BlogMath for KidsHow to Teach 3rd Grade Math: Concepts, Tips, and Strategies

# How to Teach 3rd Grade Math: Concepts, Tips, and Strategies

Wondering how to teach 3rd-grade math without overwhelming 8-to-9-year-old kids with all the new concepts? Teaching 3rd-grade math can feel like trying to juggle watermelons while riding a unicycle! What do 3rd graders learn in math? It is where the math magic really begins! Kids dive into new territories—fractions, multiplication, division, area, and perimeter!

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In this guide, we will explore important 3rd-grade math topics, common pitfalls, practical tips, and FREE resources for teachers, including 3rd-grade math lesson plans, digital teaching tools, 3rd-grade math games, printable math worksheets for 3rd graders, and more! To help students who need a little extra support with earlier concepts, read our blog—How to Teach 2nd-Grade Math—for targeted tips and resources.

## How to Teach 3rd-Grade Math

A well-structured teaching plan can make all the difference in the classroom. Introduce new strategies one step at a time and allow time for them to sink in. Kids learn best when they can connect new knowledge to their existing “math backpack” and especially when they can immediately see its usefulness (yes, we are dealing with smarties now!).

Introducing new math skills can be challenging, especially with the “invisible load” teachers carry (lesson prep, joining committees, endless meetings, and whatnot!). Let’s plan ahead, then! If you’re the kind of teacher who finds peace of mind in pre-planning resources, or if you’re a parent looking for reliable guidance to steer your child’s learning journey, this guide is perfect for you.

So, are you ready to explore how to teach 3rd-grade math? Let’s dive into 3rd-grade math concepts and teaching strategies!

Let’s understand how to teach addition and subtraction to 3rd graders. In Grade 3, students learn to add and subtract numbers within 1000 using various strategies.

• Help them add or subtract ones, tens, and hundreds separately. You can use hundreds charts, base 10 blocks, and expanded forms to show how to decompose numbers. You can also effectively use place value charts!
• Create an anchor chart to highlight the three steps of the standard algorithm for 3-digit addition and subtraction. Show different ways kids can perform this operation—using base-10 blocks, using the expanded form, number line strategy, and the standard algorithm.
• Reinforce how changing the order of addends does not affect the sum (commutative property).
• Help them express subtraction problems as addition problems. (If A − B = ?, then B + ? = A).

All these tiny bits are wonderfully implemented in our engaging pre-made lesson plans. Explore detailed lesson overviews, activities, instructional guidance, exit tickets, and more!

Our interactive games transform addition and subtraction practice into an exciting adventure. Perfect for supercharging spiral reviews or revision time! Here’s a sneak peek into our interactive addition and subtraction games for 3rd graders:

Worksheets are great for drilling down on specific skills like simplifying addition problems. They’re like targeted practice for your students. Plus, they can help you spot where kids might be making mistakes. Give them a try!

### 2. Rounding Off

Teaching rounding numbers to kids is fun because it is easy to connect it to daily life. We use it every day, and even kids use it unknowingly. So, discuss the underlying purpose of learning this estimation skill during number talks.

• Use number lines and number charts to help kids visualize and understand why we round up or down. Show the midpoint and let them see whether a number rounds up or down. You can project this FREE Number Line Teaching Tool in your classroom for simple demonstrations. You can hide jumps and choose any number range you want.

Let kids play rounding on a number line through online games! It’s a fun and effective way to practice rounding.

• Use relatable examples, like how kids often say they studied for 30 minutes, even for 25, or how we often say something cost us \$100 when it’s actually \$101! This explains the need for estimation in daily life and the idea of going to the next or previous multiple of 10.

Once kids are confident, you can plan Challenge Corners in the classroom using worksheets. Print them out and challenge kids to solve as many rounding problems as possible in a set time!

### 3. Multiplication

NOTE: Before moving on, let’s discuss this: Do you teach multiplication and division together or separately?

It’s an excellent question that has no definitive or one-size-fits-all answer—some teachers prefer to establish a strong foundation in multiplication first, while others introduce both concepts together using fact families to highlight their connection as inverse operations. The best approach ultimately depends on your students’ needs.

Regardless of your method, it’s always helpful to start by discussing why we need to learn multiplication and division. For instance, ask your students: “What if you had to add the number 5 to itself 88 times? Would you want to do that repeatedly?” This can lead to a conversation about how multiplication simplifies repeated addition.

Similarly, you can introduce division with a scenario that demonstrates how it’s the flip side of the same concept. Both examples help students see the practical value of these operations.

Now, let’s discuss how to teach multiplication and explore steps to create engaging lesson plans

Step 1: Equal groups and arrays: Use teaching resources that will save you time, effort, and the energy that goes into prep work. Try our free, interactive lesson plans that are easy to present in the class and ready to use! Enjoy lively discussions with your class and watch as kids enjoy various multiplication array activities. Never feel rushed!

Project our FREE Multiplication Teaching Tool in the classroom. Write a multiplication fact and create arrays or equal groups with just a click. This is also a great opportunity to introduce the terms “factor” and “product.” Help kids see that the × symbol represents “equal groups of.”

To help kids master multiplication within 100 (basically to help them memorize the product of any two 1-digit numbers), you can refer to the following multiplication strategies chart. Use multiplication charts to visualize!:

Need to make multiplication more fun for kids? Use interactive educational games in math stations during the week you teach multiplication skills.

Keep kids on their toes with varied practice! Conduct frequent practice tests using a variety of worksheets! Create task cards that mix different types of problems. When problems are too similar, kids can fall into mechanical practice without really thinking. Mixing up the problems ensures that students truly grasp the relationship between arrays, equal groups, and multiplication sentences.

Step 2: Times Tables: Should multiplication tables be memorized? It’s a common question among parents. While the true goal is a deeper understanding, memorizing times tables has its own benefits. It helps kids fluently recall multiplication facts, boosts speed, and improves their mental math skills. Encourage kids to explore times tables, discover various patterns, find tricks, and share them with the class. This can be incredibly beneficial. Explore our engaging lessons that provide ready-to-use activities or inspiration for your own creative lessons.