Primary School

Children are naturally eager to question, develop their own theories — even change a point of view.

Third Grade

Social Studies

Social Studies in the primary school has a universal focus on community awareness and global citizenship. Daily interactions provide much of the foundation for social studies as students learn how to work together, navigate conflict, and be a productive member of the classroom and community. The beauty of diversity is explored, and there is a central focus on cultural competency, or the understanding of difference. Studies of people, the community, and how these are related help to connect the social studies curriculum between the grade levels. 

Students in third grade begin to understand their place in their region, state, nation, and the world. Students learn more about their connections to the past and the ways in which the past affects the lives of today. An in-depth “self study” begins the year, and the children relate their history to that of the past and present. Third grade studies many specific cultures with greater focus including the Miwoks, the Mayans, and a large, integrated unit on Africa. Students explore and recognize the diversity of countries, people, and geography on the continent of Africa through music, dance, literature, writing, math, science, and drama. Time is also spent focusing on the contributions of African Americans, and students present research on various African American leaders.

Goals and Objectives

Multiple Intelligences:

  • Identify the eight multiple intelligences of Howard Gardner
  • Discuss the advantages of individuals having unique learning styles

Self Study:

  • Identify Paul Eckman’s six human emotions and apply them to themselves
  • Identify common adages from our culture
  • Discuss school values, family values, and their own individual values

Native American Studies-Miwok/Mayan Culture:

  • Describe the Miwok through their food, customs, clothing, religious beliefs, shelter, art, celebrations, and oral traditions
  • Give examples of how the physical geography including climate influenced the way the Miwok adapted to their local environment
  • Compare and contrast the values of the Miwok and Mayans to his/her own values
  • compare and contrast Mayan culture long ago and in the present
  • Describe the Maya through their food, customs, clothing, religious beliefs, shelter, art, and oral traditions
  • Locate the countries in the Yucatan Peninsula and Central America on a map and discuss how the geography of the region influenced the lives of the ancient Maya
  • Compare and contrast the Miwok culture to the Mayan culture
  • Compare and contrast the values of the Maya to their own values

African Studies:

  • Describe the diversity of countries, peoples and geography that exist on the continent of Africa
  • Describe the differences between topographical, political, and physical maps
  • Conduct an in-depth research report on an African animal
  • Engage in reading and writing activities centered around Africa
  • Participate in an African Extravaganza through performing an African folktale or traditional African dance, playing African music and presenting African animal research using Keynote
  • Compare and contrast the values of various African cultures to their own values

The primary school Spanish program is led by two native Spanish speaking teachers. Students are expected to develop four interrelated skills: auditory discrimination (listening), comprehension (understanding), production (speaking), and communication (the ability to use language meaningfully in new situations). We introduce the Santillana curriculum beginning in kindergarten and continuing through fourth grade. Our goal is for students to develop communicative competence in the Spanish language through cultural awareness activities that focus on the gradual development of listening, speaking reading, and writing skills. We use arts and crafts, role playing, music, visuals, hands-on materials and technology as teaching tools. The student’s progress is evaluated through periodic formal and informal assessments targeting the four main skills. Spanish classes meet three times a week in junior kindergarten through third grades, and four times a week in fourth and fifth grades.

In third grade, students acquire linguistic and cultural components in an environment where taking risks and making mistakes are recognized as part of the process of learning a second language. The curriculum is geared toward situational reinforcement by focusing on the vocabulary and structures generated by situations relevant to young children, and by aspects of culture such as music and traditional games. Physical response activities are used from the beginning, as they serve to check children’s comprehension. Reading and writing become a more predominant part of the curriculum, although the main focus continues to be verbal communication.

Goals and Objectives

Listening Comprehension:

  • Identify story pattern
  • Comprehend questions based on listening activities
  • Recognize all the colors, numbers up to 100, days of the week, months of the year, animals (adding the wild animals to the known ones), immediate, and extended family members
  • React and respond to simple commands
  • Respond physically to storytelling


  • Respond to oral questions about self and classmates
  • Ask and respond to questions
  • Produce Spanish vowel sounds for reading readiness
  • Produce appropriate sounds and intonation patterns for statements and questions


  • Recognize sounds, letters and accents specific to Spanish
  • Practice and use the new words of each lesson
  • Sound out new vocabulary with the appropriate stress and intonation
  • Match the written word with the picture
  • Read sentences and short paragraph


  • Transfer the words heard on video to paper
  • Write sentences
  • Develop an outside the classroom experience through “Pen-pal Program” given the students opportunities of global education
Language Arts

The goal of the MP&MS language arts program is for students to develop a lifelong love of reading, writing, and learning. Small class sizes and the expertise of our Learning Resource reading specialists allow for individualization and small group work in all primary classrooms.

