3rd Grade Math Skills

In 3rd grade, students focus most on developing an understanding of multiplication and division of numbers up to 100, and fractions.

Multiplying Numbers

Understand what it means to multiply numbers – for example: 5 x 3 can be thought of as the total number of objects in 3 groups where each group contains 5 objects – or the total number of objects in 5 groups where each group contains 3 objects. Relate the concept of addition to multiplication.

Times Table

Know the times table. By the end of 3rd grade, quickly and accurately multiply any one-digit number by any other one-digit number.

Tip: Play Math Games
Time spent commuting or waiting in a car is a great opportunity to play math games with your child. Multiplication is one of the key math concepts she is working on in school and you can help her practice by asking her simple multiplication problems that relate to real life. Ask her to figure out the number of days until an event three weeks from today. Or have her calculate how many weeks she would have to save her allowance to buy a toy or game she wants.

Multiplication and Addition

Use knowledge of addition to understand that 4 x 7 is the same as 4 x 5 + 4 x 2.

Dividing Numbers

Understand that dividing numbers can be looked at as separating numbers of objects into equal groups. 

12 ÷ 3 can be the number of objects in each group when 12 objects are divided (separated) into 3 equal groups: 

Or 12 ÷ 3 can be the number of groups when 12 objects are divided (separated) into equal groups of 3:  
Δ Δ Δ   Δ Δ Δ   Δ Δ Δ   Δ Δ Δ

The Relationship

Understand the relationship between multiplication and division. For example, understand that if 9 x 3 = 27, then 27 ÷ 9 = 3, and 27 ÷ 3 = 9.

3RD GRADE MATH TIPS

Get tips on helping your child master the basics of math outside of the classroom.

Division With an Unknown

Solve division problems involving an unknown – for example, solve 27 ÷ 9 = ? by thinking 9 x ? = 27.

Understanding Place Value

Use understanding of place value to add, subtract, multiply and divide multi-digit numbers.

Solving Word Problems

Solve word problems involving multiplication and division of numbers within 100. 

The 2nd grade class and 3rd grade class were collecting old cell phones to recycle. The 3rd grade class collected 10 old cell phones. The 2nd grade class collected twice (two times) that number. How many cell phones did the 2nd grade class collect?

The 2nd grade class decided to divide their collected cell phones equally between 5 different charities. How many phones will each charity get?

Fractions as Numbers

Understand fractions as numbers. Using visual models or number lines (example below), understand that two fractions are equivalent (equal) if they are the same size, or are on the same point on a number line. For example, 24 is the same as 12.

Unit Fractions

Understand unit fractions – fractions with 1 as the numerator (top number): 12, 13, 14 – as one part of a whole when that whole is divided into equal parts.

Tip: Highlight Real-Life Math Problems
Continue to find as many opportunities as possible to highlight math problems in real life. If you’re doubling a recipe and need to figure out measurements, enlist your 3rd grader’s help. Measuring cups provide an especially good opportunity for your child to familiarize herself with the concept of fractions that she is leaning about in school. If a recipe calls for a cup and a half of something, ask her how many 12 or 14 cups she would need until she had enough.

Tip: Highlight Real-Life Examples of Fractions
Encourage your child to spot real-life uses of fractions, such as menus that describe burgers as quarter pounders or sports games that are divided into halves. Have her practice fractions by drawing a shape, such as a circle or a square, and asking her to color in 12 or 34 of it.

Comparing Fractions

Compare two fractions with the same numerator (top number) or the same denominator (bottom number) by thinking about their size, and what the top numbers and bottom numbers represent. For example, understand that 3/4 of something is larger than 35 of that same thing, because each 4th is larger than each 5th. Understand that 46 of something is larger than 36 of that same thing because it has 4 of the 6ths.

Whole Numbers

Recognize that a fraction with the same numerator and denominator is the same as 1 – for example, 22 = 1 (two halves are the same as one whole). Write whole numbers as fractions – for example, 5⁄(1) is the same as 5.

Reading Clocks

Read circular “face” clocks and digital clocks to tell time to the nearest minute. Solve word problems requiring addition and subtraction of intervals of time, in minutes. For example: Soccer practice is over at 4:15 p.m. Jose texts their mother. your child says your child will pick them up in 20 minutes. If they are on time, what time will it be when your child arrives?

Mass and Volume

Measure and estimate the mass of objects and volume of liquids – in grams (g), kilograms (kg), and liters (l).

Solve word problems involving mass and volume.

Brian has a mass of 85 kilograms. Joe is 9 kilograms lighter than Brian. What is Joe’s mass?

A mug has a volume of 540 milliliters. A cup has a volume of 230 milliliters. What is the total volume of the mug and the cup?

Data on Graphs

Represent and interpret data on picture graphs and bar graphs (for example one square represents 5 pets). Solve one-and two- step word problems using information presented in bar graphs.

Classifying Shapes

Use similarities and differences in geometric shapes to categorize, or classify them – for example, recognize that rectangles, squares, and rhombuses all have four sides, which makes them all examples of quadrilaterals (four-sided shapes).

What do these shapes have in common?

These Quadrilaterals all have four sides, four angles, and are closed shapes.

Dividing Shapes

Divide shapes into parts with equal sizes. Relate the parts to fractions of the whole.

Recommended

Academics

Understanding the concepts your children are learning in school can help you support them at home. Find ways to support them from Pre-K all the way through high school.

Explore Academics