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Third Grade Science and Health

What your child should learn in Science

The natural world is the basis of most science study in the third grade, just as it was in the earlier years. The teacher's primary goal is to foster the children's sense of curiosity about the world and their skills of inquiry. Teachers will make frequent use of questions that stimulate the critical thinking of the children: Why is that? How does that happen? What if...?

Science study should be very active in the early primary years. Whenever possible, children interact directly with science materials and observe phenomena firsthand.

  • They learn about pollution and the problems it causes;
  • They become familiar with the relationships between oceans, seas, rivers, and ponds;
  • They study animals and plants in increasing detail;
  • They learn about the different planets and the solar system;
  • They use simple machines;
  • They experiment with electricity, principally through batteries and bulbs;
  • They begin to understand the history of life on earth;
  • They add scientific terms -- matter, environment, machine, heat, electricity, extinction, and experiment -- to their vocabularies.
  • They will observe the moon and stars, learn more about the sun, use telescopes, build and stock terraria, and study rocks and other geological formations.

    What your child should learn in Health

    In the primary grades, health is closely allied to science and social studies. Learning to care for and respect one's body is an important part of the curriculum. Children continue to learn about the relationship between nutrition and health, and they gain greater understanding of calories, grams, cholesterol, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Third graders also study the effects of food additives, the role of advertising in food choices, and the relationship between fast foods and nutrition.

    They learn more about wellness, disease and its prevention, the importance of cleanliness, the dangers of smoking and of drugs, and the role of exercise in physical development. They study the parts of the body -- bones, muscles, organs, and the circulatory system. (Children are especially fascinated by the brain.)

    As in the earlier grades, safety is stressed. Children learn basic safety rules for the playground, the street, the bicycle, and the home: they also learn simple first aid. Topics such as making and keeping friends, getting home safely, and what it means to be a "couch potato" are the subjects of class discussion. Third grade children also continue learning about human sexuality; as in earlier grades, this basically means that their questions are answered frankly but simply.

    Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your 3rd Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers.
    Copyright 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.

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