• Elementary Science Grade 3 Unit 1 

    Subject: Science
    Grade: 3
    Timeline: 12 Weeks
    Unit Title: Earth Materials and Systems

    Unit Overview: 
    In this unit, students engage in scientific inquiry through which they discover that earth materials have distinctive physical and chemical properties.  The concepts explored include rock formation, rocks as aggregates of minerals,  distinctive properties of minerals identifiable through testing, mineral composition, and use of rocks and minerals as determined by their properties.

    Unit Objectives:
    • Patterns in the natural world can be observed.
    • Patterns can be used as evidence to support an explanation.
    Stability and Change
    •  Things may change slowly or rapidly.
    Cause and Effect
    • Cause and effect relationships are routinely identified, tested, and used to explain change.

    Focus Standards:
    PSSA Eligible Content:
    S4.A.2.1.1  Generate questions about objects, organisms, or events that can be answered through scientific investigations.
    S4.A.2.2.1  Identify appropriate tools or instruments for specific tasks and describe the information they can provide.
    S4.C.1.1.1  Use physical properties to describe matter.
    S4.C.1.1.2  Categorize/group objects using physical properties.
    S4.D.1.2.2  Identify the types and uses of earth materials for renewable, non-renewable, and reuseable products. 

    NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:
    ESS1.C:  The History of Planet Earth.  Local, regional, and global patterns of rock formations reveal changes over time due to earth forces, such as earthquakes.  The presence and location of certain fossil types indicate the order in which rock layers were formed.
    ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems.  Rainfall helps to shape the land and affects the types of living things found in a region.  Water, ice, wind, living organisms, and gravity break rocks, soils, and sediments into smaller particles and move them around.

     Concepts - Students will know:
    • the composition, properties and uses of rocks and minerals. 
    Competencies -Students will be able to:
    • identify the properties of rocks and minerals.
    • classify rocks and minerals based on properties.
    • contrast rocks and minerals.
    • identify ways that Earth's materials are used as building materials.

    Formative Assessments:
    • Pre-Assessment
    • Notebook Entries
    • Whole Group and Small Group Discussion
    • Teacher Observation
    • Record Sheets
    • Mineral Profile Sheets
    • Student Self Assessment
    • Formative Assessment Probes
    Summative Assessments:
    • Performance Assessments with Rubric
    • Notebook Entries with Rubric
    • Post-Assessment

    Elements of Instruction:

    Science and Engineering Practices
    Developing and Using Models
    Modeling in K-2 builds on prior experiences and progresses to include using and developing models (i.e. diagram, drawing, physical replica, diorama, dramatization, or storyboard) that represent concrete events or solutions.
    • Develop a model to represent patterns in the natural world.
    Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
    Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K-2 builds on prior experiences and uses observations and texts to communicate new information.
    • Obtain information using various texts, text features (e.g. headings, table of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons), and other media that will be useful in answering a scientific questions.
    Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
    Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in 3-5 build on K-2 experiences and progresses to include investigations that control variables and provide evidence to support explanations or design solutions.
       *Make observations and/or measurements to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence for explanation of a phenomenon.
    Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    Analyzing data in 3-5 builds on K-2 experiences and progresses to introducing quantitative approaches to collecting data and conducting multiple trials of qualitative observations.  When possible and feasible digital tools should be used.

    • word walls and flip charts
    • structured notebooks
    • differentiated grouping
    • whole group discussions


    • research
    • written and oral reports
    • create rock collection 

     Interdisciplinary Connections:
    Fossil research to include geographical regions (Social Studies)
    Invite a geologist to share additional rock samples and information (Science, Social Studies)
    Treasure hunt for rocks and minerals using math coordinates/directions (Math, Social Studies)
    Have students construct crystal shapes from paper and make them into mobiles (Art, Science)
    Research monuments or local buildings and type of rock materials used (Social Studies)

     Additional Resources / Games:
    Eyewitness Video Series:  Rocks and Minerals
    Science in Action:  Rocks and Minerals (video)
    Science/Literacy Kit