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Minnesota: 3rd-Grade Standards

In grade three, students expand and deepen their knowledge in the four social studies disciplines of citizenship and government, economics, geography and history. By applying basic concepts in each discipline to complex communities and environments near and far, students begin to understand the social, economic, geographic and political aspects of life in the world beyond our state and nation. They create and interpret simple maps, using them to understand the physical and human characteristics of places around the world, from one’s neighborhood to vast regions of the earth. As students examine the world of long ago through historical records, maps and artifacts, they discover how geographic factors, technology, and individual and group actions have shaped history. Students practice weighing the costs and benefits in making decisions, and examine the economic forces that influence interactions among individuals in a community. They further explore the civic relationship between an individual and the community in the United States in which he or she lives, the three branches of government, and the functions and funding of government.

Social Studies Strand 1: Citizenship & Government

Substrand 1: Civic Skills

  • 1. Democratic government depends on informed and engaged citizens who exhibit civic skills and values, practice civic discourse, vote and participate in elections, apply inquiry and analysis skills, and take action to solve problems and shape public policy.
    • Identify ways people make a difference in the civic life of their communities, state, nation, or world by working as individuals or groups to address a specific problem or need.
    • For Example:
      Ways to make a difference—pick up trash in park, vote, help make class decisions, write a letter, make phone calls, create an advertisement or web page, attend a meeting.

Substrand 2: Civic Values and Principles of Democracy

  • 3. The United States is based on democratic values and principles that include liberty, individual rights, justice, equality, the rule of law, limited government, common good, popular sovereignty, majority rule and minority rights.
    • Explain the importance of civic discourse (including speaking, listening, voting and respecting diverse viewpoints) and the principles of majority rule and minority rights.
    • For Example:
      Majority rule and minority rights can be demonstrated through a class vote on a class snack when two students have peanut allergies.

Substrand 4: Governmental Institutions and Political Processes

  • 7. The United States government has specifiv functions that are determined by the way that power is delegated and controlled among various bodies—the three leves (federal, state, local) and the three branches (legislative, executive, judicial)—of government.
    • Describe the importance of the services provided by government; explain that they are funded through taxes and fees.
    • For Example:
      Services—chools, parks, garbage and recycling (pick-up), street lighting, police protection, roads (plowing, maintenance), interstate waterway navigation, postal service.

    • Identify the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) and their primary functions.
    • For example:
      Primary functions—legislative branch makes laws, executive branch carries out laws, judicial branch decides if laws are broken.

Social Studies Strand 2: Economics

Substrand 1: Economic Reasoning Skills

  • 1. People make informed economic choices by identifying their goals, interpreting and applying data, considering the short- and long-run costs and benefits of alternative choices and revising their goals based on their analysis.
    • Identify possible short-and long-term consequences (costs and benefits) of different choices.
    • For Example:
      Choices might relate to personal spending or government spending.

Substrand 2: Personal Finance

  • 2.Personal and financial goals can be achieved by applying economic concepts and principles to personal financial planning, budgeting, spending, saving, investing, borrowing and insuring decisions.
    • Describe income as the money earned from selling resources and expenditures as the money used to buy goods and services.
    • For example:
      Income—a student being paid a $4 allowance for doing chores, a student’s parent being paid money for working at his or her job.
      Expenditures—a student spending $3 for a sandwich, a student’s parent spending $20 for gasoline.

Substrand 3: Fundamental Concepts

  • 5. Individuals, businesses, and governments interact and exchange goods, services, and resources in different ways and for different reasons; interactions between buyers and sellers in a market determines the price and quantity exchanged of a good, service, or resource.
    • Explain that producing any good or service requires resources; describe the resources needed to produce a specific good or service; explain why it is not possible to produce an unlimited amount of a good or service.
    • For Example:
      Contemporary examples—Producing bread requires wheat (natural resource), an oven (capital resource), a baker (human resource); producing a haircut requires water (natural resource), scissors or clippers (capital resource), a barber (human resource).
      Historical examples—Building a pyramid requires bricks made from mud and straw (natural resources), carts (capital resources), and workers (human resources); making a dugout canoe requires trees (natural resource), an axe (capital resource), and skilled workers (human resource)

    • Explain that consumers have two roles—as sellers of resources and buyers of goods and services; explain that producers have two roles—as sellers of goods and services and buyers of resources.
    • For example:
      Consumers—parents work (sell their human resource services) so they can buy food, gasoline, electricity.
      Producers—a business sells refrigerators and pays for the resources (raw materials, workers, and machines) required to produce the refrigerators.

Social Studies Strand 3: Geography

Substrand 1: Geospatial Skills

  • 1. People use geographic representations and geospatial technologies to acquire, process, and report information within a spatial context.
    • Use maps and concepts of location (relative location words and cardinal and intermediate directions) to describe places in one’s community, the state of Minnesota, the United States or the world.
    • For example:
      Relative location words—close to, above, bordering.
      Description using relative location words—"Our school is across from the post office."
      Description using cardinal directions—"Mexico is south of the United States."
      Description using intermediate directions—“Hawaii is southwest of the continental United States.”

