• Third Grade Social Studies  

    Dear Third Grade Families; 
    Welcome to the Ann Arbor Public Schools Family Pages. We hope the information you find here assists you in supporting your child while s/he is learning important skills and concepts throughout the third grade year.
    Three key sources inform the elementary Social Studies program; (1) The Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations
    (2) the C3 Framework for College, Career and Civic Life for Social Studies State Standards, and (3) Social Studies Alive! with supplemental resources for the study of the state of Michigan. The Michigan GLCEs define what the state expects students to know and be able to do in Social Studies at the end of each grade level. Social Studies Alive! is the core learning resource used throughout the Ann Arbor Public Schools elementary grades. Supplemental materials have been created for the third grade study of the state of Michigan.
    To take a deeper look at each unit go to:     Atlas: Third Grade Social Studies 
    Third Grade Social Studies Focus: Exploring Michigan 

    The Geography of Michigan


    In this unit, students use a geographic lens to explore the state of Michigan. This unit focuses on the five major themes of geography: movement, region, human/environment interaction, location, and place. Students begin by reviewing geographic concepts learned in second grade and then explore the concept of “state” using a map of the U.S. In studying location, students use cardinal directions, identify various ways to describe the relative location of Michigan, and begin to explore how location can influence the development of a state. When studying place, students identify and describe significant human and physical characteristics of Michigan using a variety of maps. Through literature, maps, informational text and other resources, students also explore the concept of human/environment interaction as they learn about Michigan’s natural resources and how people have used, modified, and adapted to them. In studying movement, an emphasis is placed on the Great Lakes. Using shipping as a launching point, students explore how and why people, goods, jobs, and ideas move within, into, and out of Michigan. Finally, students apply the concept of region to the study of Michigan as they explore different ways Michigan can be divided into regions as well as the different regions to which Michigan belongs. Through art or technology students demonstrate their understanding of Michigan’s geography.

    History Unit 1: Thinking Like a Historian

    This foundational lesson introduces students to historical reasoning through the analysis of primary sources such as historical maps and a diary. They examine how historians are detectives of the past and use evidence from primary and secondary sources. Students explore the chronology of the settlement of a village in Oakland County and identify the causes and effects of events in the community. They are introduced to the concepts of historical empathy and historical perspective. 

    History Unit 2: Native Cultures in Michigan

    Students apply what they have learned about the study of history to Native American cultures in Michigan. They explore early Native American groups and then compare and contrast the groups known as the “Three Fires.” Artifacts, traditional stories, and historical records are analyzed. The concepts of continuity and change are stressed.

    History Unit 3: Whose Michigan?


    Students explore the movement of the French and British into what is now Michigan and the influence of these newcomers on Native American cultures. Students analyze artifacts, maps, timelines, and other sources as they gather historical evidence about this time period in Michigan history. 

    History Unit 4: Settlement to Statehood


    Students learn about early pioneer life in Michigan and why settlement in Michigan was slow at first. They explore the challenges pioneers faced through primary sources and literature. They also analyze artifacts from an archaeological site of an early settler cabin. They explore factors that led to increased population growth in Michigan from the time of Proclamation of 1763 until statehood and the steps taken toward statehood. Students also explore the settlement of Michigan from a Native American perspective.