3rd Grade Science Lesson Plans

Time4Learning is an online student-paced learning system covering preschool through middle school. It is popular as a third grade homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment, for remediation, and for summer study.

The lesson plans below provide a detailed list of the third grade science curriculum. The curriculum has been enhanced with material from Science4Us, a comprehensive, digital science program. Additional resources related to third grade science are also provided, below.

Students enrolled in third grade science will have access to second grade science lessons as part of their membership. Fourth grade science is also available upon request, so students can move ahead or review at their own pace.

If you are just learning about Time4Learning, we’d suggest first looking at our interactive lesson demos. Members often use this page as a resource for more detailed planning, to choose specific activities using the activity finder, or to compare our curriculum with state standards.

Science4Us.com – 3rd Grade Curriculum

Total Activities: 8

Science Tools Review: The tools module reviews with students the tools scientists use for both qualitative and quantitative observations. Students review how to use tools such as their 5 senses, rulers, and balance scales through hands-on activities.
Simple Machines: Students are fascinated with tools and machines, and will see examples of how simple machines can make work easier by reducing the force needed to move an object over a distance. Then, students will use interactive activities to experiment with these simple machines: lever, pulley, wheel and axle, wedge, screw, and inclined plane. Hands-on activities are also available to give students actual experience with simple machines. Force: When K-2 students study Force with Science4Us, they begin to think of force as a push or a pull. Students see examples of force on a playground through live videos and experiment with force through hands-on lessons. An interactive mini-golf game allows students to experiment with the effects of force as they decide how much force to use in hitting the ball. Finally, students explore factors and variables as they add what they’ve learned to their digital notebook. A special lesson on factors is included to help make teaching factors, controls, and variables easy.


Energy Transfer: Students learn about energy flow. They connect what they have learned about sound, heat, and light energy with new knowledge about energy transformations.
Eco Awareness: Students build directly from the knowledge they have gained about the natural world around them. Students learn that many factors affect whether or not living things can thrive in their habitats.



History of Earth: The Earth chapter begins with the History of Earth. Students learn about Earth’s long history and the place of exciting things like volcanoes, dinosaurs, and giant bugs within that history. Features: In Earth’s Features, students explore mountains, volcanoes, caves, rivers and oceans and their place on Earth. In one online activity, students guess which living things make their homes in Earth’s features.


Exploring the Universe: Exploring the Universe begins with elements of space that we can see, like the sun and stars. In interactive online activities, students learn about the sun and stars and the Milky Way. Students learn to distinguish stars in the night sky from planets, airplanes or the International Space Station

Science Lesson Plan – 3rd Grade Curriculum

Total Activities: 200
Identify various instruments used to collect and analyze data.
Describe benefits and challenges of working collaboratively. Recognize that teammates should be free to reach, explain, and justify their individual conclusions.
Identify and use the essential science skills of comparing and contrasting when making observations.
Use sketches, diagrams, and models to represent scientific ideas.
Make predictions and inferences based on observations.
Use tables and graphs to identify patterns of change.
Use reference materials to obtain information about the contributions of Alexander Graham Bell (sound), Copernicus (astronomy), Mae Jemison (exploration of space), and John Muir (ecology).
Conclude that events or concepts can be explained by collecting, organizing, and interpreting data.
Identify specific scientific discoveries that have helped or hindered scientific progress in understanding human health and the environment.
Describe how the use of scientific knowledge can help people solve problems, make decisions, and form new ideas.

Chapter Test: Scientific Investigation

Determine the physical properties of matter using customary and metric measurements that incorporate tools such as rulers, thermometers, and balances.
Identify matter as liquids, solids, and gases. Identify and describe examples of physical changes in the states of matter produced by heating and cooling.
Investigate and realize that the weight of an object is equal to the sum of the weights of its parts.
Use hand lenses to observe and document minute physical properties of objects.

Chapter Test: Nature of Matter

Identify objects that emit heat and light.
Identify different forms of energy, such as heat, light, and sound.
Demonstrate an understanding that the Sun provides energy for Earth in the form of heat and light.
Demonstrate understanding that heat can be produced by chemical reactions, electrical machines, and friction.
Identify and use a variety of tools to measure the gain or loss of energy.
Demonstrate understanding that when a warmer object comes in contact with a cooler one, the warm object loses heat and the cool one gains it (until they are both the same temperature).
Demonstrate understanding that some source of energy is needed for organisms to stay alive and grow.
Identify natural resources and their importance.
Classify resources as renewable or nonrenewable. Describe uses for renewable and nonrenewable resources.
Identify ways that using natural resources for producing energy affects the environment.
Describe how energy is necessary to create a force that can cause motion.
Describe the motion of various objects, including forward, circular, and wave motions.
Identify the characteristics of waves, including crest, trough, and length.
Identify these six types of simple machines: screw; inclined plane; wedge; pulley; lever; wheel and axle.
Demonstrate understanding that force causes change.
Measure and record changes in the position and direction of the motion of an object on which force (such as a push or pull) has been applied.

