps, tables, graphs, and/or charts.


    3.7          The student will explain how producers in ancient Greece, Rome, and the West African empire of Mali used natural resources, human resources, and capital resources in the production of goods and services.

    3.8          The student will recognize that because people and regions cannot produce everything they want, they specialize in what they do best and trade for the rest.

    3.9          The student will identify examples of making an economic choice and will explain the idea of opportunity cost (what is given up when making a choice).


    3.10        The student will recognize the importance of government in the community, Virginia, and the United States of America by

    a)   explaining the purpose of rules and laws;

    b)   explaining that the basic purposes of government are to make laws, carry out laws, and decide if laws have been broken;

    c)   explaining that government protects the rights and property of individuals.

    3.11        The student will explain the importance of the basic principles that form the foundation of a republican form of government by

    a)   describing the individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and equality under the law;

    b)   identifying the contributions of George Washington; Thomas Jefferson; Abraham Lincoln; Rosa Parks; Thurgood Marshall; Martin Luther King, Jr.; and Cesar Chavez;

    c)   recognizing that Veterans Day and Memorial Day honor people who have served to protect the country’s freedoms,

    d)   describing how people can serve the community, state, and nation.

    3.12        The student will recognize that Americans are a people of diverse ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, who are united by the basic principles of a republican form of government and respect for individual rights and freedoms.


    English Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools - January 2010
    Grade Three
    Reading continues to be a priority in third grade. Emphasis is on learning about words, reading text with fluency and expression, and learning comprehension strategies. The student will read a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts, which relate to all areas of the curriculum. The student will use effective communication skills in group activities and will present brief oral reports. Reading comprehension strategies will be applied in all subjects, with emphasis on materials that reflect the Standards of Learning in mathematics, science, and history and social science. The student will plan, draft, revise, and edit stories, simple explanations, and short reports. In addition, the student will gather and use information from print and electronic sources. The student also will write legibly in cursive.
    Oral Language
    3.1 The student will use effective communication skills in group activities.
    a) Listen attentively by making eye contact, facing the speaker, asking questions, and summarizing what is said.
    b) Ask and respond to questions from teachers and other group members.
    c) Explain what has been learned.
    d) Use language appropriate for context.
    e) Increase listening and speaking vocabularies.
    3.2 The student will present brief oral reports using visual media.
    a) Speak clearly.
    b) Use appropriate volume and pitch.
    c) Speak at an understandable rate.
    d) Organize ideas sequentially or around major points of information.
    e) Use contextually appropriate language and specific vocabulary to communicate ideas.
    3.3 The student will apply word-analysis skills when reading.
    a) Use knowledge of regular and irregular vowel patterns.
    b) Decode regular multisyllabic words.
    3.4 The student will expand vocabulary when reading.
    a) Use knowledge of homophones.
    b) Use knowledge of roots, affixes, synonyms, and antonyms.
    c) Apply meaning clues, language structure, and phonetic strategies.
    d) Use context to clarify meaning of unfamiliar words.
    e) Discuss meanings of words and develop vocabulary by listening and reading a variety of texts.
    f) Use vocabulary from other content areas.
    g) Use word reference resources including the glossary, dictionary, and thesaurus.
    English Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools - January 2010
    3.5 The student will read and demonstrate comprehension of fictional text and poetry.
    a) Set a purpose for reading.
    b) Make connections between previous experiences and reading selections.
    c) Make, confirm, or revise predictions.
    d) Compare and contrast settings, characters, and events.
    e) Identify the author’s purpose.
    f) Ask and answer questions about what is read.
    g) Draw conclusions about text.
    h) Identify the problem and solution.
    i) Identify the main idea.
    j) Identify supporting details.
    k) Use reading strategies to monitor comprehension throughout the reading process.
    l) Differentiate between fiction and nonfiction.
    m) Read with fluency and accuracy.
    3.6 The student will continue to read and demonstrate comprehension of nonfiction texts.
    a) Identify the author’s purpose.
    b) Use prior and background knowledge as context for new learning.
    c) Preview and use text features.
    d) Ask and answer questions about what is read.
    e) Draw conclusions based on text.
    f) Summarize major points found in nonfiction texts.
    g) Identify the main idea.
    h) Identify supporting details.
    i) Compare and contrast the characteristics of biographies and autobiographies.
    j) Use reading strategies to monitor comprehension throughout the reading process.
    k) Identify new information gained from reading.
    l) Read with fluency and accuracy.
    3.7 The student will demonstrate comprehension of information from a variety of print and electronic resources.
    a) Use encyclopedias and other reference books, including online reference materials.
    b) Use table of contents, indices, and charts.
    3.8 The student will write legibly in cursive.
    3.9 The student will write for a variety of purposes.
    a) Identify the intended audience.
    b) Use a variety of prewriting strategies.
    c) Write a clear topic sentence focusing on the main idea.
    d) Write a paragraph on the same topic.
    e) Use strategies for organization of information and elaboration according to the type of writing.
    f) Include details that elaborate the main idea.
    g) Revise writing for clarity of content using specific vocabulary and information.
    English Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools - January 2010
    3.10 The student will edit writing for correct grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.
    a) Use complete sentences.
    b) Use transition words to vary sentence structure.
    c) Use the word I in compound subjects.
    d) Use past and present verb tense.
    e) Use singular possessives.
    f) Use commas in a simple series.
    g) Use simple abbreviations.
    h) Use apostrophes in contractions with pronouns and in possessives.
    i) Use the articles a, an, and the correctly.
    j) Use correct spelling for frequently used sight words, including irregular plurals.
    3.11 The student will write a short report.
    a) Construct questions about the topic.
    b) Identify appropriate resources.
    c) Collect and organize information about the topic into a short report.
    d) Understand the difference between plagiarism and using own words.
    3.12 The student will use available technology for reading and writing. 3

