Third graders absorb the world through text and discussion and dramatically expand their ability to express themselves. Combined with their burgeoning scholarship, they reach into the past to explore how our city was formed through the immigrant experience. Through group projects, they invent and solve problems and learn how to fail and start again.

List of 6 items.

  • Reading

    In third grade, habits of thoughtful readers are reinforced in a variety of ways: guided reading, literature circles, reading journals, and independent reading. As the students read, they practice reading-comprehension strategies like prediction, clarification, questioning, summarizing, visualizing, inferring, using prior knowledge, and making connections across genres. They also learn about the structure of reading, including themes, story elements, and the author’s intention and meaning.
  • Writing

    The whole scope of the writing process, from pre-writing to publishing, is explored in third grade. Students write in many genres, introduce paragraph structure to their work, and refine their grammar and mechanics, including capitalization, end punctuation, commas, quotation marks, apostrophes, and parts of speech. Students also begin to learn cursive.
  • Mathematics

    Mathematical thinking continues to develop and expand for third graders, who master multi-digit addition and subtraction, learn multiplication facts, and investigate 2- and 3-dimensional geometric forms. They also explore perimeter and area, U.S. customary and metric system measurements, and fractions. They focus on making real-world connections, developing critical thinking, and independent problem-solving. Math units use hands-on materials, games, projects, practice and drill, and individual and small-group work.
  • Social Studies

    The impact of immigration is central to the third grade social studies curriculum. Students explore the impact of European arrival on Indigenous communities in the Americas, study the development of intentional communities in New York starting in the 17th century, and investigate the immigration and Great Migration experience from the turn of the 20th century to the present. These topics are explored using class discussion, research projects, dramatic writing and performance, letter writing, and group and individual projects.
  • Science

    Third grade students conduct experiments, make observations, interpret data, maintain a science journal, design hands-on applications, and work collaboratively in the Lower School Science Lab. The year includes study of a range of topics. “What is Plastic?” is an inquiry into the origins of plastic and the implications of plastic production and use for the environment. Physical science includes the study of simple and complex machines, work, and force, and also features a K’NEX building challenge. A LEGO Robotics unit teaches students basic programming language through building robots. Adaptive design explores design as a way to help others, and involves the interplay of form and function, use of materials, and the construction of prototype for a real-life adaptability challenge.
  • World Languages

    Spanish language instruction continues in third grade, as students improve their proficiency in listening, reading, and writing through conversation, hands-on activities, songs, and games. They enlarge their vocabulary areas, including for greetings, expressions of courtesy, numbers, words for family members, the calendar, time, and areas of personal interest. Spanish language learning also explores the traditions and celebrations of Spanish-speaking countries around the world.

Curriculum in Action

Collaborative and interdisciplinary learning are cornerstones of a Cathedral education. For instance, a three-month-long robot programming unit begins not in the science lab, but the classroom. During book circles, third graders discuss the difficulties characters in their books face, and how to best solve them through robotics. In groups of three or four, students brainstorm ways to attack these problems and then design, build, and program a LEGO robot using the block-coding platform WeDo. One group took the life-threatening drought faced by the characters in the novel Holes by Louis Sachar as inspiration to design a robotic conveyor belt that could deliver water to the afflicted characters. After their robots are built and programmed successfully, third graders create a diorama in the art studio to place the robot in their appropriate world. Throughout the entire unit, students brainstorm together, come up with solutions, and make decisions as a team. As a finale, families are invited to school as the children present their robots, and the thinking behind their design, to the group.
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