Grade Three Science

Grade 3 Science and Technology/Engineering Benchmarks

Earth and Space Science

  • Explain the process of how soil is formed.
  • Identify different types of soil, discussing color, texture and ability to support plant growth.
  • Explain why different types of soil retain different amounts of water.
  • Describe how water on earth cycles in different forms and locations.
  • Give examples of how the cycling of water has an effect on climates.
  • Give examples of recycling.
  • Identify sources of water pollution.

Life Science

  • Create a simple food chain that begins with the sun.
  • Recognize that some animal behaviors are learned and some are instinctive.
  • Give examples of behavior in response to stimuli (e.g., hibernation, migration, flight in response to perceived danger).
  • Identify animal behaviors that are instinctual (e.g., turtles burying their eggs) and others that are learned (e.g., humans building fires for warmth).
  • Compare and contrast the physical characteristics of plants and animals from different habitats. Explain adaptations to specific habitats and environments.
  • Identify the structures in plants that are responsible for food production, water transport, reproduction, growth, support, and protection.
  • Recognize that plants and animals can survive harsh environments due to seasonal behaviors (hibernation, migration, shedding leaves etc.).

Physical Science

  • Compare and contrast solids, liquids, and gases based on the properties of each.
  • Differentiate between the properties of objects (size, shape and weight) and the properties of materials (color, texture, hardness).
  • Know and describe the three states of matter as they relate to the properties of water and the water cycle.
  • Describe how water can be changed from one state to another by adding or taking away heat.
  • Define sound as a form of energy produced by vibrations.
  • Demonstrate and explain the properties of sound (e.g., pitch determined by the speed of vibrations, volume).


  • Identify a problem that reflects the need for shelter, storage, or convenience. Propose/design a solution identifying and explaining the appropriate materials and tools needed for construction, and the reason why you chose your specific materials.
  • Create/design a musical instrument. Describe its sound using appropriate vocabulary (e.g., pitch, vibration, volume). Relate its sound to any relevant design features (e.g., size, shape, weight).

Skills of Inquiry/Scientific  Process We Expect Students to Demonstrate

(from the MA Science and Technology/Engineering Framework, 2006)

  • Ask questions and make predictions that can be tested.
  • Select and use appropriate tools and technology (e.g., calculators, computers, scales, balances, meter sticks, and graduated cylinders) in order to extend observations.
  • Keep accurate records while conducting simple investigations or experiments.
  • Conduct multiple trials to test a prediction. Compare actual results with the prediction.
  • Recognize simple patterns in data and use data to create a reasonable explanation for the results of an investigation or experiment.
  • Record data and communicate findings to others using graphs, charts, maps, models, and oral/written reports.