girl with arms up with friends

Grade 3

Third grade is an exciting year for students at Dwight School as they move into the second half of the Primary Years Program (PYP). Students develop greater independence as they complete research projects, work collaboratively with their peers, explore various technology platforms to communicate their understandings, and experience a greater emphasis on applying what they know to strengthen their skills. Teachers also continue working with students to strengthen the traits of the Learner Profile, which include being effective communicators, caring friends, and reflective, knowledgeable students.

Peek Inside the Classroom

On any day, you might find our Grade 3 students:

  • Establishing a classroom “economy” in which they earn money, pay rent and other bills, and make other investments
  • Teaming up with buddies in Grade 1 to make cards and collect food donations for residents of a nearby Senior Center
  • Using a telescope to view the moon and Jupiter at a nighttime “Star Party,” discussing questions about space with an astronaut via Skype, and creating videos to explain the earth’s seasons
  • Listening to a guest speaker, the Maasai Tribal Chief, talk about his village in Kenya
  • Creating personal goals for the next month based on individual interests and challenges

Explore the Curriculum


Third grade is an exciting year for students at Dwight School as they move into the second half of the Primary Years Program (PYP). Students develop greater independence as they complete research projects, work collaboratively with their peers, explore various technology platforms to communicate their understandings, and experience a greater emphasis on applying what they know to strengthen their skills. Teachers also continue the work with students to strengthen the traits of the Learner Profile, which include being effective communicators, caring friends, and reflective, knowledgeable students.



Units of Inquiry

In the third grade, students have an opportunity to explore six in­-depth Units of Inquiry that incorporate the science and social studies curricula. These units include the six transdisciplinary themes: Sharing the Planet, Who We Are, How We Express Ourselves, Where We Are in Place and Time, How the World Works, and How We Organize Ourselves. During our Sharing the Planet unit, third graders explore how conflict affects relationships and actions. This unit is a great way to start the year and helps us build our classroom community. During our Who We Are unit, students learn about human body systems and how they are connected. Our How We Express Ourselves unit invites students to be risk­-takers by trying out various performing arts as ways to communicate messages. Our Where We Are in Place and Time unit is a historical unit where we investigate how exploration has changed over time. Our How the World Works unit, a third grade favorite, is a wonderful unit in which we learn about Earth’s place in the solar system, the universe, and beyond. Finally, our How We Organize Ourselves unit is a real­-world introduction to financial responsibility and ways even third graders can start to make informed financial choices. Each of our six units are inquiry based, student­-driven, and allow students to develop their social, communication, research, thinking, and self­-management skills in fun, interactive, and meaningful ways.


Third grade students are able to build on their technical skills and tackle more complex applications. Technology sessions occur two times per cycle and students are fully engaged with presentation programs, multimedia apps, and electronic research tools. Students use technology tools to plan, gather, organize, synthesize, present, and evaluate information to solve problems. Students exercise their skills to present their ideas in interactive timelines, creative slideshows, animations, and game design.

Third grade is a time of excitement and exploration of new ideas and the understanding of how technology fits into classroom learning. One notable Unit of Inquiry in third grade is How the World Works. In this unit, students develop multimedia projects for their STEAM expo that shows their understanding of the solar system and beyond.


Throughout the year, third graders read various genres which include: realistic fiction, mystery, fantasy, biography, and nonfiction. Within each genre study, students inquire into what makes each genre different and what work they will need to do as readers to successfully explore each genre. These investigations are done independently, as a class, through reading partnerships, and in book clubs. All of these allow students the opportunity to deepen their comprehension skills and engage in meaningful conversations about their books and their thinking. Readers are also expected to track their thinking as they read. This helps them to recall important information, provide evidence to support their ideas, determine importance, make inferences, recognize themes and main ideas, and in turn, synthesize so that they are reading to learn.


Third grade students write in a number of different genres throughout the year including personal narrative, non­fiction, short stories, research writing, and persuasive essays. Each of these units align with the transdisciplinary theme for our current unit of inquiry. As a class, we investigate the purpose of each genre, how it’s organized, the strategies and features of each genre, and how to insert our unique writing voice. We learn pre­writing strategies to help us plan before we write, writing craft to enhance the structure of the writing, and elaboration strategies to develop each piece. Students also learn about the writing process where we draft, revise, edit, and publish a piece of writing by the end of each unit. Throughout the year, students learn about various grammar topics such as the proper use of ending punctuation, commas, apostrophes, and quotation marks. Finally, students do word study every day to learn spelling words on their individual level.


Third grade mathematicians explore various topics throughout the year such as place value, number sense, measurement, data, geometry, fractions, and money. All topics we learn about are differentiated based on student readiness and individualized level. Within our place value unit, students explore how to read multi­-digit numbers, round, and estimate. During our number sense unit, students learn how to add and subtract multi­-digit numbers including problems that require multiple instances of regrouping. We also work to develop a conceptual understanding of the meaning of multiplication and division and their connection to addition and subtraction. During our measurement unit, students inquire into the U.S. customary and metric systems to measure length, weight, capacity, and time. During our data unit, students explore various graphs such as bar graphs, pictographs, and line plots, as well as ways to collect and interpret data. During our geometry unit, students explore various polygons and their attributes, 3­D shapes and their attributes, and how to calculate area and perimeter. During our fractions unit, students learn what a fraction is and how to determine parts of a whole. Finally, students in third grade leave knowing multiplication and division. All math activities are differentiated, incorporate hands­-on and technological components, and include real­-world problem solving connected to each unit.

