3rd Grade Science Curriculum  

Science Select third grade curriculum contains all of the current, as well as, the newly adopted 3rd
grade TEKS and TAKS objectives set forth by TEA. The hands-on lessons are concept and
vocabulary driven and include teacher background information with step-by-step procedures.  All
student activities, labs, reviews and assessments are included.

Many literature connections are used to introduce scientific concepts to third grade students. ELPS
prompts are given throughout the curriculum to aid in the language development of students. The
integration of math, reading, writing, social studies and technology TEKS at the application level
help to maximize teacher time, as well as, to provide meaningful experiences to students.

3.1  INTRODUCTORY (Nature of Science and Physical Science)                17 DAYS   
The Introductory module introduces third grade science students to classroom and laboratory
procedures, strategies and techniques that will be followed throughout the year. TEKS
requirements on lab safety, environmental concern, and proper scientific equipment usage are also
included.  The lessons in this module are designed to help establish cooperative group behaviors in
a laboratory setting.  These behaviors will provide students with tools to become more proficient in
solving scientific problems through a systematic approach. They will set the stage that allows
students to follow scientific processes in a clear and concise format that encourages critical
thinking, problem solving and time management.  This design will give teachers a tool to
objectively evaluate their students’ ability to follow scientific behaviors and procedures throughout
the year.

3.2  MATTER (Physical and Nature of Science)                                         21 DAYS
The lessons in this module use models and laboratory investigations to introduce 3rd grade science
students to the concepts and vocabulary relating to matter. Students explore concepts, such as,
how the addition and subtraction of heat cause changes in the states of matter, how matter is
identified and described by its physical properties and how important these physical properties
become when scientists design new products. Students explore the concept of density by
discovering the relationship between mass and volume. They investigate behaviors of matter such
as buoyancy, solubility, the ability to attract magnets and conduct electric current through a simple
system. As an additional focus, students are introduced to a comparison of physical and chemical
changes. Through investigation students are able to observe results, recognize predictable patterns,
hypothesize and draw conclusions based on evidence.

3.3  ENERGY, FORCE & MOTION (Physical and Nature of Science)         29 DAYS
The lessons in this module introduce third grade science students to the concepts and vocabulary
relating to energy, force and motion and the relationship among them. Forces such as physical
force, gravity, friction, magnetism, electricity and sound are explored to observe how they affect
motion. Additional lessons focus on the scientific definition of work and how it can be measured
and made easier through the use of simple machines. Students identify the names and
characteristics of the six simple machines. They observe scientists conduct energy experiments
using the scientific processes and learn how simple machines have been used and combined
throughout history to make new products that serve mankind and advance society.  Students
conduct hands-on investigations using the scientific method to observe, first hand, how force and
motion are related and how simple machines make work easier.  The last 5 days consist of an
optional project, whereby students design and build a game using simple machines.

3.4  EARTH: LAND & FORCES (Earth, Physical, Life & Nature of Science)   22 DAYS
The lessons in this module introduce third grade science students to concepts and vocabulary
relating to how forces within the Earth System cause changes to the surface of the Earth. Students
compare changes to the Earth that occur slowly over time with those that occur rapidly. They
become familiar with the forces in nature that cause weathering, erosion and deposition of
landforms. They investigate how natural disasters affect the land and living things. Students
examine the contributions of scientists and look at ways scientists use tools to forecast Earth
changes and communicate this data to the public. Hands-on investigations are conducted using the
scientific method to observe how forces in nature change the surface of the Earth.

3.5  EARTH: MATERIALS & RESOURCES (Earth, Physical, Life & Nature of  
Science)                                                                                                  35 DAYS
Lessons focus on cycles and patterns within our Earth’s land system, as well as, the identification,
classification and importance of Earth’s natural resources.  Students explore processes involved in
the rock cycle, and the importance of rocks and minerals in our world. Soil, one of most important
natural resources, is investigated. Soil formation, composition, characteristics and conservation
techniques are examined. Students classify natural resources as nonrenewable, renewable and
inexhaustible while learning the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling these precious
resources. Hands-on investigations using the scientific method and simulations of Earth processes,
along with theory and guided discussion, help solidify abstract concepts about processes and
changes that occur slowly over time.

3.6  EARTH & SPACE (Earth, Physical, and Nature of Science)              16 DAYS
Lessons introduce 3rd grade science students to the concepts and vocabulary related to the study
of our Earth-Moon System as it moves through space in our Solar System in relation to the Sun
and other planets. Planets are examined as to their position, relative size, and relative distances
from the Sun and each other. Lessons focus on the characteristics of the Sun as a star and its
importance to life on Earth. Students discover how light and heat energy from the Sun affects the
water cycle, wind, weather, and photosynthesis. The concepts of rotation, revolution, orbit and
gravity are also explored. Students become aware of cycles within the solar system and recognize
predictable patterns.

3.7  LIFE: PLANTS AND ANIMALS (Life, Earth and Nature of Science)   26 DAYS
The lessons in this module focus on the basic needs, characteristics, life cycles and adaptations of
plants and animals that allow them to live and reproduce like offspring in an environment.  
Students learn to identify the major plant parts and their functions. They become familiar with
techniques that scientists use to identify and classify living organisms by their unique
characteristics. Students compare invertebrate and vertebrate animals but focus on the defining
physical characteristics and behaviors of the 5 classes of vertebrate animals. The relationship
between living things and their environments are explored, as well as, the effects of altering existing
ecosystems. Students examine how the energy from the Sun affects systems and cycles on Earth,
including the water cycle, photosynthesis and the food chain.
Science Select
Third Grade Overview