Third Grade

St. Paul third graders are officially first year Upper Schoolers, but being the youngest in the Upper School does not mean they are only followers! Opportunities for leadership abound: they lead in many informal ways as the oldest in the McGuffey building and they make the exciting transition to being a big buddy as each third grader takes a Junior Kindergarten buddy under his or her wing.

Academically, third graders are challenged to become more independent thinkers and learners as they embrace writing workshops, experience hands-on math and science curriculums, and study Tennessee History. Critical thinking skills are developed throughout the curriculum and are further enhanced through creative class projects and off-campus field trips to the State Capitol, the Hermitage, and Mammoth Cave National Park.

Learning fundamental strategies in language arts, math, science and social studies in the third grade helps to equip students for success in the upper grades. An overview of the third grade core curriculum follows.


Third grade students focus on the Life of Christ, working through his life and ministry chronologically. Each week students study a story from the gospels and at the end of the week they write the story in their own words. They also memorize a related verse each week.

Language Arts

In third grade, students continue their development in spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Students are taught how to choose and enjoy books at their reading level. Small groups are utilized for targeted reading instruction and teaching reading comprehension strategies. Through novel studies, students are introduced to different types of literature as they read excellent books together as a class. Students are exposed to a variety of writing styles by reading and writing narrative, opinion, and fiction.


Third grade students are taught mathematics utilizing a research-based curriculum called Everyday Math. The Everyday Math program is a spiral curriculum, which visits content strands more than once during a school year. The content strands remain consistent from grade to grade, while increasing in the degree of difficulty in an age-appropriate manner. Each grade level has grade-specific goals tied to the content strands.


The science curriculum in third grade covers the following topics:

Simple Machines and Inventions - Students explain how simple machines help people, define basic terms and identify important inventors. They research one inventor and prepare a presentation for parents and for students from every grade level.

The Human Body - Students discover what nutrients the body needs, identify major bones, learn about the systems of the body, and explain how muscles work.

Caves - Students learn about cave formation, cave life forms, and the differences between stalactites and stalagmites.

Social Studies

The third grade social studies program emphasizes listening, reading, and writing by covering a variety of content. Students begin by studying Tennessee History. The students focus on the different regions of Tennessee, the founding of our state, our state symbols, and famous Tennesseans, including the three presidents that have come from our state. Students then broaden their view of the country and learn about the different regions of the United States. Finally, students consider the nation as a whole and examine how it is related geographically to the other parts of the world.

What is your favorite thing about third grade?
 "My favorite thing is writing Bible verses because I like talking to God and learning about God too."
 "I learned that games can make you smarter." 
 "Reading Narnia!" 




Be a big buddy to a Junior Kindergarten student

Use 1:1 iPads in the classroom

Act in the third grade play

Learn skills like multiplication and cursive

Tour Downtown Nashville and visit The Hermitage while studying Tennessee History

Dress up as a national landmark or monument for Coast-to-Coast Day

Research an inventor and share your research through the Inventor's Museum

Begin The Chronicles of Narnia by reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Study and build simple machines

Visit Mammoth Cave in Kentucky

... and many more adventures!