World Language


All students in the PYP are required to study at least one language in addition to English. Learning these languages is seen to be an important element in preparing young people for citizenship in the developing global community.

Students in French, Spanish, and Mandarin are exposed to the culture of the target language and develop the necessary skills to become active users of the language at the end of their school career. Students in grades 1-­5 learn language through a variety of ways including songs, games, role-­playing, and cultural activities.

Chinese (Mandarin)

In third grade, students continue to build on and review previously covered material, as new material and concepts are presented. Students use simple sentence structures and learn to write full sentences using simple characters. They also explore conversations they can use in daily life, such as asking and giving prices for various items. Chinese culture is explored through arts, music, and storybooks, and the celebration of Chinese New Year.


In third grade, students learn more complex Spanish grammar and vocabulary. Students understand a string of phrases and can write short phrases themselves. Students start to learn more complex conversations, such as how to shop and how to order food. Students will experience some Spanish traditions throughout the year as they celebrate “Día de los Muertos,” “Three Kings Day,” and “Cinco de Mayo.”


In third grade, students learn more complex French grammar and vocabulary through daily reading/writing activities and technology usage. Students understand a string of phrases, read longer passages, and can write short and long phrases, following an example. Students start to take part in guided conversations. Students experience some of the French traditions throughout the year through cultural songs, music and dance from the French and Francophone countries. They also celebrate “La Francophonie” by presenting poems, songs, and stories.

Visual Arts

Third graders begin the year by looking at the faces of conflict during their Sharing the Planet unit. Inspired by the works of Edvard Munch and Pablo Picasso, they re­-examine the form and structure of the human face by drawing each other as they act out many different moods. Students continue to explore facial features while they build three­-dimensional faces out of plaster and paper. Students expand their knowledge of the human form when they are introduced to human anatomy, while inquiring into Who We Are. Channeling the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, they start to really examine the human form, both inside and out, while creating detailed pencil drawings of the skeletal system, referencing a life­-sized skeleton. After exploring the works of Alberto Giacometti, their summative assessment is in the form of a figurative sculpture in metal and paper mache. During their Unit of Inquiry, How we Express Ourselves, third graders foray into the world of fashion, by designing and creating their own costumes during their inquiry into the performing arts. Finally, students are introduced to the concept of value in art during their inquiry into world money systems.


In third grade, students are closely studying Baroque recorder technique, principles of modern notation, reading of instrumental three-part scores, and performing in all-grade and all Lower School combined ensembles. Students create and showcase their own compositions in Binary and Ternary Forms and further develop their ear-training and sight-reading skills, while continuing to explore various instruments of the orchestra, in addition to a recorder. Students are engaged in multiple transdisciplinary projects in connection to PYP Units of Inquiry. Throughout the year, students share their musical talents in Community Meetings, Holiday concerts, Lower School assemblies, and Community Outreach Projects. The IB Learner Profile is at the center of our rich musical life in Timothy House and is an integral part of our music curriculum.


Physical Education

Physical education in the third grade provides students with the opportunity to solve challenging problems, individually, in pairs, or in small group activities. They learn and apply specific skills and techniques involved in a variety of lead­-up games and design their own simple games. Third graders respond through movement to a variety of stimuli to express feelings and moods using imagination and original ideas. They improve traditional gymnastic skills and interpret and answer movement tasks in small groups in their own ways. Health related activities are incorporated throughout the year and students understand that they can enhance their performance in physical activities through developing and maintaining physical fitness, refining movement skills, and reflecting on techniques and performance. In track and field, students develop the basic techniques of throwing, running, and jumping. They collect and record data in at least one of these activities. While focusing on the bigger concept of “energy,” students explore the science behind sport in their practical physical education lessons and have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge during a cross­-curricular field trip to the New York Hall of Science.


Library is an exciting time for third graders as they become independent researchers and begin to recognize their ability to choose their own books. Students begin to learn the process of searching for a book using the library online catalog and then locating that book on library shelves. Research tools and skills are an important aspect of library in third grade. The use of text features as well as a basic introduction to note­-taking skills is introduced. Students begin to connect their PYP Units of Inquiry with research using books and online resources. Students continue to share read-alouds linked to the classroom units as well has having the opportunity to borrow books in order to reinforce their lifelong love of reading.

Meet the Faculty

Click here to meet the faculty!


Martha Hirschman
Head of Lower School
(212) 724-6360 Ext 220


Chris Beddows
Associate Head of Lower School,
PYP Coordinator
(212) 724-6360 Ext 510



Maryll Spahn
Director of Admissions
Grades K-6


Liliana Rodriguez 
Associate Director of Admissions
Grades K-6


Melissa Andolina 
Assistant Director & Enrollment Manager, K - 12
(212) 724-6360 Ext 207