Tennessee Science Standards for 3rd Grade

Instructor: Jessie Hemmons

Jessie has a master's degree in clinical psychology.

It's important for teachers in Tennessee to stay informed about educational standards in their state. Learn about science standards for third grade students and check out resources for aligning your curriculum.

Science Standards for Third Grade in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Education has developed the Tennessee Science Curriculum Framework, which has set specific learning standards across a variety of scientific concepts for third grade students in public schools. The science topics include scientific inquiry, technology and engineering, life science, Earth and space science, and physical science. The specific content standards and their learning objectives are outlined below.

Embedded Inquiry & Technology, and Engineering Standards

Technology and Engineering and Inquiry standards will focus on the overarching skills that scientists use to ask questions, conduct experiments, and design materials. Students will also look at the ways technology impacts scientific discoveries.

Science Topic Learning Objective
Embedded Inquiry Ask scientific questions, make predictions, plan experiments, and document data.
Use tools and measures to conduct experiments.
Represent data through tables, diagrams, and other physical presentations.
Recognize similarities across experiments.
Understand how results can be interpreted differently by different people.
Compare experimental results with science standards.
Embedded Technology and Engineering Understand how tools and technology change over time.
Understand the usefulness of tools in scientific inquiry.
Determine certain tools or materials that can help solve a specific problem.
Approach problems with creative ideas.
Explain the relationship between scientific advances and new technology.

Life Science Standards

In Life Science, third graders will be introduced to the life cycle of cells, as well as ecosystems and changing environments. They will also learn about the genetic relationship between parents and offspring.

Science Topic Learning Objective
Cells Examine plant and animal parts using a magnifying glass and explain their functions.
Interdependence Understand competition in an ecosystem.
Understand what makes something a living thing.
Flow of Matter and Energy Explain how animals use food for energy, growth, and health.
Heredity Understand the timeline for the lives of various plants and animals.
Observe that similar characteristics are transferred from parents to offspring.
Biodiversity and Change Understand the terms applied to organisms according to their survival and existence.
Recognize the relationship between survival and an organism's specific traits.

Earth and Space Science Standards

In third grade, students will learn about the cosmos, and will consider the origin of the universe. They will also begin using tools to better understand weather and climate, and get practice identifying physical properties of earth.

Science Topic Learning Objective
The Universe Identify the sun, moon, and other parts of the solar system according to position.
The Earth Identify Earth's major land masses and bodies of water using illustrations.
Recognize what makes an object natural, as opposed to man-made.
Develop a strategy for conserving or reusing Earth's natural resources.
Understand various rock qualities.
The Atmosphere Understand that the atmosphere and weather can be observed and measured.
Get hands-on experience using a barometer, thermometer, anemometer, and rain gauge.
Use cloud formations to predict the weather.
Classify types of clouds and their relationship to the atmosphere.

Physical Science Standards

Teachers will focus on energy transfers and object motion in third grade. They will also provide instruction on electromagnetism and the composition of matter.

Science Topic Learning Objective
Matter Classify different kinds of mixed materials.
Show how materials change over time with experiments in evaporation and melting, among others.
Understand methods for separating mixtures, like evaporation.
Energy Understand how heat is produced.
Produce an experiment to test if certain materials conduct heat.
Motion Comprehend how force affects object movement and object mass.
Explain pitch and volume and how they may vary.
Forces in Nature Describe the relationship between magnets and metals.

Resources for Educators

If you are looking for resources to help align your curriculum with Tennessee's science standards for third grade students, you can utilize science courses available on The courses offer a wide range of topics and includes video lessons, quizzes and tests, flashcards, and activities you can share with your students. Here are just a few science courses for kids available on

Elementary School Science Worksheets are available to provide extra practice for students, and to allow teachers to check for understanding. For more information about national and regional educational standards, check out Science Standards Information for Teachers as a resource.

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