Aligning 3rd Grade Science with TEKS

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As a third grade teacher in Texas, you know how important it is to align your curriculum with TEKS. This lesson focuses on how you can make sure your science instruction meets the standards.

Third Grade Science and TEKS

Are you a third grade teacher in Texas? If so, you certainly understand the significance of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. These standards guide your overall curriculum as well as your daily instruction.

In the elementary grades, TEKS puts a great deal of emphasis on reading, writing and math. While this is understandable, it is also important not to forget that the standards see the other subject areas as important as well. This lesson will help you understand how to align your third grade science curriculum with the standards.

One important thing to understand about TEKS and science is that the standards are broken down into process and content standards. It is probably most helpful to organize your curriculum based on the content standards, planning particular units of study that will align with specific content. Four units of study will be adequate to meet the content standards for third grade.

The TEKS process standards will be embedded in your science teaching over the course of the units that you teach. These standards transcend content and deal with how your students ask scientific questions, explore scientific materials, record data, and synthesize knowledge from a variety of sources. As you teach each of your units, make sure you are giving your students plenty of opportunities to investigate, share their findings and draw logical conclusions.

Matter and Energy

One of your units of study will help build on what students already know about matter and energy. Build investigations into this unit to help your students:

  • Compare and contrast different kinds of matter based on physical properties like mass, density and magnetism
  • Classify matter based on whether it is liquid, solid, or gas, and determine how some matter can change from one form to another
  • Determine how some kinds of matter can get mixed together, and some kinds cannot

Force, Motion and Energy

A second unit of study for third graders might look at different kinds of energy. Teach your third graders that there is mechanical energy, light energy, sound energy, and thermal energy, and help them identify this energy in everyday life. In this unit, your investigations should focus on:

  • How pushing and pulling impact the position and movement of different objects
  • The workings of simple machines like pulleys and levers
  • The ways that magnetism and gravity impact different kinds of objects

Earth Science

A longer unit of study will focus your students' attention on how the surface of the Earth works and changes over time. In this unit, you can teach your students:

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