A large part of the social studies curriculum throughout the primary grades consists of learning about families, neighborhood cities and towns, and countries.
Third graders focus their attention on their own communities and states -- on landmarks, architecture, history, changes over time, commerce, distinctive features, and similarities to other communities. They explore the differences between urban, suburban, and rural communities. They also learn about and celebrate various local, state, and national holidays and festivals. They read biographies of important Americans. The concept of citizenship is emphasized, usually in ways that promote responsibility, such as helping others and learning about rules and how rules are used to resolve conflicts.
Children will be asked to talk with their parents about voting and governmental functions. And they will be encouraged to do some community service. They will also interview their parents and grandparents about their cultural heritage. Teachers will use every opportunity to help children understand other cultures in different parts of the world.
A child's view of the world expands in the third grade. Maps will become more familiar, and children will be able to use map coordinates, read map symbols, and locate oceans, rivers, cities, and towns. One key aspect of third grade social studies is that children will show increased understanding of historical time. They will also learn to be historians, doing their own research (interviewing family members and others and reading books, newspapers, and magazines) and writing their own personal, family, or community histories in the form of time lines or stories.
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.