Third grade is the term used for the third year of primary education in the US. It is the third school year after kindergarten. Students are usually 8 – 9 years old, depending on when their birthday occurs. Similar terms, for example Grade 3, are used in other countries (see below).
- In mathematics, students are usually introduced to multiplication and division facts, place value to thousands or ten thousands, and estimation. Depending on the school, students may even begin to work on long division. Decimals (to tenths only) are sometimes introduced. Students begin to work on problem-solving skills working to explain their thinking in mathematical terms.
- In science, third graders are taught basic physical sciences and chemistry. Weather and climate are also taught. The concept of atoms and molecules are common, the states of matter, and energy, along with basic elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, gold, zinc, and iron. Nutrition is also taught in third grade along with chemistry.
- Social studies begin a study of the culture of the United States and basic idea of the early part of the United States from the time of Native Americans to the Civil War. Outward expansion and the gold rush is covered.
- In reading, third grade students begin working more on text comprehension than decoding strategies. Students also begin reading harder chapter books. They read and distinguish between a variety of genres: realistic fiction, non-fiction, poetry, fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction and folktales.
Grade 3 students learn how to work on projects on their own and with others. This may start as early as second and first grade as well. Social skills, empathy and leadership are considered by some educators to be as important to develop as the academic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic.
In Brazil, elementary school age was recently raised from 8 to 9 years, and the minimum age required for third grade was changed from 7 to 8 years old.
In Canada, the year is called Grade 3, and the pupils are known as "grade threes".
In France, children aged 8-9 join CE2 ("Cours élémentaire deuxième année"), the third compulsory year after "école maternelle" (nursery school or kindergarten). It was formerly called "neuvième" (ninth year before Terminale, the "baccalauréat" year).
In India children enter Class 3 or 4 at ages 8 to 9.
In the Republic of Ireland, the equivalent is Third Class or Rang a trí (for 9 year olds) which is the fifth year of Primary School. It is traditionally the year after Roman Catholic children take their First Holy Communion.
New Zealand equivalent
In New Zealand, this level of class is called Standard 2 or Year 4. Children generally start this level between the ages of eight and nine.
In Spain for children from 8 to 9 years old is also the third year of primary education ("Tercero de Educación Primaria"). Also, primary education is subdivided in 3 stages, two years each one. This is the first year in the second stage.
- "Ensino Básico e Secundário". cdp.portodigital.pt (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2012-10-15.