    Grade Three

    The third-grade standards place emphasis on learning multiplication and division facts through the twelves table. Students will be fluent in the basic addition facts through the tens table and the corresponding subtraction facts. Concrete materials and two-dimensional representations will be used to introduce addition and subtraction with fractions and the concept of probability as chance. Students will use standard units (U.S. Customary and metric) to measure temperature, length, liquid volume, and weight and identify relevant properties of shapes, points, line segments, rays, angles, vertices, and lines. Students will investigate and describe the identity and commutative properties for addition and multiplication.

    While learning mathematics, students will be actively engaged, using concrete materials and appropriate technologies such as calculators and computers. However, facility in the use of technology shall not be regarded as a substitute for a student’s understanding of quantitative concepts and relationships or for proficiency in basic computations.

    Mathematics has its own language, and the acquisition of specialized vocabulary and language patterns is crucial to a student’s understanding and appreciation of the subject. Students should be encouraged to use correctly the concepts, skills, symbols, and vocabulary identified in the following set of standards.

    Problem solving has been integrated throughout the six content strands. The development of problem-solving skills should be a major goal of the mathematics program at every grade level. Instruction in the process of problem solving will need to be integrated early and continuously into each student’s mathematics education. Students must be helped to develop a wide range of skills and strategies for solving a variety of problem types.

    Number and Number Sense

    Focus: Place Value and Fractions

    3.1          The student will

    a)   read and write six-digit numerals and identify the place value and value of each digit;

    b)   round whole numbers, 9,999 or less, to the nearest ten, hundred, and thousand; and

    c)   compare two whole numbers between 0 and 9,999, using symbols (>, <, or = ) and words (greater than, less than, or equal to).

    3.2          The student will recognize and use the inverse relationships between addition/subtraction and multiplication/division to complete basic fact sentences. The student will use these relationships to solve problems.

    3.3          The student will

    a)   name and write fractions (including mixed numbers) represented by a model;

    b)   model fractions (including mixed numbers) and write the fractions’ names; and

    c)   compare fractions having like and unlike denominators, using words and symbols
    (>, <, or =).

    Computation and Estimation

    Focus: Computation and Fraction Operations

    3.4          The student will estimate solutions to and solve single-step and multistep problems involving the sum or difference of two whole numbers, each 9,999 or less, with or without regrouping.

    3.5          The student will recall multiplication facts through the twelves table, and the corresponding division facts.

    3.6          The student will represent multiplication and division, using area, set, and number line models, and create and solve problems that involve multiplication of two whole numbers, one factor 99 or less and the second factor 5 or less.

    3.7          The student will add and subtract proper fractions having like denominators of 12 or less.


    Focus: U.S. Customary and Metric Units, Area and Perimeter, and Time

    3.8          The student will determine, by counting, the value of a collection of bills and coins whose total value is $5.00 or less, compare the value of the bills and coins, and make change.

    3.9          The student will estimate and use U.S. Customary and metric units to measure

    a)   length to the nearest -inch, inch, foot, yard, centimeter, and meter;

    b)   liquid volume in cups, pints, quarts, gallons, and liters;

    c)   weight/mass in ounces, pounds, grams, and kilograms; and

    d)   area and perimeter.

    3.10        The student will

    a)   measure the distance around a polygon in order to determine perimeter; and

    b)   count the number of square units needed to cover a given surface in order to determine area.

