Avoca West’s third grade science curriculum is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Over the year, students develop grade-appropriate proficiency in:
• asking questions and defining problems
• developing and using models
• planning and carrying out investigations
• analyzing and interpreting data
• constructing explanations and designing solutions
• engaging in argument from evidence
• obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
These scientific processes are developed throughout our studies of the following units:
Forces and Interactions
We will consider questions such as, “How do equal and unequal forces on an object affect the object?” and “How can magnets be used to apply a force from a distance?” Activities are designed to determine the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object, as well as the cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.
Weather and Climate
Questions we will examine include “What is the typical weather in different parts of the world at different times of the year?” and “How can the impact of weather-related hazards be reduced?” Students organize and use data to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season. By applying their understanding of weather-related hazards, students make a claim about the merit of a design solution that helps to address those hazards.
Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems/Life Cycles and Traits
“How do organisms vary in their traits?” “How are plants, animals, and environments of the past similar or different from current plants, animals, and environments?” and “What happens to organisms when their environment changes?” These questions help to guide students as they develop an understanding of the similarities and differences of organisms’ life cycles. Through our explorations, they develop an understanding that organisms have different inherited traits, and that the environment can also affect the traits that an organism develops. Students develop an understanding of the types of organisms that lived long ago and also about the nature of their environments. They develop an understanding of the idea that when the environment changes some organisms survive and reproduce, some move to new locations, some move into the transformed environment, and some die.