Third Grade Subjects, Activities, and Skills

Boy (8-9) helping friend (6-7) to tie shoestrings

Superstudio / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Children entering the third grade who have mastered basic reading and math skills are primed to build upon what they've already learned. Third-graders will make more use of reference books and other materials, and they will use third-grade math and science to continue to explore the world around them. They will also begin to think more globally as they learn more about the world beyond home and school, and they will become very interested in learning new things.

This general guideline lays out what you can expect to see in your child as he or she tackles third-grade math, reading, and other subjects during the school year.

Third-Grade Social Skills

Third grade will expand your child's horizons and give them more of a "big picture" perspective. These social skills relate not only to friendships and interactions with the teacher and other students but to more in-depth learning experiences. Your third-grader will develop these social skills:

  • Friendships start to become more important, and many third-graders look forward to socializing and seeing their friends at school.
  • Your child will become more adept at understanding and share jokes and riddles with friends.
  • Your child will take on more responsibility himself, such as making sure he writes down homework assignments, packing up his own belongings for dismissal, etc.
  • Third-graders work cooperatively on group projects, such as science experiments.

Third-Grade Reading and Writing

Third grade builds upon your child's educational foundation. He may find certain subjects more interesting than others, and he may also look forward to sharing the information he learns in school with you. Your third-grader will:

  • Continue to expand vocabulary.
  • Use reference books such as dictionaries and thesauruses to get information.
  • Read longer chapter books and be able to articulate the main points of the stories. Popular third-grade titles include "A Series of Unfortunate Events" by Lemony Snicket and "The Magic Tree House" series by Mary Pope Osborne.
  • Write detailed stories and essays with a logical sequence of events and discernible plot points and endings.
  • Write in paragraphs and learn how to use transitions.
  • Learn and practice cursive writing.

Third-Grade Math

Although much of what your child learns in third grade helps to expand their worldview, some of the new information they acquire has practical applications in real life. Math is a case in point. Your third grader will:

  • Learn multiplication, fractions, and decimals.
  • Become increasingly more adept at applying math to real-life situations such as making a change or adding up allowance money.
  • Multiply and divide double- or triple-digit numbers by single-digit numbers.
  • Learn how to measure weight, height, and volume.

Third-Grade Science, Social Studies, and Technology

Third grade will introduce your child to a whole new world of fascinating subjects like science, social studies, and technology that may help him develop new interests and hobbies. Your third-grader will:

  • Review the names of states and learn the state capitals.
  • Learn about space (the solar system, planets, moon, stars, etc.).
  • Learn how to prove or disprove a hypothesis using experiments.
  • Become skilled at using maps and globes to find places.
  • Learn how to analyze and create graphs and charts.
  • Use numbers to apply to real-life situations, such as using a budget.
  • Become more skilled at using the computer to do research with supervision.
  • Learn keyboarding to type on the computer more efficiently.

By Katherine Lee
Katherine Lee is a parenting writer and a former editor at Parenting and Working Mother magazines.