Science is one of the core subjects of the educational system. Science becomes more complex in third grade. If you teach third grade science, you know that hands-on, exciting activities will always beat a boring lecture.

Life Science

Third grade life science skills include knowledge of plants and animals at a cellular level. Activities that observe plants and animals up close are one way to introduce students to these organisms. Use scientific tools, such as magnifying glasses, when making observations. Third grade students can dive in deeper by observing cells under a microscope. Place a slide of green algae under the microscope so students can observe plant cells up close. Assigning students to create their own 3D cell is an educational school project. Coloring and labeling cells is another simple assignment that can be completed as seat work.

Matter and Energy

Explaining the topics of matter and energy to third grade students can prove to be somewhat challenging. Matter and energy needs to be demonstrated to students in order to get them to understand it properly. Activities that include recognizing the physical properties of matter, methods of separating mixtures and exploring heat conduction are some ways to show students matter and energy. Teaching students how to separate mixtures can be as easy as pouring colored, sandy water through a coffee filter. Use colored sand and colored water to make it more appealing to students. This demonstrates the process of filtration, or separating a solid from a liquid. Exploring heat conduction can be interesting as well. Give each student two cups of water. One cup contains cold water, while the other contains very warm water. Place a metal spoon and a wooden stick in each cup. Have students touch each object in each cup every 45 seconds.

The Universe

Activities that teach students about the universe should be simple and interesting. A creative introduction is to have students bring in a model of the solar system, complete with the sun and planets. They should create this model at home with help from their parents. This is often a favorite activity for third graders. They can also draw and color planets, then assemble them on a poster board. Remember to have them label the planets. NASA also has interesting kids' sites and printouts that are helpful when teaching students about the universe (see Resources).


Students begin learning about the continents and bodies of water by the time they reach the third grade. Give students world map hand-outs and let them color and label the continents and bodies of water. Focus on no more than two countries at a time so you don't overwhelm your students.


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