In Grade 3, instructional time should focus on four critical areas: (1) developing understanding of multiplication and division and strategies for multiplication and division within 100; (2) developing understanding of fractions, especially unit fractions (fractions with numerator 1); (3) developing understanding of the structure of rectangular arrays and of area; and (4) describing and analyzing two-dimensional shapes.

Mathematical Practices (It is suggested that these 8 practices are posted in every classroom)
  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  4. Model with mathematics.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  6. Attend to precision.
  7. Look for and make use of structure.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

Math Practices Classroom Posters
2nd Grade Problems on Illustrative Math
Teachers can use these problems to both teach the mathematical practices as well as do beginning of the year assessments.
EM Lesson 1.4 Tools for Mathematics


"A good teacher borrows liberally. An excellent teacher steals outright."

Illustrative Math
Activities and problems for every standard and critical area.
The Math Learning Center
Activities and problems available for free download for each standard.
k-5 Teaching Resources
Activities and problems in all areas. Great for center work and games.
Everyday Mathematics Vocabulary with Pictures
This school district has revised their vocabulary list to match Common Core. The pictures are in color if you have a colored printer to use!

Critical Areas

  • 1. Students develop an understanding of the meanings of multiplication and division of whole numbers through activities and problems involving equal-sized groups, arrays, and area models; multiplication is finding an unknown product, and division is finding an unknown factor in these situations. For equal-sized group situations, division can require finding the unknown number of groups or the unknown group size. Students use properties of operations to calculate products of whole numbers, using increasingly sophisticated strategies based on these properties to solve multiplication and division problems involving single-digit factors. By comparing a variety of solution strategies, students learn the relationship between multiplication and division.
  • 2. Students develop an understanding of fractions, beginning with unit fractions. Students view fractions in general as being built out of unit fractions, and they use fractions along with visual fraction models to represent parts of a whole. Students understand that the size of a fractional part is relative to the size of the whole. For example, 1/2 of the paint in a small bucket could be less paint than 1/3 of the paint in a larger bucket, but 1/3 of a ribbon is longer than 1/5 of the same ribbon because when the ribbon is divided into 3 equal parts, the parts are longer than when the ribbon is divided into 5 equal parts. Students are able to use fractions to represent numbers equal to, less than, and greater than one. They solve problems that involve comparing fractions by using visual fraction models and strategies based on noticing equal numerators or denominators.
  • 3. Students recognize area as an attribute of two-dimensional regions. They measure the area of a shape by finding the total number of same-size units of area required to cover the shape without gaps or overlaps, a square with sides of unit length being the standard unit for measuring area. Students understand that rectangular arrays can be decomposed into identical rows or into identical columns. By decomposing rectangles into rectangular arrays of squares, students connect area to multiplication, and justify using multiplication to determine the area of a rectangle.
  • 4. Students describe, analyze, and compare properties of two-dimensional shapes. They compare and classify shapes by their sides and angles, and connect these with definitions of shapes. Students also relate their fraction work to geometry by expressing the area of part of a shape as a unit fraction of the whole.

Operations & Algebraic Thinking

Represent and solve problems involving multiplication and division.

EM Lesson 4.8 Exploring Arrays & Facts: Exploration A (Estimating a Number of Dots)
EM Lesson 4.8 Exploring Arrays & Facts: Exploration B (Setting up Chairs)

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.A.1 Interpret products of whole numbers, e.g., interpret 5 × 7 as the total number of objects in 5 groups of 7 objects each. For example, describe a context in which a total number of objects can be expressed as 5 × 7.
Learning in 3rd Blogspot
Use this activity sheet with a small group or as independent work for students to show understanding of multiplication in pictures, addition problems, and multiplication facts.
EM Lesson 4.1 Multiples of Equal Groups
EM Lesson 4.2 Multiplication Arrays

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.A.2 Interpret whole-number quotients of whole numbers, e.g., interpret 56 ÷ 8 as the number of objects in each share when 56 objects are partitioned equally into 8 shares, or as a number of shares when 56 objects are partitioned into equal shares of 8 objects each. For example, describe a context in which a number of shares or a number of groups can be expressed as 56 ÷ 8.
EM Lesson 4.3 Equal Shares and Equal Groups

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.A.3 Use multiplication and division within 100 to solve word problems in situations involving equal groups, arrays, and measurement quantities, e.g., by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.1
EM Lesson 4.4 Division Ties to Multiplication

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.A.4 Determine the unknown whole number in a multiplication or division equation relating three whole numbers. For example, determine the unknown number that makes the equation true in each of the equations 8 × ? = 48, 5 = _ ÷ 3, 6 × 6 = ?