    • Create and interpret simple maps of places around the world, local to global; incorporate the "TODALS" map basics, as well as points, lines and colored areas to display spatial information.
    • For Example:
      Global places—country, continent, ocean.
      "TODALS" map basics—title, orientation, date, author, legend (key), and scale.
      Local places—city, village.
      Spatial information—cities, roads, boundaries, bodies of water, regions.

Substrand 3: Human Systems

  • 6. Geographic factors influence the distribution, functions, growth and patterns of cities and human settlements.
    • Identify landforms and patterns in population; explain why human populations are unevenly distributed around the world.
    • For Example:
      Mountainous and arid places tend to have less population than coastal places.

  • 8. Processes of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of the earth’s surface.
      • Identify physical and human features that act as boundaries or dividers; give examples of situations or reasons why people have made or used boundaries.
      • For example:
        Physical features—mountains, rivers, bodies of water.
        Human-made features—fences, hedges, political boundaries.

  • Social Studies Strand 4: History

    Substrand 1: Historical Thinking Skills

    • 1. Historians generally construct chronological narratives to characterize eras and explain past events and change over time.
      • Reference different time periods using correct terminology, including the terms decade, century and millennium.
      • Create timelines of important events in three different time scales—decades, centuries and millennia.
    • 2. Historical inquiry is a process in which multiple sources and different kinds of historical evidence are analyzed to draw conclusions about how and why things happened in the past.
      • Examine historical records, maps and artifacts to answer basic questions about times and events in history, both ancient and more recent.
      • For example:
        Historical records—photos, oral histories, diaries or journals, textbooks, library books.
        Artifacts—art, pottery, baskets, jewelry, tools.
        Basic historical questions—What happened? When did it happen? Who was involved? How and why did it happen? How do we know what happened? What effect did it have?

      • Compare and contrast two different accounts of an event.
      • For Example:
        Event—a playground conflict, current event, historic event.

      • Compare and contrast various ways that different cultures have expressed concepts of time and space.
      • For Example:
        Calendar systems—Sun dial, Chinese, Hindu, Mayan or Aztec, Hebrew and Islamic calendars, Dakota or Anishinaabe seasonal cycles.
        Visual representations of location and spatial information—Chinese "Jingban Tianwen Quantu" map, Ptolemic maps, Islamic maps by Muhammad al-Idrisi, Polynesian stick and reed maps.

  • 3. Historical events have multiple causes and can lead to varied and unintended outcomes.
      • Explain how an invention of the past changed life at that time, including positive, negative and unintended outcomes.
        For Example:
        Inventions—Roman aqueducts, Chinese compass, cuneiform.
  • Substrand 2: Peoples, Cultures and Change Over Time

    • 5. History is made by individuals acting alone and collectively to address problems in their communities, state, nation and world.
      • Identify examples of individuals or groups who have had an impact on world history; explain how their actions helped shape the world around them.
      • For Example:
        Individuals—Alexander the Great, Cleopatra, Chinggis Khan, Kemal Ataturk, Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Vang Pao, Muhammad Yunus, Aung San Suu Kyi. Groups might include ethnic or cultural groups, religious groups, political groups.

    Substrand 3: World History

    • 7. The emergence of domestication and agriculture facilitated the development of complex societies and caused far-reaching social and cultural effects. (Early Civilizations and the Emergence of Pastoral Peoples: 8000 BCE2000 BCE).
      • Explain how the environment influenced the settlement of ancient peoples in three different regions of the world. (Early Civilizations and the Emergence of Pastoral Peoples: 8000 BCE-2000 BCE).
      • For Example:
        Civilizations from the Mediterranean region—Nile River Valley.
        Civilizations from Asia—Sumer (Iraq), Indus Valley, Yellow River Valley.
        Civilizations from the Americas—Norte Chico/Supe Valley (Peru).

  • 8. The development of interregional systems of communication and trade facilitated new forms of social organization and new belief systems. (Classical Traditions, Belief Systems and Giant Empires: 2000 BCE-600 CE).
      • Identify methods of communication used by peoples living in ancient times in three different regions of the world. (Classical Traditions, Belief Systems and Giant Empires: 2000 BCE-600 CE).
      • For example:
        Methods of communication—signal fires on the Great Wall of China, Peruvian Quipu, hieroglyphics. Other regions of the world might include Syria (city of Urkesh), northeastern Africa (Kingdom of Kush), Turkey (Assyrian Empire).

  • 9. Hemispheric networks intensified as a result of innovations in agriculture, trade across longer distances, the consolidation of belief systems and the development of new multi-ethnic empires while diseases and climate change caused sharp, periodic fluctuations in global population. (Post-Classical and Medieval Civilizations and Expanding Zones of Exchange: 600 CE – 1450 CE).
      • Compare and contrast daily life for people living in ancient times in at least three different regions of the world. (Post-Classical and Medieval Civilizations and Expanding Zones of Exchange: 600 CE – 1450 CE)
      • For Example:
        Civilizations from the Mediterranean region—Greece, Rome, Egypt.
        Civilizations from Asia—Mauryan Empire from India; Han or Qin from China.
        Civilizations from the Americas—Inca, Aztec.
        Civilizations from Africa—Aksum, Great Zimbabwe.