Third Grade Science


Science Content

Cluster 1:  The Human Habitat

  • A habitat is a place where an organism meets all of its needs.
  • A human’s habitat can extend much farther than his or her home.

Cluster 2:  Animals and Their Habitats

  • Organisms share an environment and interact because their habitats overlap.
  • Organisms have characteristics that make it possible for them to survive in their habitat.
  • Birds’ behavioral and physical characteristics help them survive in a local habitat.

Cluster 3:  Plants and Their Habitats

  • Many animals use the saguaro cactus as part of their habitat.
  • A cactus plant’s thick shape and waxy outer coating help keep moisture in and allow it to survive in a desert habitat.
  • Careful observations of the physical characteristics of local plants in one’s habitat can explain how they survive.
  • Many animals are dependent on plants for their survival.

Cluster 4:  Biomes

  • A biome is a large geographic area that contains many habitats.

Cluster 5:  Design Project

  • Organisms have behavioral and physical characteristics that help them survive in their habitat.
  • Having criteria is useful when creating a design.
  • Design, evaluation and revision are all parts of product development.
  • Models can represent ideas.



Science Content

Cluster 1:  Light is All Around Us

  • If you can see something, then light must be present.

Cluster 2:  Light Travels in Straight Lines

  • Light travels in straight lines. It moves outward in all directions from a source until it hits something.

Cluster 3:  Light Bounces

  • Light bounces off many materials.
  • Light can bounce directly back (mirror-like reflection) or in many directions (scatter).
  • We see because light bounces off objects and into the eye.
  • The more light there is, the easier it is to see things.

Cluster 4:  Opaque, Translucent, and Transparent Materials

  • Transparent, translucent and opaque materials let different amounts of light pass through them.
  • Translucent materials allow some light to pass through them.
  • Opaque materials do not allow any light to pass through them. The light is either absorbed, reflected, or a combination of both.
  • Transparent materials allow most light to pass through them.
  • Light can change direction as it passes through transparent materials.

Cluster 5:  Summative Lessons

  • Light travels in straight lines. It moves outward in all directions from a source until it hits something.
  • When light hits something, one or more of three things can happen: the light can bounce off it, go through it, or be absorbed by it.
  • You see when light comes into your eye.



Science Content

Magnetic Forces

  • Magnets cause a push or pull (a force). This force can work at a distance through air or other materials.
  • Different magnets have different strengths.
  • Magnets can attract or repel other magnets.

Magnetic Materials

  • Magnets are attracted to other magnets and some metal objects.
  • Magnets are used in many useful ways.


Electrical Circuits

Science Content

Cluster 1:  Static Electricity

  • Electrically charged objects attract or repel other objects.

Cluster 2:  Current Electricity

  • For an electric current to flow, there must be a complete path or loop for it to follow around a circuit and return to its source.
  • The flow of electric current can produce light, heat, sound, motion, or magnetic effects.
  • Some materials allow electric current to flow more easily than others.
  • It is important to avoid electrical hazards by using electricity safely.


Our Solar System

Science Content

Cluster 1:  The Sun’s Daily Pattern

  • The sun appears to travel through the sky in a predictable daily pattern.
  • This pattern can be explained by the rotation of Earth.

Cluster 2:  The Sun’s Annual Pattern

  • The sun’s path across the sky appears to change throughout the year in a predictable pattern.
  • The length of daylight changes throughout the year in a predictable pattern.
  • Earth’s orbit around the sun causes the changes in the length of daylight and changes in the apparent path of the sun.

Cluster 3:  Our Moon’s Cycle

  • Like the sun, the moon appears to move across the sky daily. Sometimes you can see the moon during the day.
  • Wondering about the world leads to scientific investigations and research.
  • The observable shape of the moon changes from day to day in a predictable pattern.
  • The moon’s shape seems to change from day to day because we see different views of the moon’s sun-lit portion as the moon orbits around Earth.
  • The moon’s cycle takes about a month, the time it takes for the moon to orbit Earth.

Cluster 4:  Stars and Planets

  • The sun is a star like all other stars. The sun is the center of our solar system, and Earth is one of nine planets that orbit it.
  • Wondering about the world leads to scientific investigations and research.
  • Like the sun appears to move across a daytime sky, the stars appear to move across the nighttime sky because Earth rotates on its axis.
  • Nine planets orbit around our sun. Each planet has unique characteristics that distinguish it from other planets.

Other Resources

State Science Grade Level Content Expectations for Third Grade

District Hands-On Elementary Science Brochure

Third Grade Skills Sheet 23kb PDF

Third Grade Report Form 408kb PDF


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