In third grade, the nine-year-old begins to experience a separation of the inner and outer worlds. Children at this age begin to ask philosophical questions, such “Why is there evil?” or “Who made the world?” as they experience a more distanced relationship to their environment. To satisfy this inner searching, the language arts curriculum begins with cultural experiences of the Creation Story and stories from the Old Testament.
The children now want to experience their environment in a more practical way. Thus, they study how the native cultures lived in accordance with nature. Not only do they study house building and farming, but engage in these activities as well. The children also learn about the practical functioning of the city. They may take local field trips to discover, for example, the journey water takes to and from their sinks.
There is a practical aspect to the mathematics curriculum as well. In tandem with their building project, the children are introduced to linear measurement. Alongside their study of farming, the children are introduced to liquid and solid measurement. The third graders learn about the measurement of time from a historical as well as practical perspective. They learn how to read a clock and may make a calendar or a sundial. The children also learn about currency and how to give change through practical activities such as managing a bake sale. The children apply their multiplication and division skills to simple conversion of measurement units.
Throughout these units of study, the class continues to review and expand their skills with the four operations. They will learn long division and long multiplication and become flexible within the multiplication tables. They become confident in applying mathematical equations to word problems.
In third grade the children learn to be more expressive in their writing. They learn the parts of speech, sentence structure, and punctuation. They are expected to write more of their own compositions and begin to take dictations to develop skills in listening, spelling, grammar, punctuation and capitalization. Cursive script is introduced. More complicated word families are introduced as well as sight words. Spelling words may also arise out of the main lesson content.
As with their writing, the children now learn to read with expression. They read in groups as well as independently. They learn strategies for decoding difficult words. They continue to develop their speech through the recitation of poetry and tongue twisters.