3rd Grade Social Studies 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 social studies curriculum, with brief activity descriptions and learning activity (LA) numbers. Additional resources related to third grade social studies are also provided, below.
Students enrolled in third grade social studies will have access to second grade social studies lessons as part of their membership. Fourth grade social studies is also available upon request, so they 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.
Social Studies Lesson Plan – 3rd Grade Curriculum
Total Activities: 170
Describe the period known as the Viking Age, including dates, deeds, and exploration of the Atlantic Ocean. Explain the Scandanavian expression, ”to-go a-Viking,” and name some notorious activities and personality characteristics attributed to the Vikings. Describe the Viking warrior, including his armor, weapons, battle strategies, and tactics.
Explain the reasons the Vikings traveled by sea to other lands and the navigation methods used by the Vikings to determine directions and locations. Identify the kind of ship used for battle, and explain what made the ship sail at a fast speed.
Describe the role and importance of shipbuilding in the lives of the Vikings. Compare and describe the occupations of the majority of Vikings with the Viking warriors.
Describe the culture of the Vikings, including family life, food, clothing, literature, recreation, artistry, and burial customs. Explain the role of religion and the worship of the gods, Thor, and Frey.
Describe the region of the Alaskan Inuits, including land, climate, population, and environment. Estimate the number of years of habitation of the northwest coast or arctic homeland.
Explain why the region of Alaska is often called the “Land of the Midnight Sun.”
Explain why the Inuits were once called Eskimos, and know the various meanings of the word Eskimo. Identify the language of the Inuits and how words were constructed.
Describe the traditional way of life for the Inuits. Include food, clothing, hunting and fishing, travel, recreation, and art.
Describe the family life and group life of the Inuits. Identify rules of conduct, how disputes were settled, how children were treated, and how future marriage partners were chosen.
Investigate and describe the various shelters in which the Inuits lived, including tents, sod houses, and snow houses. Identify how these shelters were constructed.
Compare and contrast the traditional ways of the Inuits with their present ways of life. Include food, clothing, housing, employment, education, and values.
Chapter Test: Alaskan Inuits
Use geographic tools, such as maps, globes, and atlases, to gather data about the Earth’s surface. Locate and name your community, state, country, and continent. Identify the major oceans: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic. Identify the seven continents: Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, and Australia. Identify the hemispheres: Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern.
Demonstrate the ability to use the following geographic terms: harbor, island, bay, peninsula, gulf, ocean, coast, region, and mountain. Locate and label examples of each on a map, and write definitions of the terms.
Locate Alaska on a map and globe. Describe Alaska’s position relative to the rest of the continental United States. Locate and label the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Strait.
Describe how climate, locations, and physical surroundings affect the ways people live in Alaska.
Use a map to locate the Rocky Mountains from New Mexico through Canada to northern Alaska.
Use a world map to locate the region of Europe that was once known as Scandanavia. Identify and label the three countries as they are now known (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden).
Chapter Test: The World in Spatial Terms
Identify several reasons that Europeans were willing to endure many hardships to explore and settle in new lands. Include the search for wealth, the desire to explore, the search for trade routes, new navigation methods, and religious missionary work.
Describe Christopher Columbus’s first journey to America. Identify the names of his three ships, the land he had mistakenly named India, the name he gave native people, and the day of his landing.
Explain whether or not Columbus learned after three additional voyages that he never reached India, but the New World. Identify the Italian trader and explorer who made the first voyage in 1499 to the New World for whom America was named. Identify the Spanish explorer who confirmed Vespucci’s conclusion regarding this new land.
Investigate how the voyages of Columbus reshaped America. Describe how these voyages exchanged plants, animals, and diseases between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Identify some of these plants, animals, and diseases.
Describe Ponce de Leon’s role in the settlement of Florida (including dates). Explain the legend of the ”Fountain of Youth” (where Ponce de Leon learned of the legend, and whether Ponce de Leon found the Fountain of Youth). Identify who killed Ponce de Leon (and how).
Describe the 1539 Spanish expedition led by Hernando de Soto to Florida. Include the battle with the Cherokee Indians and how de Soto was associated with the Mississippi River. Identify how de Soto died and where he was buried.
Describe the founding of St. Augustine in 1565 and its heritage as the oldest city in the United States.
Describe the searches made by John Cabot and Henry Hudson for the Northwest Passage. Identify and locate the regions they found and the dates of their discoveries. Describe the hardships they encountered and the contributions they made to their countries.
Investigate the role Samuel de Champlain played in the region of New France. Identify, locate, and label the region Champlain discovered (Quebec). Identify, locate, and label the lakes Champlain explored and mapped (the western end of the St. Lawrence River, in northern New York).
