Theme in third grade is, literally and figuratively, an adventure.
We follow the travels of Marco Polo from Venice to China, and areas in between. From glassblowing and Carnival to the Silk Road and Kublai Kahn, third graders have an amazing experience.
Example of a theme project that happens during the year:
As Ms. Mladenoff says, “I love our Venetian Architecture Project. The kids choose a building to research and draw/build. We then set up all the buildings along ‘The Grand Canal.’ The overall effect is amazing and the kids really own what they learned.”
Mr. Polletta says, “As part of our theme and a class project (Chinese inventions), students were challenged with inventing creative ways to navigate seven obstacles on an ‘Egg Obstacle Course’ without ever touching the egg. Once a team used one set of tools, the tool could never be used again and there was a time limit. The project was exciting to be part of as an educator because the student had to think through and solve the challenges without any teacher involvement. Activities like this help students work cooperatively with others, to assess problems, and think creatively/innovatively to “solve the problem.” It was fantastic to see the laughter, excitement, and learning the third graders experienced!
The third grade year centers on our theme, The Voyage of of Marco Polo, which integrates most of the elements of the third grade curriculum—social studies, language arts, science, math, art, and music.
Third grade is a watershed year both academically and socially. In younger grades, children have been learning and mastering skills in relative isolation. This year, they begin to apply skills to more complex learning and problem solving challenges, and to use them in combination with other skills. This is also the year that children are generally becoming more aware of their position in a social group and how they can influence others. The third grade curriculum is designed with these developmental opportunities in mind. Our thematic study provides a meaningful context within which students develop their skills.
To read a detailed description of specific skills and content taught in third grade, download a copy of the Grade 3 Curriculum Guide.