    3.11        The student will

    a)   tell time to the nearest minute, using analog and digital clocks; and

    b)   determine elapsed time in one-hour increments over a 12-hour period.

    3.12        The student will identify equivalent periods of time, including relationships among days, months, and years, as well as minutes and hours.

    3.13        The student will read temperature to the nearest degree from a Celsius thermometer and a Fahrenheit thermometer. Real thermometers and physical models of thermometers will be used.


    Focus: Properties and Congruence Characteristics of Plane and Solid Figures

    3.14        The student will identify, describe, compare, and contrast characteristics of plane and solid geometric figures (circle, square, rectangle, triangle, cube, rectangular prism, square pyramid, sphere, cone, and cylinder) by identifying relevant characteristics, including the number of angles, vertices, and edges, and the number and shape of faces, using concrete models.

    3.15        The student will identify and draw representations of points, line segments, rays, angles, and lines.

    3.16        The student will identify and describe congruent and noncongruent plane figures.

    Probability and Statistics

    Focus: Applications of Data and Chance

    3.17        The student will

    a)   collect and organize data, using observations, measurements, surveys, or experiments;

    b)   construct a line plot, a picture graph, or a bar graph to represent the data; and

    c)   read and interpret the data represented in line plots, bar graphs, and picture graphs and write a sentence analyzing the data.

    3.18        The student will investigate and describe the concept of probability as chance and list possible results of a given situation.

    Patterns, Functions, and Algebra

    Focus: Patterns and Property Concepts

    3.19        The student will recognize and describe a variety of patterns formed using numbers, tables, and pictures, and extend the patterns, using the same or different forms.

    3.20        The student will

    a)   investigate the identity and the commutative properties for addition and multiplication; and

    b)   identify examples of the identity and commutative properties for addition and multiplication.



    Grade Three


    The Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools identify academic content for essential components of the science curriculum at different grade levels. Standards are identified for kindergarten through grade five, for middle school, and for a core set of high school courses — Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Throughout a student’s science schooling from kindergarten through grade six, content strands, or topics are included. The Standards of Learning in each strand progress in complexity as they are studied at various grade levels in grades K-6, and are represented indirectly throughout the high school courses.  These strands are


    ·         Scientific Investigation, Reasoning, and Logic;

    ·         Force, Motion, and Energy;

    ·         Matter;

    ·         Life Processes;

    ·         Living Systems;

    ·         Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems;

    ·         Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change; and

    ·         Earth Resources.


    Five key components of the science standards that are critical to implementation and necessary for student success in achieving science literacy are 1) Goals; 2) K-12 Safety; 3) Instructional Technology; 4) Investigate and Understand; and 5) Application. It is imperative to science instruction that the local curriculum consider and address how these components are incorporated in the design of the kindergarten through high school science program.



    The purposes of scientific investigation and discovery are to satisfy humankind’s quest for knowledge and understanding and to preserve and enhance the quality of the human experience. Therefore, as a result of science instruction, students will be able to achieve the following objectives:

    1.   Develop and use an experimental design in scientific inquiry.

    2.   Use the language of science to communicate understanding.

    3.   Investigate phenomena using technology.

    4.   Apply scientific concepts, skills, and processes to everyday experiences.

    5.   Experience the richness and excitement of scientific discovery of the natural world through the collaborative quest for knowledge and understanding.

    6.   Make informed decisions regarding contemporary issues, taking into account the following:

    ·         public policy and legislation;

    ·         economic costs/benefits;

    ·         validation from scientific data and the use of scientific reasoning and logic;

    ·         respect for living things;

    ·         personal responsibility; and

    ·         history of scientific discovery.

    7.   Develop scientific dispositions and habits of mind including:

    ·         curiosity;

    ·         demand for verification;

    ·         respect for logic and rational thinking;

    ·         consideration of premises and consequences;

    ·         respect for historical contributions;

    ·         attention to accuracy and precision; and

    ·         patience and persistence.

    8.   Develop an understanding of the interrelationship of science with technology, engineering and mathematics.

    9.  Explore science-related careers and interests.


    K-12 Safety

    In implementing the Science Standards of Learning, teachers must be certain that students know how to follow safety guidelines, demonstrate appropriate laboratory safety techniques, and use equipment safely while working individually and in groups.


    Safety must be given the highest priority in implementing the K-12 instructional program for science. Correct and safe techniques, as well as wise selection of experiments, resources, materials, and field experiences appropriate to age levels, must be carefully considered with regard to the safety precautions for every instructional activity. Safe science classrooms require thorough planning, careful management, and constant monitoring of student activities. Class enrollment should not exceed the designed capacity of the room.