Chapter Test: Energy, Force and Motion

Demonstrate understanding that the surface of Earth can be changed by forces such as earthquakes, glaciers, and volcanoes.
Demonstrate understanding that smaller rocks come from the breaking and weathering of bedrock and larger rocks.
Demonstrate understanding that about 75 percent of Earth’s surface is covered by water, and describe the stages of the water cycle.
Identify and describe characteristics of the process of weathering and erosion, such as weathering of landforms and erosion of soil.
Identify and describe reusing, recycling, and reducing and how these processes improve and protect the condition of Earth.

Chapter Test: Effects on the Shape of Earth

Identify habitats and the relationships among organisms and their environment.
Describe the concept of the balance of nature, and know that nature is constantly changing.
Identify and describe the food chain: producers, consumers, and decomposers.
Identify the concept of an ecosystem and how ecosystems can be affected by changes in environment such as precipitation, food supply, and changes caused by humans.
Identify and describe man-made threats to the Environment (such as air and water pollution caused by emissions, smog, industrial waste, and chemical run-off).
The learner will understand that some kinds of organisms that once lived on earth have completely disappeared.

Chapter Test: Ecology

Describe the various ways that animals depend on plants for survival (including food, shelter, and oxygen).
Describe how living organisms (for example, beavers and birds) modify their physical environment to meet their needs.
Understand that when the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, and others die or move to new locations.
Identify organisms that once lived on earth, and have completely disappeared.
Identify the distinguishing characteristics of vertebrate animals (mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians).
Identify the distinguishing characteristics of invertebrate animals: flatworms, centipedes, sun jellyfish, black widow spiders, and octopuses.
Identify similarities and differences among plants.
Identify similarities and differences between plants and animals. (Similarities include: both plants and animals have structures for reproduction, respiration, and growth.)
Identify ways that organisms with similar needs compete with one another for resources (such as oxygen, water, food, and space).
Identify behavioral and structural adaptations that allow plants and animals to survive in an environment.
Demonstrate understanding that living organisms get energy from the food they eat and that living things are classified as producers, consumers, carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores.
Demonstrate understanding that the size of a population is dependent upon the available resources.

Chapter Test: Life/Environment Interact

Demonstrate understanding that light travels in straight lines at extremely high speeds (and forms shadows).
Identify and describe uses for lenses. (These include: magnification, microscopes, cameras, and telescopes).
Identify the characteristics of sound. (Some characteristics include: an object vibrating rapidly causes sound; sound travels through solids, liquids, and gases; sound travels much slower than light).
Identify and describe the qualities of pitch (high or low) and intensity (loudness and softness).
Demonstrate understanding about hearing (how the ear works), and how to protect your hearing. Demonstrate understanding about the human voice. (The larynx has vibrating vocal cords. Longer, thicker cords create lower, deeper voices).

Chapter Test: Light & Sound

Identify and describe the universe and galaxies, including the Milky Way and Andromeda.
Identify the planetary motions of rotating and revolving and their effects on Earth, including the causes of day, night, and the seasons. Also identify where the sun rises (east) and sets (west), that days and nights change in length throughout the year, and the effect of the earth’s tilted axis on the seasons.
Demonstrate an understanding of the gravitational effect of the Moon (and to a lesser degree, the Sun) on the Earth’s tides.
Identify characteristics of asteroids, meteoroids, and comets (include Haley’s comet).
Describe the cause of a solar eclipse.
Investigate and record data about space exploration that includes telescopes, rockets, satellites, the first moon landing, by Apollo 11, and the space shuttles.

Chapter Test: Light & Sound

The learner will discover the Mesozoic Eras on Earth.

Chapter Test: Eras on Earth

Scope & Sequence Copyright. © 2016 CompassLearning, Inc. All rights reserved.

Lesson Activity Finder Tool

activity_finderThe lesson activity finder is one of the many helpful tools that Time4Learning offers its members. The activity finder is a shortcut that makes it easy for parents to preview lessons or find extra practice for their child.

Every lesson in the curriculum has a unique activity number, referred to in the lesson plans as an “LA Number.” These numbers can be found on either the scope and sequence pages or the lesson plans in the parent administration area.

The activity finder can be found in the lower left hand corner of the Student LaunchPad page. To use it, members simply log in to their child’s account, type the Learning Activity (LA) number of a lesson into the Activity Finder and click “Go” to open it.

For additional information, please visit our hints and help section, which gives more details about the activity finder.

If you’re interested in the third grade science lesson plans, you might also be interested in:

Lesson plans for other grade levels of science:

Other third grade subjects and topics:

Wondering how many lessons to have your child do each day? Our lesson planning worksheet can help you estimate.

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