Grade 3 at US

Third grade boys explore the themes of Native Americans, Ancient Egypt, and Australia. They study the concepts of interdependence between indigenous people and their environment, interaction between cultures, the need people have to explore their immediate environment and the wider world, and the development by all cultures of intellectual life including social, political, religious and artistic endeavors. Field trips include Camp Whitewood to simulate a day in the life of a Native American boy, the Cleveland Museum of Art with a focus on Egyptian art, and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Australian exhibit.

Core Curriculum

Boys learn mathematics by doing mathematics. In an environment that encourages exploration and risk taking, boys are able to deepen their mathematical understanding. Third graders expand their fluency with whole number concepts and operations. They create and interpret tables and graphs; work with geometry concepts using polygons and solids; identify and understand the meanings and uses of fractions. They continue to develop and expand their problem-solving abilities.
In third grade, the focus of the language arts program is on deepening the understanding of what is read and includes reading, writing, and discussion of a wide variety of theme-related materials. The boys refine their ability to comprehend, sequence, draw inferences, compare and contrast, identify the main idea, and explore plot and character development. They read for pleasure both silently and by listening to literature read aloud by adults. They write original and experience-based stories. They gather and assess information from a variety of sources. They also learn to organize information into a coherent research assignment, and to be responsible for editing and organizing one’s work into a final draft. Basic spelling and grammar skills are reinforced.
In third grade, boys meet with the science teacher twice a week for 60 minutes. During this time, boys engage in interactive science activities that connect with their classroom theme. The science teacher’s role is to plan experiences that enable students to ask questions, make discoveries, and practice skills necessary for inquiry-based science investigations. Key concepts and topics include the impact of cultures on the environment, ecosystems, constellations, latitude and longitude, plant life cycles, birds of prey, coral reefs, decomposition, food webs, Australian animals, geography, mapping, climate zones, rocks and minerals, rivers, nutrition and maple sugaring.

Co-curricular Disciplines

Speaking and reading in Spanish gives boys the opportunity to expand their thinking and comprehension. Third grade boys have Spanish three days a week. They build on Spanish vocabulary and concepts, looking at more verbs and writing more complex sentences and stories. They learn adjectives, verbs, classroom objects, places, weather and seasons, and time. Boys build on important cultural understandings by studying the historical ties among Native Americans, Maya, Aztec and Inca cultures. 

Third grade boys learn through play, experiencing musical concepts and gaining skills through their own active involvement. Listening acuity, expressive performance and considerate participation are stressed in every lesson. Boys engage in creative holistic music making using the Orff-Schulwerk approach to music education. Third graders learn melodic singing in two or three parts including partner songs and canons. They explore more complex rhythms including whole notes and some dotted rhythms. They learn dances with singing and a more complex structure. They learn to play the recorder and may elect to join the Junior Choir.
Art is a place where the boys discover that art is everywhere. We explore the theme-based curriculum at each grade level and dive a little deeper into cultural art forms. Introductions to artists and traditional cultures play a key role in learning, but it is the student who makes that technique his own. In third grade, we explore nature as a base of art. What is a medium? Where does it come from? How does culture play a role in art? The boys explore different cultural art forms by working with clay, paper mâche and weaving.
We provide successful physical experiences for all boys through a curriculum designed to foster and develop the knowledge and values, physical skills, and practices necessary for personal physical fitness and lifetime wellness. In third grade, boys learn specialized skills in manipulative activities, rhythms, games and sports, large apparatus, stunts and tumbling, and swimming. Locomotor, non-locomotor, and manipulative skills are refined. Physical fitness is integrated into each lesson.

Exploring Our Theme

Third grade students use the vast outdoor classroom of the Hunting Valley campus to replicate the experiences of Native Americans.
Young boys have boundless energy and a natural tendency to explore and discover.

The Third Grade Curriculum at a Glance

Native Americans
Ancient Egypt
DIY Civilization
How does the environment determine the development of a culture?

Why do societies develop social, political economic and religious structures?
How do cultures respond to conflict with other cultures?


Boys learn to love reading, researching, and expressing themselves through literature-based activities. In third grade, boys visit the library as a class or to do individual research on a flexible basis. They use a more advanced research process and practice skills such as note taking, using an index, creating a bibliography and accessing multiple reference materials. They are introduced to Internet use and safety. The boys continue to study authors and illustrators, read and listen to legends, stories, and nonfiction, and are expected to critically evaluate the difficulty of the books they select for their pleasure reading. They are introduced to different genres of fiction and are encouraged to share their reading with friends. Activities include writing poetry and making papyrus.


Shaker Heights Campus

20701 Brantley Road
Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122
GRADES Junior K-8
Phone: 216-321-8260

Hunting Valley Campus

2785 SOM Center Road
Hunting Valley, Ohio 44022
Phone: 216-831-2200
University School serves 840 boys in Junior Kindergarten to grade 12 on two campuses in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. The School’s mission is to inspire boys of promise to become young men of character who lead and serve. Dedicated faculty, rigorous curriculum, and experiential programs foster intellectual, physical, creative, and moral excellence.