    Teachers must be knowledgeable of the properties, use, and proper disposal of all chemicals that may be judged as hazardous prior to their use in an instructional activity. Such information is referenced through Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). The identified precautions involving the use of goggles, gloves, aprons, and fume hoods must be followed as prescribed.


    While no comprehensive list exists to cover all situations, the following should be reviewed to avoid potential safety problems. Appropriate safety procedures should be used in the following situations:

    ·         observing wildlife; handling living and preserved organisms; and coming in contact with natural hazards, such as poison ivy, ticks, mushrooms, insects, spiders, and snakes;

    ·         engaging in field activities in, near, or over bodies of water;

    ·         handling glass tubing and other glassware, sharp objects, and labware;

    ·         handling natural gas burners, Bunsen burners, and other sources of flame/heat;

    ·         working in or with direct sunlight (sunburn and eye damage);

    ·         using extreme temperatures and cryogenic materials;

    ·         handling hazardous chemicals including toxins, carcinogens, and flammable and explosive materials;

    ·         producing acid/base neutralization reactions/dilutions;

    ·         producing toxic gases;

    ·         generating/working with high pressures;

    ·         working with biological cultures including their appropriate disposal and recombinant DNA;

    ·         handling power equipment/motors;

    ·         working with high voltage/exposed wiring; and

    • working with laser beam, UV, and other radiation.


    The use of human body fluids or tissues is generally prohibited for classroom lab activities. Further guidance from the following sources may be referenced:

    ·         OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration);

    ·         ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) rules; and

    ·         public health departments’ and school divisions’ protocols.


    Instructional Technology

    The use of current and emerging technologies is essential to the K-12 science instructional program. Specifically, technology must accomplish the following:

    ·         Assist in improving every student’s functional literacy. This includes improved communication through reading/information retrieval (the use of telecommunications), writing (word processing), organization and analysis of data (databases, spreadsheets, and graphics programs), presentation of one’s ideas (presentation software), and resource management (project management software).

    ·         Be readily available and regularly used as an integral and ongoing part of the delivery and assessment of instruction.

    ·         Include instrumentation oriented toward the instruction and learning of science concepts, skills, and processes. Technology, however, should not be limited to traditional instruments of science, such as microscopes, labware, and data-collecting apparatus, but should also include computers, robotics, video-microscopes, graphing calculators, probeware, geospatial technologies, online communication, software and appropriate hardware, as well as other emerging technologies.

    • Be reflected in the “instructional strategies” generally developed at the school division level.


    In most cases, the application of technology in science should remain “transparent” unless it is the actual focus of the instruction. One must expect students to “do as a scientist does” and not simply hear about science if they are truly expected to explore, explain, and apply scientific concepts, skills, and processes.


    As computer/technology skills are essential components of every student’s education, it is important that teaching these skills is a shared responsibility of teachers of all disciplines and grade levels.


    Investigate and Understand

    Many of the standards in the Science Standards of Learning begin with the phrase “Students will investigate and understand.” This phrase was chosen to communicate the range of rigorous science skills and knowledge levels embedded in each standard. Limiting a standard to one observable behavior, such as “describe” or “explain,” would have narrowed the interpretation of what was intended to be a rich, highly rigorous, and inclusive content standard.



    “Investigate” refers to scientific methodology and implies systematic use of the following inquiry skills:

    ·         observing;

    ·         classifying and sequencing;

    ·         communicating;

    ·         measuring;

    ·         predicting;

    ·         hypothesizing;

    ·         inferring;

    ·         defining, controlling, and manipulating variables in experimentation;

    ·         designing, constructing, and interpreting models; and

    • interpreting, analyzing, and evaluating data.


    “Understand” refers to various levels of knowledge application. In the Science Standards of Learning, these knowledge levels include the ability to:

    ·         recall or recognize important information, key definitions, terminology, and facts;

    ·         explain the information in one’s own words, comprehend how the information is related to other key facts, and suggest additional interpretations of its meaning or importance;

    ·         apply the facts and principles to new problems or situations, recognizing what information is required for a particular situation, using the information to explain new phenomena, and determining when there are exceptions;

    ·         analyze the underlying details of important facts and principles, recognizing the key relations and patterns that are not always readily visible;

    ·         arrange and combine important facts, principles, and other information to produce a new idea, plan, procedure, or product; and

    • make judgments about information in terms of its accuracy, precision, consistency, or effectiveness.


    Therefore, the use of “investigate and understand” allows each content standard to become the basis for a broad range of teaching objectives, which the school division will develop and refine to meet the intent of the Science Standards of Learning.



