3rd Grade Math: What Happens

3rd Grade Math: What Happens

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Updated on May 21, 2014

Third grade is a flagship year for math, as it's the bridge from simple computation to more complex skills. Your child will learn the multiplication and division facts. Sure, it may seem simple, but all that memorization plays a crucial role later on-- the concepts taught in fourth grade require a firm foundation in multiplication and division. And the skills will be used moving forward from there-- a child can't do algebra if he doesn't have a firm grasp on multiplication, for example. The math your child will learn this year can be divided into four broad categories: number operations, number sense and patterns, geometry and measurement, and probability and statistics.

Curriculum varies from state to state, but you'd be surprised to see how much is constant. Here's what students working at the standard level at the beginning of third grade should be able to do, math-wise:

  • Add and subtract two- and three-digit numbers, both with and without regrouping
  • Read and write whole numbers
  • Tell in which place each of the digits is located
  • Count combinations of coins
  • Tell time on the clock and calendar
  • Measure in many ways
  • Read a thermometer
  • Recognize and create basic shapes

Students working at the standard level at the end of third grade should be able to:

  • Comfortably add and subtract large numbers
  • Know the basic multiplication and division facts
  • Understand how place value works in our number system
  • Round numbers in order to make a reasonable estimate
  • Use tools such as rulers and thermometers to measure the area and perimeter of squares and rectangles
  • Differentiate solids from shapes
  • Find fractions of a whole and factions of a set
  • Understand basic probability and statistics
  • Understand how bar graphs, line graphs, and tables communicate information in math

Adapted with permission from "Third Grade Success: Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Child Learn" by Amy James (Jossey-Bass 2005)

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