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Your third grader and science

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By GreatSchools Staff

"In third grade students are better able to plan investigations that have multiple steps, rather than to simply get started and see what happens," says Fred Stein, our science curriculum consultant.

Many third-grade teachers turn to the lives of famous scientists, like Nicolaus Copernicus and Alexander Graham Bell, for inspirational lessons.

Learning scientific skills

But more important than learning facts is your child's ability to learn skills based on the scientific process, including the following:

  • Using the five senses to gather information
  • Using tools to extend the senses
  • Learning to ask questions that can be answered through investigation
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Using measurement to make estimates or record data
  • Making predictions and seeing if they occur as expected
  • Basing conclusions on facts and observations
  • Looking for commonalities and differences in grouping objects or events

What to look for when you visit

  • Books about the seasons, plants, animals, and the earth; space, astronomy, and technology; and the human body
  • Books about scientists who’ve made major contribution to their fields
  • Materials that encourage hands-on experimentation (microscopes, models, and skeletons)
  • Safety glasses, thermometers, magnifying glasses, mirrors, bar magnets, and rulers
  • Aquariums, gardens, or other areas that allow kids to learn about the life cycles of plants and animals
  • Guest experts from museums, zoos, and botanical gardens

Updated April 2010

Comments from readers

"this is great information. I have a struggling 3rd grade this will help me help him with his science project. "