    Science provides the key to understanding the natural world. The application of science to relevant topics provides a context for students to build their knowledge and make connections across content and subject areas. This includes applications of science among technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as within other science disciplines. Various strategies can be used to facilitate these applications and to promote a better understanding of the interrelated nature of these four areas.

    Grade Three

    The third-grade standards place increasing emphasis on conducting investigations. Students are expected to be able to develop questions, formulate simple hypotheses, make predictions, gather data, and use the metric system with greater precision. Using information to make inferences and draw conclusions becomes more important. In the area of physical science, the standards focus on simple and compound machines, energy, and a basic understanding of matter. Behavioral and physical adaptations are examined in relation to the life needs of animals. The notion of living systems is further explored in aquatic and terrestrial food chains and diversity in ecosystems. Patterns in the natural world are demonstrated in terms of the phases of the moon, tides, seasonal changes, the water cycle, and animal and plant life cycles. Geological concepts are introduced through the investigation of the components of soil.


    Scientific Investigation, Reasoning, and Logic

    3.1             The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific reasoning, logic, and the nature of science by planning and conducting investigations in which

    a)   observations are made and are repeated to ensure accuracy;

    b)   predictions are formulated using a variety of sources of information;

    c)   objects with similar characteristics or properties are classified into at least two sets and two subsets;

    d)   natural events are sequenced chronologically;

    e)   length, volume, mass, and temperature are estimated and measured in metric and standard English units using proper tools and techniques;

    f)   time is measured to the nearest minute using proper tools and techniques;

    g)   questions are developed to formulate hypotheses;

    h)   data are gathered, charted, graphed, and analyzed;

    i)    unexpected or unusual quantitative data are recognized;

    j)    inferences are made and conclusions are drawn;

    k)   data are communicated;

    l)    models are designed and built; and

    m) current applications are used to reinforce science concepts.


    Force, Motion, and Energy

    3.2             The student will investigate and understand simple machines and their uses. Key concepts include

    a)   purpose and function of simple machines;

    b)   types of simple machines;

    c)   compound machines; and

    d)   examples of simple and compound machines found in the school, home, and work environments.



    3.3             The student will investigate and understand that objects are made of materials that can be described by their physical properties. Key concepts include

    a)   objects are made of one or more materials;

    b)   physical properties remain the same as the material is changed in visible size; and

    c)   visible physical changes are identified.


    Life Processes

    3.4             The student will investigate and understand that adaptations allow animals to satisfy life needs and respond to the environment. Key concepts include

    a)   behavioral adaptations; and

    b)   physical adaptations.


    Living Systems

    3.5             The student will investigate and understand relationships among organisms in aquatic and terrestrial food chains. Key concepts include

    a)   producer, consumer, decomposer;

    b)   herbivore, carnivore, omnivore; and

    c)   predator and prey.


    3.6             The student will investigate and understand that ecosystems support a diversity of plants and animals that share limited resources. Key concepts include

    a)   aquatic ecosystems;

    b)   terrestrial ecosystems;

    c)   populations and communities; and

    d)   the human role in conserving limited resources.


    Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems

    3.7             The student will investigate and understand the major components of soil, its origin, and its importance to plants and animals including humans. Key concepts include

    a)   soil provides the support and nutrients necessary for plant growth;

    b)   topsoil is a natural product of subsoil and bedrock;

    c)   rock, clay, silt, sand, and humus are components of soils; and

    d)   soil is a natural resource and should be conserved.


    Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change

    3.8             The student will investigate and understand basic patterns and cycles occurring in nature. Key concepts include

    a)   patterns of natural events such as day and night, seasonal changes, simple phases of the moon, and tides;

    b)   animal life cycles; and

    c)   plant life cycles.


    3.9             The student will investigate and understand the water cycle and its relationship to life on Earth. Key concepts include

    a)   there are many sources of water on Earth;

    b)   the energy from the sun drives the water cycle;

    c)   the water cycle involves several processes;

    d)   water is essential for living things; and

    e)   water on Earth is limited and needs to be conserved.


    Earth Resources

    3.10           The student will investigate and understand that natural events and human influences can affect the survival of species. Key concepts include

    a)   the interdependency of plants and animals;

    b)   the effects of human activity on the quality of air, water, and habitat;

    c)   the effects of fire, flood, disease, and erosion on organisms; and

    d)   conservation and resource renewal.


    3.11           The student will investigate and understand different sources of energy. Key concepts include

    a)   energy from the sun;

    b)   sources of renewable energy; and

    c)   sources of nonrenewable energy.