3rd Grade - 5th Grade Overview


The Pennsylvania Department of Education provides Core Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics.  The Core Standards describe what students should know and be able to do with the English language. Targets for instruction and student learning essential for success in all academic areas, not just language arts classrooms are provided. 


English Language Arts Focus

englishThe English Language Arts Core Standards provide parents and community members with information about what students should know and be able to do as they progress through the educational program and at graduation. With a clearly defined target provided by the standards, parents, students, educators, and community members become partners in learning.


  • Students read, understand, and respond to literature and informational text—with an emphasis on comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and making connections among ideas and between texts with a focus on textual evidence.
  • Students write for different purposes and audiences. Students write clear and focused text to convey a well-defined perspective and appropriate content.
  • Students present appropriately in formal speaking situations, listen critically, and respond intelligently as individuals or in group discussions.
  • Beginning in kindergarten, students gain a working knowledge of concepts of print, alphabetic principle, and other basic conventions. These foundational skills are not an end in and of themselves; rather, students apply them as effective, fluent readers.

Mathematics Focus

The Pennsylvania Core Standards in Mathematics in grades K–5 lay a solid foundation in whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and decimals. Taken together, these elements support a student’s ability to mathlearn and apply more demanding math concepts and procedures.  Additionally, they set a rigorous definition of college and career readiness by demanding that students develop a depth of understanding and ability to apply mathematics to novel situations, as college students and employees regularly do.


  • The standards stress both procedural skills and conceptual understanding to ensure students are learning and applying the critical information they need to succeed at higher levels.
  • K–5 standards, which provide students with a solid foundation in whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and decimals, help young students build the foundation to successfully apply more demanding math concepts and procedures, and move into application.
  • They also provide detailed guidance to teachers on how to navigate their way through topics such as fractions, negative numbers, and geometry, and do so by maintaining a continuous progression from grade to grade.
  • Having built a strong foundation at K–5, students can do hands-on learning in geometry, algebra, and probability and statistics.

Science Focus

Learning about science and technology is vitally important in today's increasingly complicated world. The rate of new discoveries and the development of increasingly sophisticated tools make science and technology rapidly changing subjects.  Learning about the world around us, by observing and experimenting, is the core of science and technology and qqqis strongly reflected in Pennsylvania's Academic Standards for Science and Technology.

Components of Pennsylvania Academic Science Standards:

  • Life Science
  • Physical Science
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Environment and Ecology Sciences

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are incorporated into the science learning experiences in Grades K-5.  The NGSS allows scientific inquiry and active engagement to be interconnected in discovering the world around us.

Social Studies

The Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Civics and Government, Economics, Geography, and History are embedded in the mathematics, science, and English language arts curriculum in grades 3-5.  The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1790 was the basis for the Free Public School Act of 1834 that is the underpinning of today's system of schools operating throughout kidsthe Commonwealth. These schools were created to educate children to be useful citizens, loyal to the principles upon which our republic was founded, and aware of their duties as citizens to maintain those ideals.  Therefore, the intent is to prepare the children to become responsible and productive citizens of our community. 


  • Exposure of primary resource documents
  • Create a sense of rules, regulations, and laws within the school and community
  • Basic information of Pennsylvania history, facts, and geography
  • Development of basic geographical skills and applications
  • Create engagement in the understanding of production, exchange, and consumption of goods and services as it pertains to school settings and the community at large.
Pennsylvania Department of Education. (2014). Academic standards for english language arts. Retrieved from http://pdesas.org
Pennsylvania Department of Education. (2014). Academic standards for mathematics. Retrieved from http://pdesas.org
Pennsylvania Department of Education. (2014). Academic standards for science and technology. Retrieved from http://pdesas.org
Pennsylvania Department of Education. (2014). Academic standards for civics and government. Retrieved from http://pdesas.org