South Carolina Learning Standards for Science — Grade 3

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The student will demonstrate an understanding of the composition of Earth and the processes that shape features of Earths surface.


Conceptual Understanding: Earth is made of materials (including rocks, minerals, soil, and water) that have distinct properties. These materials provide resources for human activities.


Analyze and interpret data from observations and measurements to describe and compare different Earth materials (including rocks, minerals, and soil) and classify each type of material based on its distinct physical properties.


Develop and use models to describe and classify the pattern distribution of land and water features on Earth.


Obtain and communicate information to exemplify how humans obtain, use, and protect renewable and nonrenewable Earth resources.


Conceptual Understanding: Earths surface has changed over time by natural processes and by human activities. Humans can take steps to reduce the impact of these changes.


Develop and use models to describe the characteristics of Earths continental landforms and classify landforms as volcanoes, mountains, valleys, canyons, plains, and islands.


Plan and conduct scientific investigations to determine how natural processes (including weathering, erosion, and gravity) shape Earths surface.


Obtain and communicate information to explain how natural events (such as fires, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or floods) and human activities (such as farming, mining, or building) impact the environment.


Define problems caused by a natural event or human activity and design devices or solutions to reduce the impact on the environment.


The student will demonstrate an understanding of how the characteristics and changes in environments and habitats affect the diversity of organisms.


Conceptual Understanding: The characteristics of an environment (including physical characteristics, temperature, availability of resources, or the kinds and numbers of organisms present) influence the diversity of organisms that live there. Organisms can survive only in environments where their basic needs are met. All organisms need energy to live and grow. This energy is obtained from food. The role an organism serves in an ecosystem can be described by the way in which it gets its energy.


Analyze and interpret data about the characteristics of environments (including salt and fresh water, deserts, grasslands, forests, rain forests, and polar lands) to describe how the environment supports a variety of organisms.


Develop and use a food chain model to classify organisms as producers, consumers, and decomposers and to describe how organisms obtain energy.


Conceptual Understanding: When the environment or habitat changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, some move to new locations, and some die. Fossils can be used to infer characteristics of environments from long ago.


Obtain and communicate information to explain how changes in habitats (such as those that occur naturally or those caused by organisms) can be beneficial or harmful to the organisms that live there.


Develop and use models to explain how changes in a habitat cause plants and animals to respond in different ways (such as hibernating, migrating, responding to light, death, or extinction).


Construct scientific arguments using evidence from fossils of plants and animals that lived long ago to infer the characteristics of early environments.


The student will demonstrate an understanding of the properties used to classify matter and how heat energy can change matter from one state to another.


Conceptual Understanding: Matter exists in several different states and is classified based on observable and measurable properties. Matter can be changed from one state to another when heat (thermal energy) is added or removed.


Analyze and interpret data from observations and measurements to describe and compare the physical properties of matter (including length, mass, temperature, and volume of liquids).


Construct explanations using observations and measurements to describe how matter can be classified as a solid, liquid or gas.


Plan and conduct scientific investigations to determine how changes in heat (increase or decrease) change matter from one state to another (including melting, freezing, condensing, boiling, and evaporating).


Obtain and communicate information to compare how different processes (including burning, friction, and electricity) serve as sources of heat energy.


Define problems related to heat transfer and design devices or solutions that facilitate (conductor) or inhibit (insulator) the transfer of heat.


The student will demonstrate an understanding of how electricity transfers energy and how magnetism can result from electricity


Conceptual Understanding: Energy can be transferred from place to place by electric currents. Electric currents flowing through a simple circuit can be used to produce motion, sound, heat, or light. Some materials allow electricity to flow through a circuit and some do not.


Obtain and communicate information to develop models showing how electrical energy can be transformed into other forms of energy (including motion, sound, heat, or light).


Develop and use models to describe the path of an electric current in a complete simple circuit as it accomplishes a task (such as lighting a bulb or making a sound).


Analyze and interpret data from observations and investigations to classify different materials as either an insulator or conductor of electricity.


Conceptual Understanding: Magnets can exert forces on other magnets or magnetizable materials causing energy transfer between them, even when the objects are not touching. An electromagnet is produced when an electric current passes through a coil of wire wrapped around an iron core. Magnets and electromagnets have unique properties.


Develop and use models to describe and compare the properties of magnets and electromagnets (including polarity, attraction, repulsion, and strength).


Plan and conduct scientific investigations to determine the factors that affect the strength of an electromagnet.


The student will use the science and engineering practices, including the processes and skills of scientific inquiry, to develop understandings of science content.


Conceptual Understanding: The practices of science and engineering support the development of science concepts, develop the habits of mind that are necessary for scientific thinking, and allow students to engage in science in ways that are similar to those used by scientists and engineers.


Ask questions that can be (1) answered using scientific investigations or (2) used to refine models, explanations, or designs.


Develop, use, and refine models to (1) understand or represent phenomena, processes, and relationships, (2) test devices or solutions, or (3) communicate ideas to others.


Plan and conduct scientific investigations to answer questions, test predictions and develop explanations: (1) formulate scientific questions and predict possible outcomes, (2) identify materials, procedures, and variables, (3) select and use appropriate tools or instruments to collect qualitative and quantitative data, and (4) record and represent data in an appropriate form. Use appropriate safety procedures.


Analyze and interpret data from observations, measurements, or investigations to understand patterns and meanings.


Use mathematical and computational thinking to (1) express quantitative observations using appropriate English or metric units, (2) collect and analyze data, or (3) understand patterns, trends and relationships.


Construct explanations of phenomena using (1) scientific evidence and models, (2) conclusions from scientific investigations, (3) predictions based on observations and measurements, or (4) data communicated in graphs, tables, or diagrams.


Construct scientific arguments to support claims, explanations, or designs using evidence from observations, data, or informational texts.


Obtain and evaluate informational texts, observations, data collected, or discussions to (1) generate and answer questions, (2) understand phenomena, (3) develop models, or (4) support explanations, claims, or designs. Communicate observations and explanations using the conventions and expectations of oral and written language.


Technology is any modification to the natural world created to fulfill the wants and needs of humans. The engineering design process involves a series of iterative steps used to solve a problem and often leads to the development of a new or improved technology.


Construct devices or design solutions to solve specific problems or needs: (1) ask questions to identify problems or needs, (2) ask questions about the criteria and constraints of the devices or solutions, (3) generate and communicate ideas for possible devices or solutions, (4) build and test devices or solutions, (5) determine if the devices or solutions solved the problem and refine the design if needed, and (6) communicate the results.