Students in Grade 3 are becoming more aware of scientific concepts. They are active, inquisitive, and have a greater interest in their environment and an increased capacity for intellectual growth. Through varied and appropriate activities, third-grade students begin to develop a sense of where they are in their world. Teachers extend the natural inclinations of students to ask questions and investigate their world through an inquiry-based classroom environment. In this learning environment, students apply process skills, engage in hands-on activities, and participate in cooperative groups to conduct investigations that begin with questions and progress toward the communication of answers.
The development of critical-thinking and problem-solving skills is a major goal of the third-grade science program. In Grade 3, the study of science includes planning and implementing simple classroom and field investigations. Students describe the layers of Earth, including the inner and outer cores, mantle, and crust. They observe the force and motion of objects, identify weather phenomena, organize weather data into tables or charts, describe the life cycle of plants, and determine the effect of environmental conditions on plant growth and survival.