The primary school utilizes the Writer’s Workshop framework for writing instruction and practice in the classroom. Similar in format, the Reader’s Workshop model teaches students strategies for reading and comprehension. Students in the early primary grades focus on spelling, phonics, and vocabulary through the Words their Way developmental program.

Third grade reading workshop provides students with more independence in literacy experiences. Literature circles and independent reading become more of a focus as well as content area reading in social studies and science. Students learn more about how to gather information from texts and present information in many different ways. Writing workshop builds on the second grade curriculum and the students write their own fairy tale after a study of the genre. Students also write research reports as part of their study of Africa in social studies. Spelling becomes individualized and students study spelling words that are tailored to individual needs.

Goals and Objectives


  • Reads and understands grade-level appropriate literature
  • Uses context clues to find word meaning
  • Makes appropriate book choices
  • Discusses thoughts and questions derived from literature
  • Relates reading to own knowledge and experiences
  • Recognizes different genres such as biographies, myths, fantasy, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry 


  • Generates topics and ideas
  • Expresses thoughts creatively using description and details in writing
  • Uses appropriate grammar and mechanics
  • Spells grade level words accurately
  • Capitalizes proper nouns and beginning of sentences


  • Forms cursive letters correctly
  • Writes cursive words correctly

Listening and Speaking:

  • Listens to and follows directions
  • Delivers brief oral presentations using proper phrasing, pitch, and modulation
  • Comments appropriately and correlates to subject

The mathematics program emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Students are actively engaged in skill- and concept-building exercises and activities in individual, small group, and whole-class lessons at every grade level. Our program focuses on real-world experiences, integrating our outdoor education center, projects lab, and other classes in lessons and projects to support the development of higher-level thinking skills. Our problem-solving and critical thinking based curriculum teaches step-by-step approaches to solving problems while encouraging students to develop and utilize their own problem-solving strategies.

All grade levels junior kindergarten through fourth grade address developmentally appropriate benchmarks following the following strands: number sense, geometry, measurement, operations and computation, patterns and functions, and data and probability. 

The junior kindergarten through fourth grade classes use the Bridges in Mathematics from The Math Learning Center. The program focuses on math literacy, emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking, and utilizes hands-on, real-world components. “Number Corner,” a component of Bridges in Mathematics, is an integrated daily calendar activity which focuses on patterning, prediction, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Math support specialists from the Learning Resource Center provide student support, and also work with small groups and individuals to be sure all students are receiving individualized instruction (enrichment or remediation) as needed.

In addition to classroom mathematics instruction, students work in the projects lab and use measurement, computation and problem-solving skills to build woodworking projects. This allows our students to apply their mathematical knowledge to something relevant and meaningful and experience math in the real world. Third and fourth graders use their skills to build projects of choice, and depending on the level of difficulty, might create one to three projects during the course of a school year. Through the primary school years, students have the opportunity to create something from scratch, using math, problem-solving, and collaboration with their peers.

Third grade math enhances the development of basic skills, continuing to use a hands-on approach.  Students actively experience concepts through the Bridges in Mathematics program, including  “work places,” which are highly conceptual math games. Students are encouraged to “talk” math in order to learn that there are different ways to solve a problem. Third graders recognize that math is part of our everyday world and not an isolated subject.

