October 2020: Featured Lessons – Grades 3-5

Check out October’s featured resources – seasonal lessons, subject area content, and some of our staff favorites too! 


Pumpkins and Measurement

Grade(s): 3

Subject(s): Math, ELA, Science

Looking for a way to celebrate Halloween and practice math? Need an activity to complete after that pumpkin patch field trip?

In this activity, students will practice measurement using real-life items in the classroom. By discussing what types of items make sense as a unit, students will critically think about measurement and space.

Two Party Race

Grade(s): 4

Subject(s): Math

In Two Party System, students use data from voter turnout by states to practice comparing decimals to the hundredths, converting decimals to fractions, creating visual fraction models, using inequality symbols, and adding and subtracting fractions to solve word problems. As political analysts, they are attempting to forecast the results in the upcoming election. This performance task has editions for 10 different states, including Texas, Ohio, and California.

Why Vote?

Grade(s): 3, 4

Subject(s): Social Studies

In this Rank & Reason, students consider the reasons that citizens might choose to vote. They rank these according to which are the most important to them.

This question is designed to have no right answer. Students must think critically and provide justification for their rankings. Interactive features allow students to compare their rankings with others and to the class average.

Math, ELA, Science, Social Studies

Scene in a Box

Grade(s): 3, 4

Subject(s): ELA

In this project, students select a pivotal scene from a book and create the scene using a box. They then prepare an accompanying script describing the scene and characters from the story that will be performed for an audience. There is an optional step for students to create stop motion videos of their scenes.

This project encourages students to think about the details of a particular setting and delve into the descriptive language as well as make inferences. Students will need to be creative and able to collaborate with their peers.

Think Before You Drink

Grade(s): 4

Subject(s): Math

In Think Before You Drink, students use the amount of sugar in their favorite soda to practice generating number patterns and multiplying with whole numbers and fractions. As health teachers, they have to compare the sugar in various drinks, and compare it to the recommended maximum.

This performance task has editions for 11 popular beverages, including Capri Sun, Sunny D, and Grape Fanta.

The Water Cycle

Grade(s): 5

Subject(s): ELA, Science

Students will love learning about the water cycle with this creative and challenging lesson incorporating science and language arts concepts. Students will become authors of a children’s book about the water cycle. They will also be considering the concept of perspective as they write their story which will make for incredibly entertaining, creative, and memorable stories. This is sure to be a project they will not soon forget!

Character Education

Character Education: Respect

Grade(s): 3, 4, 5

Subject(s): ELA, Social Studies

This lesson is a great addition to the Character Counts program and the 6 Pillars of Character Success. This lesson focuses on the second character trait: Respect. This lesson could be taught as part of that series or in isolation.

Students will be asked to reflect on their personal character traits as well as evaluate those of others. They will complete a self-assessment and watch a short video on Respect. The video is followed by a rich set of discussion questions to really help students understand and connect with the concept of Respect.

Staff Favorite

Time Person of the Year

Grade(s): 3, 4, 5

Subject(s): ELA

In this project, students think about TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year and what makes a person inspirational. Then, they come up with their own person of the year and conduct an interview and write an article about their Person of the Year. The students will critique, edit, and revise their articles before publishing a final version with optional other magazine features.

This project is ideal for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, but can also be used to think generally about inspirational people in students’ lives. The final product can be presented to the person students choose as a gift.