Third Grade News

The Lamplighter School * February 23 - March 14, 2016


We have begun our exploration of fractions. As we continue to learn about fractions the children will become familiar with naming parts of a fraction by being able to identify parts of a whole as well as parts of a set. They will also be introduced to the idea of placing fractions on a number line. We will spend quite a bit of time learning to identify equivalent fractions along with learning to compare fractions. One strategy the children will use to compare fractions is to determine if the fraction is closer to 0, ½, or one whole. In addition to these concepts we will discuss improper fractions and mixed numbers.

Greg Tang ( has a wonderful fraction game called "Satisfraction." This game emphasizes identifying, simplifying, comparing, and calculating fractions. We will use this game in class, but it is also a great game to play at home.

Looking ahead, our big study of multiplication is on the horizon. By this point it will be critical that your child have the multiplication facts securely memorized. If they do not, please spend significant time working on these facts with your children. In this study we will culminate with multiplying 3 digit by 2 digit numbers. We will also explore factors of numbers along with positive and negative number.


Researching Native Americans has long been a part of Lamplighter’s Third Grade curriculum. Using online resources and Media Center books, students will teach themselves about four Native American groups: the Tlingit of the northwest coast, the Pueblo of the southwest, the Iroquois of the northeast woodlands, and the Sioux of the plains. Once the students have been introduced to each tribe, they will pick the one that interests them the most and begin researching in even more detail, both alone and in small groups. They will study the tribes’ clothing, homes, foods, rituals, art, and interactions with European settlers, as well as topics of their own interest. After gathering lots of information, students will write five-paragraph essays about their chosen tribe.

In writing, students are learning to organize their ideas well by writing a five-sentence paragraph! First, these paragraphs begin with a topic sentence. Also, they have three detail sentences that provide support for the topic. As if that weren’t enough, they end with a conclusion or final thought. In conclusion, we are encouraging students to write with great detail and description.

Tinkercad Project

Towards the end of January our students participated in a Tinkercad project (a 3-D design program). During math and technology children designed a chicken that had to include eyes, a beak, wings, a tail, feet, and one special characteristic. Upon completion of the design Mrs. Ogden began printing the chicks on our 3-D printer. However, during printing another step became clear...our designs needed revisions. The chickens were not printing correctly. Your children are directly learning the design process - create, critique, revise, retry. Fingers crossed for the next printing session!

Special Area Classes

Environmental Science with Mrs. Cauley
River Cutter’s is always a favorite unit. Our third graders are just completing their exploration of water dripping into the tubs, moving the diatomaceous earth like real soil and rocks. River feature terms such as meander, v-shaped valley etc. have been introduced and students have learned to identify and label those features in their own tubs and in their journal drawings of their rivers. We will also learn to compare and identify these same features at our own Lamplighter creek!

Our classes will integrate with the 3rd grade Mars Colony unit by recording the daily high and low temperatures on Mars at the Gale Crater and Dallas temperatures starting in mid-March. By using computer weather web links for Mars and Dallas, each student will record data sent from the Mars “Curiosity” Rover and make comparisons of the temperature ranges of the two planets! They will graph the data for the month of March and then compare the differences and similarities of Dallas and Mars temperatures. We will also be exploring some websites that feature the Curiosity Rover to learn more about its mission.

Science with Mr. Burton

Third grade students have been working with Lego Mindstorms EV3 robots. We’ve learned about basic programming logic such as loops and switches that interact with the robot’s sensors. Using these techniques, students created a program that allowed their robot to navigate a large maze on the floor while also avoiding obstacles. In the coming weeks, we will add to this program to have their robots retrieve an object at the end of the maze and return it to the beginning.

Technology with Mrs. Ogden

We’re Scratching away in 3rd grade!

3rd graders have begun working hard at utilizing new programming and coding skills to create amazing projects in Scratch. This wonderful program enables students to utilize problem solving skills and higher order thinking skills to create interactive games, stories and artwork. We are learning to create some amazing projects in preparation for our egg and chick unit later this spring. Want to check it out at home? The link to Scratch is on my blog below!

Are you searching for a website to help enrich learning at home? Check out my educational blog to find a list of educational websites and apps that can help reinforce 3rd grade skills at home:

Media Center with Mrs. Vermillion
Academic Vocabulary in the Library. Word learning grows as students encounter words across various texts and context. Lower school teachers and the librarian are introducing academic words with a description, explanation, and example of the meaning. The students restate the meaning in their own words. For example, “Describe what you see in this picture.” “Summarize what this story is about.” “Compare and Contrast these pictures.” Processing these academic words in enough different formats over time, and the words become as automatic as who, what, why, how, and where. (Marilee Sprenger)

Ask Your Child...

Is 5/7 closer to 0, ½, or one whole? What about 6/10? 4/8? 2/6?

How did Native Americans use natural resources to survive and thrive?

Can you write or say a five-sentence paragraph that describes your day at school?

Tell me about your river cutters experiments with water. What did you learn about how water shapes the earth?

Upcoming Events

Spring Break is Monday, March 21 through Monday, March 28. We return to school on Tuesday, March 29.