3rd Grade Science and Social Studies
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In this third-grade course, scholars explore and grapple with a wide variety of social studies and science topics while also building their skills and reading, analyzing and writing about informational texts. Though it can be used to teach science and social studies, this course is also an important component of Match’s English Language Arts program for third grade.
In social studies, scholars begin by exploring different civilizations and how daily routines, rituals, and structures help show what a civilization values. Scholars will also explore the ways in which the geography and environment influenced the ways the different civilizations met their needs. In the second half of the year, scholars research and learn about influential Hispanic leaders who fought for change in the United States, followed by a unit exploring the country’s many different religions. It is our hope that all social studies–based units will challenge scholars to appreciate and value different civilizations, beliefs, and actions. In science, scholars start by exploring the relationship between living things and their environment and the ways in which different animals adapt to meet their needs for survival. Scholars then learn about different forces and motion, particularly friction and gravity, and the impact that forces have on our lives.
At Match Elementary School, we structure our 70- to 90-minute science and social studies block so that over the course of a week scholars have a chance to grapple with the themes and content of the unit while also delving deeply into a variety of nonfiction texts. We aim to ensure that scholars spend the majority of class time deeply engaged with informational texts, either individually or as a class, annotating, writing, and discussing key themes and questions. Target tasks are a central part of each daily lesson and offer opportunities for writing and discussion that both deepen students’ understanding of the content and build their writing and discussion skills. These writing target tasks and the longer more focused writing tasks embedded in the units are the primary basis for writing instruction at Match; students do not have a separate writing block. Starting with unit 2, students also begin daily practice with answering multiple-choice questions that require deep consideration and analysis of the texts and themes.
We also believe in the power of hands-on learning in all science and social studies units. While directions for labs and projects are not explicitly written into units, we encourage all teachers to include at least three to four days of exploratory learning over the course of the unit to help bring the content to life for scholars.