Identify the early Spanish explorers in the lands that are now the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Describe the contributions each of the explorers made.
Identify various U.S. missionary settlements (especially those in Texas and California). Explain why the Spanish government sent missionaries to the southwestern part of what is now the United States. Explain who Padre Junipero Serra was. Describe life in a mission. Include what services missions provided for Native Americans, and what leaders of missions expected in return from Native Americans.
Explain why Francisco Vásquez de Coronado organized an expedition to the Southwest in 1540. Describe the legend of the ”Seven Cities of Cibola.” Locate and label the areas: Grand Canyon and the Rio Grande.
Identify the region in which the Pueblo lived, the associated tribes (Hopi and Zuni), and the crops grown by them. Explain the conflicts between the Pueblo and the Spaniards.
Chapter Test: Exploration of the Americas
Define colony. Use a map to locate and label the thirteen English colonies. Differentiate each colony by region: New England Colonies, Middle Colonies, and Southern Colonies.
Describe the two major changes, religion and economics, in England that caused the great interest in establishing the English colonies.
Explain how the first colony originated in Jamestown, Virginia (in 1607), and the role John Smith played. Describe the period known as the ”Starving Time.” Explain how land ownership and growth of tobacco crops were major reasons for the survival of the Jamestown economy.
Retell the legend and history of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. Explain their roles in the clashes between Native Americans.
Describe the beliefs held by Puritans. Explain why some Puritans were called Pilgrims, and why, in 1620, the Puritans left Europe for Massachusetts.
Explain several reasons why European colonists moved to America. Include the search for good farmland, trade opportunities, and religious freedom.
Explain the 1637 conflicts between Puritans and Native Americans. Describe the reasons for King Philip’s War (in 1675).
Identify the founders and dates of the following colonies: the Carolinas, Georgia, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York. Explain why the purchase of Manhattan Island was the most profitable land purchase in history.
Explain slave trade in the Southern Colonies and its economic impact. Explain the differences between indentured servants, and slaves as property. Describe the voyage known as the Middle Passage and its conditions for captured Africans.
Describe the establishment of the Plymouth Colony by the Pilgrims Include discussion of: the importance of religious freedom, the voyage of the Mayflower, the 1620 Mayflower Compact, and the first Thanksgiving. Explain why the Plymouth Colony was taken over by the Massachusetts colony.
In general terms, describe colonial life in America. Include areas such as colonial economy, society, government, homes, churches, schools, transportation, communication, art, and science.
Chapter Test: North American Colonization
Identify your community as rural, urban, or suburban. Identify the general features of each of these communities as related to size, density, and grasslands.
Describe the characteristics of rural, urban, and suburban communities in terms of housing, community size, populations, jobs, culture, recreation, and transportation.
Compare and contrast these different types of communities in the United States. Locate each type of community on a U.S. map.
Describe the relationship between people and their environments in rural, urban, and suburban communities.
Describe the various landforms and bodies of water that may be found in rural, urban, and suburban communities.
Identify the natural resources in your community. Describe ways in which people can protect these resources.
Describe how rural, urban, and suburban communities have developed and changed over time.
Chapter Test: Rural, Suburban, Urban Region
Explain why people earn, save, and spend money.
Describe how people in the United States are dependent upon other countries for goods (products). Explain the interdependence of people and products in your community.
Describe the differences between employer and employees and the responsibilities and duties of each.
Explain the different ways people can use banks: to save and to borrow money. Explain why banks charge interest to the borrower.
Name the natural resources and the goods produced in your local region.
Distinguish between imports and exports.
Identify the various ways that goods are produced: agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and trade.
Explain why all communities and states have governments and laws. Identify some laws in your community.
Name the heads of your local and state government. Describe how the responsibilities of a mayor and governor differ. Identify some of the responsibilities of local government. Describe what a city council does and how people can become members of a city council.
Explain what a town meeting is, what issues may be discussed, and how decisions are made. Identify some issues in your community that need to be addressed.
Explain why it is important for people to take part in local government by voting. Describe ways in which you have participated in voting at home, in school, or within groups and organizations.
Identify leaders who have made a difference in the development of your community. Describe the contributions they have made.
Chapter Test: Citizenship & Government
The learner will understand the concept of time and chronology by reading and constructing timelines.
Describe historical times in terms of years, decades and centuries.
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Lesson Activity Finder Tool
The 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 Dashboard.
The activity finder can be found in the lower left hand corner of the Student Dashboard. 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.
Additional Resources Related to Third Grade Social Studies
If you’re interested in the third grade social studies lesson plans, you might also be interested in:
Lesson plans for other grade levels of social studies:
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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