3rd Grade

History/Social Studies

Social studies in third grade is all about situating the self in relationship to history and the world. The units of study for the year are intentionally sequenced to capitalize on student development and interest. These units include, in order:

Identity: Who am I?: Using their social studies notebooks, students begin to think about who they are. As a group, we define identity as “the way we describe ourselves to ourselves and to others”. Listing out all the attributes that make them who they are, students identify and sort their traits as visible and invisible. Teachers intentionally and thoughtfully introduce key identity markers such as race, class, sex, gender, sexual orientation, ability, nationality, and age. The unit culminates in the development of several “lenses” through which third graders will explore topics in the remaining units; they will learn about stereotypes, omissions, generalizations, biases, and perspectives.

The Story of the “First Thanksgiving”: Students compare and contrast the story of the First Thanksgiving as portrayed in the national imagination versus the story of the First Thanksgiving (i.e. The Harvest Festival of 1621) as dictated by historical facts through primary and secondary sources. The unit ends with an exploration of current portrayals of Native Americans in contemporary media in response to which students will develop “hashtag” campaigns as they learn about the impact of social media on activism.

Country Case Study: In their second unit, students learned about the region in which they live but long ago. In this unit, students think about places far away but in current times. Students choose a country from a list of countries far away and research the country’s geography and culture. After investigating these countries, including problems the country faces, students create a Google slide presentation that they present to their peers.

National Parks Study: Our final unit finds students studying National Parks from a historical and contemporary perspective. As a class, students situate the National Parks within the three branches of government and consider the importance of National Parks in terms of identity and preservation. Through a variety of exciting learning experiences, students walk away with a deep appreciation of the roles National Parks play in the United States.

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