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Skills available for Virginia third-grade science standards

Standards are in black and IXL science skills are in dark green. Hold your mouse over the name of a skill to view a sample question. Click on the name of a skill to practice that skill.

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Scientific Investigation, Reasoning, and Logic

Force, Motion, and Energy

  • 3.2 The student will investigate and understand simple machines and their uses. Key concepts include a) purpose and function of simple machines; b) types of simple machines; c) compound machines; and d) examples of simple and compound machines found in the school, home, and work environments.

    • identify and differentiate the six types of simple machines: lever, screw, pulley, wheel and axle, inclined plane, and wedge.

    • differentiate and classify specific examples of simple machines found in school and household items. These include a screwdriver, nutcracker, screw, flagpole pulley, ramp, and seesaw.

    • analyze the application of and explain the function of each of the six types of simple machines. An example would be that an inclined plane is a ramp to make it easier for a heavy object to be moved up or down.

    • identify and classify the simple machines which compose a compound machine, such as scissors, wheelbarrow, and bicycle.

    • design and construct an apparatus that contains a simple machine.


  • 3.3 The student will investigate and understand that objects are made of materials that can be described by their physical properties. Key concepts include a) objects are made of one or more materials; b) physical properties remain the same as the material is changed in visible size; and c) visible physical changes are identified.

Life Processes

Living Systems

Interrelationships in Earth/Space Systems

  • 3.7 The student will investigate and understand the major components of soil, its origin, and its importance to plants and animals including humans. Key concepts include a) soil provides the support and nutrients necessary for plant growth; b) topsoil is a natural product of subsoil and bedrock; c) rock, clay, silt, sand, and humus are components of soils; and d) soil is a natural resource and should be conserved.

    • observe and recognize that soil, as a natural resource, provides the support and nutrients necessary for plant growth.

    • understand the key terminology related to soil, including humus, nutrients, topsoil, and bedrock.

    • interpret and illustrate a basic diagram showing major soil layers, including bedrock, subsoil, and topsoil.

    • analyze and describe the different components of soil, including rock fragments, clay, silt, sand, and humus.

    • explain how soil forms over time.

    • design an investigation to compare how different types of soil affect plant growth. This includes organizing data in tables and constructing simple graphs.

    • collect, chart, and analyze data on soil conservation on the school grounds.

    • evaluate the importance of soil to people.

    • describe how soil can be conserved.

Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change

  • 3.8 The student will investigate and understand basic patterns and cycles occurring in nature. Key concepts include a) patterns of natural events such as day and night, seasonal changes, simple phases of the moon, and tides; b) animal life cycles; and c) plant life cycles.

  • 3.9 The student will investigate and understand the water cycle and its relationship to life on Earth. Key concepts include a) there are many sources of water on Earth; b) the energy from the sun drives the water cycle; c) the water cycle involves several processes; d) water is essential for living things; and e) water on Earth is limited and needs to be conserved.

    • identify the sun as the origin of energy that drives the water cycle.

    • describe the processes of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation as they relate to the water cycle.

    • construct and interpret a model of the water cycle.

    • identify the different ways that organisms get water from the environment.

    • identify major water sources for a community, including rivers, reservoirs, and wells. Describe the major water sources for the local community.

    • explain methods of water conservation in the home and school.

    • identify and communicate the importance of water to people and to other living organisms.

    • analyze possible sources of water pollution in their neighborhoods, at school, and in the local community. This includes runoff from over-fertilized lawns and fields, oil from parking lots, eroding soil, and animal waste.

Earth Resources

  • 3.10 The student will investigate and understand that natural events and human influences can affect the survival of species. Key concepts include a) the interdependency of plants and animals; b) the effects of human activity on the quality of air, water, and habitat; c) the effects of fire, flood, disease, and erosion on organisms; and d) conservation and resource renewal.

  • 3.11 The student will investigate and understand different sources of energy. Key concepts include a) energy from the sun; b) sources of renewable energy; and c) sources of nonrenewable energy.

    • explain that the sun is the major source of energy for Earth.

    • identify sources of energy and their uses.

    • describe how solar energy, wind, and moving water can be used to produce electricity.

    • describe how fossil fuels are used as an energy source.

    • compare and contrast renewable and nonrenewable energy sources.

    • analyze the advantages and disadvantages of using different naturally occurring energy sources.

    • design a basic investigation to determine the effects of sunlight on warming various objects and materials, including water.