Goals and Objectives

Number Sense:

  • Round 2, 3, and 4 digit numbers to the nearest 100
  • Read, write, and compare numbers beyond 5-digits (ten thousands) 
extend, describe, and create grade level appropriate numeric patterns
  • Read, write, and interpret fractions to 1/16

Data Analysis:

  • Identify, interpret, and create bar, line, and picture graphs
  • Make predictions of trends using information from graphs


  • Determine appropriate units of measure in customary and metric systems
  • Find equivalencies in measurement
  • Measure perimeter and area of 2-dimensional squares and rectangles using standard and nonstandard units
  • Identify time to the minute on an analog clock
  • Add and subtract using time to the minute
  • Demonstrate ability to make change up to $100.00 

Operations and Computation:

  • Calculate multi-digit addition and subtraction with regrouping
  • Identify the concept of multiplication as repeated addition
  • Build arrays of multiplication to 12x12
  • Demonstrate automaticity of multiplication facts to 12 
  • Recognize multiplication and division as inverse operations
  • Identify the concept of division as repeated subtraction
  • Demonstrate ability to divide facts with divisors 0, 2, 5, and 10
  • Identify the symbols of division and multiplication


  • Identify intersecting, parallel, and perpendicular lines
  • Identify right, acute, and obtuse angles and their relationship to 90 degrees 


  • Communicate ideas and strategies for grade level appropriate problem-solving

Science at Marin Primary & Middle School is taught through the innate curiosity of children using a hands-on, experiential method. Questioning, exploring, experimenting, and discovery are essential components of the science curriculum at all grade levels. Students begin learning about scientific investigation as early as junior kindergarten, conducting experiments and observing nature. 

Third grade science is based on investigation through various resources, including computers, iPads, books, and other real life materials. Much of the third grade science curriculum is integrated with garden life, social studies and our school’s Projects Lab. The Outdoor Education Center, (OEC, our school garden) allows students to take advantage of the wonderful ecosystems flourishing there, observe weather, and seasonal changes, and explore ways to help the environment.  In social studies, the interaction of the Miwok tribe with Marin County’s environment shows the effect and interdependence of man and nature. Third grade students study in detail a specific African animal, and learn of its habitat, shelter, food needs, and conservation status. The Maya civilization studies allow students to connect the astrological patterns Mayans charted, to the constellations we see today. Third graders study the solar system in depth, focusing on moon phases and the planets. In our school’s Project Lab, students use the knowledge gained about energy and light waves to build a solar oven. Many third grade field trips relate to the science curriculum.

Goals and Objectives

Earth, Seasons, and the Moon:

  • Explain the axis of the earth, its tilt, and its affect on Earth’s seasons
  • Observe and predict seasonal patterns/sunrise and sunset
  • Observe seasonal patterns of sun, moon, and stars
  • Observe recorded patterns in weather for prediction
  • Define climate
  • Name natural weather hazards and ways to reduce their impact on humans
  • Illustrate the ratio between land and water on Earth
  • List four sources of fresh water & two sources of salt water
  • Identify the four phases of the moon & duration of the lunar cycle
  • Explain a solar and lunar eclipse
  • Define rotation, revolution, solar system, comet, asteroid and star
  • Tell the amount of time it takes for the Earth to rotate once & to revolve around the sun
  • Explain how the rotation of the Earth creates night and day
  • List the planets in order from the sun & describe their elements
  • Explain the meaning of a constellation, and illustrate one
  • Describe two types of telescopes:  refracting and reflecting
  • Describe the advantage of a space telescope to a telescope on Earth

Physical Science:

  • List physical properties of matter
  • Record objects’ physical properties
  • Define matter
  • Name four senses used for observing matter
  • Illustrate the physical properties of solids, liquids and gases
  • Name the basic building blocks of matter: atoms
  • Define linked atoms as molecules
  • Demonstrate physically and draw the density and movement of molecules in solids, liquids, and gases
  • Identify the process of turning the state of solid into liquid as melting
  • Identify the process of turning the state of liquid into gas as evaporation
  • Measure and compare objects based on mass and volume
  • Distinguish between mixtures and solutions
  • Demonstrate physical changes with an object
  • Distinguish between physical changes and chemical changes

Life Science


  • Name the component of chlorophyll in plants that helps to take in light
  • Draw and label the basic parts of a plant
  • Identify the three parts of a seed
  • Define the word germinate


  • Name the three basic needs of animals
  • Identify traits that animals might inherit from their parents
  • Define endangered, threatened and extinctidentify one animal from each category of threatened, endangered or extinctionclassify animals based on similar traits
  • Ecosystems (water, desert, and forest)
  • Draw and label an environment, including a habitat for an animal
  • Distinguish between a population and a community
  • Distinguish between an ecosystem and a habitat
  • Identify two ways that ecosystems can change
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