The third grade social studies curriculum includes three broad-based thematic units related to United States history. These units cover selected topics from the early 15th century to the mid 19th century, and will focus on the following:
- People adapt and change as they move to new places
- Exploration requires courage, perseverance, and innovation
- As people move from place to place there is a cultural exchange
Unit 1: Native American Regions – Many different Native American groups lived in North America before Europeans began to settle this land. During this unit students will explore the food, shelter, clothing, and culture of five Native American regions of North America: Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, California-Intermountain and Northwest Coast. At the completion of this unit, students will have a deep understanding of how the environment affected the culture and lifestyle of Native American tribes.
Unit 2: Exploration and Settlement of North America – This unit focuses primarily on Spanish, French and English exploration and settlement. It is designed to explain the reasons why these countries gained a foothold in North America. At the completion of this unit, students will have an understanding of the reasons Europeans came to North America and why they settled. They will also have an appreciation of the hardships of early settlement and how colonization impacted the environment and the lives of Native Americans.
Unit 3: Westward Expansion in the United States – In this unit students will demonstrate knowledge of westward expansion as the United States was formed coast to coast. Students will learn about relationships between pioneers and Native Americans and how these relationships changed over time. At completion of this unit, students will be able to describe territorial expansion and how it affected the political map of the United States, with an emphasis on the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Oregon Trail.