Understand properties of multiplication and the relationship between multiplication and division.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.B.5 Apply properties of operations as strategies to multiply and divide.2Examples: If 6 × 4 = 24 is known, then 4 × 6 = 24 is also known. (Commutative property of multiplication.) 3 × 5 × 2 can be found by 3 × 5 = 15, then 15 × 2 = 30, or by 5 × 2 = 10, then 3 × 10 = 30. (Associative property of multiplication.) Knowing that 8 × 5 = 40 and 8 × 2 = 16, one can find 8 × 7 as 8 × (5 + 2) = (8 × 5) + (8 × 2) = 40 + 16 = 56. (Distributive property.)
  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.B.6 Understand division as an unknown-factor problem. For example, find 32 ÷ 8 by finding the number that makes 32 when multiplied by 8.

Multiply and divide within 100.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.C.7 Fluently multiply and divide within 100, using strategies such as the relationship between multiplication and division (e.g., knowing that 8 × 5 = 40, one knows 40 ÷ 5 = 8) or properties of operations. By the end of Grade 3, know from memory all products of two one-digit numbers.

  • 25 Super Cool Math Board Games by Loraine Hopping Egan

EM Lesson 4.5 Multiplication Fact Power and Shortcuts
EM Lesson 4.6 Multiplication and Division Fact Families
EM Lesson 4.7 Baseball Multiplication
EM Lesson 4.8 Exploring Arrays and Facts: Exploration C (Multiplication & Division Fact Platter)
EM Lesson 7.1 Pattern in Products
EM Lesson 7.2 Multiplication Facts Survey
EM Lesson 7.3 Fact Power
EM Lesson 9.2 Using Mental Math to Multiply

Ten Ways to Practice Multiplication Facts
Ten methods students can use to practice and learn multiplication facts at home or in class.

Solve problems involving the four operations, and identify and explain patterns in arithmetic.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.D.8 Solve two-step word problems using the four operations. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.3
EM Lesson 1.11 Solving Problems with Dollars and Cents
EM Lesson 7.4 Number Models with Parantheses
EM Lesson 7.5 Scoring in Basketball: An Application

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.OA.D.9 Identify arithmetic patterns (including patterns in the addition table or multiplication table), and explain them using properties of operations. For example, observe that 4 times a number is always even, and explain why 4 times a number can be decomposed into two equal addends.
EM Lesson 1.1 Numbers and Number Sequence
EM Lesson 1.2 Number Grids
EM Lesson 1.6 Equivalent Names
EM Lesson 1.12 Patterns
EM Lesson 7.2 Multiplication Facts Survey

Number & Operations in Base Ten

Use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic.¹

EM Lesson 7.7 Estimating Costs
  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NBT.A.2 Fluently add and subtract within 1000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.
EM Lesson 1.8 Finding Differences
EM Lesson 2.1 Fact Families
EM Lesson 2.2 Extension of Addition and Subtraction Facts
EM Lesson 2.3 "What's My Rule?"
EM Lesson 2.4 Parts-and-Total Number Stories
EM Lesson 2.5 Change Number Stories
EM Lesson 2.6 Comparison Number Stories
EM Lesson 2.7 The Partial Sums Algorithms
EM Lesson 2.8 Subtraction Algorithms
EM Lesson 2.9 Addition with Three or More Addends
EM Journal pg. 88
Mental Math Video for Teachers
One teachers explains how she works with her 3rd grade students to do mental math. Students share out and explain strategies using common math vocabulary

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NBT.A.3 Multiply one-digit whole numbers by multiples of 10 in the range 10–90 (e.g., 9 × 80, 5 × 60) using strategies based on place value and properties of operations.
EM Lesson 7.6 Extended Facts: Multiplication and Division
EM Lesson 7.8 Extended Facts: Products of Tens
EM Lesson 7.9 Exploring Ratios and Geometric Figures: Exploration B (Exploring Ratio Problems)
EM Lesson 9.1 Multiply & Divide with Mulitples of 10,100, and 1,000

Number & Operations—Fractions¹

Common Core Tool Box

Gives examples of the kinds of questions students will be asked on the Smarter Balanced test to show their deeper understanding of fractions.
Fractions videos for Teachers
Are you looking to better understand the fractions progression from third grade to the upper grades; watch these videos.

Develop understanding of fractions as numbers.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.1 Understand a fraction 1/b as the quantity formed by 1 part when awhole is partitioned into b equal parts; understand a fraction a/b as the quantity formed by a parts of size 1/b.
EM Lesson 5.7 Model Decimals with Base-10 Blocks
EM Lesson 8.1 Naming Parts of Fractions
EM Lesson 8.3 Exploring Fractions, Re-forming Squares, and Combinations: Exploration A: Finding
Relationships among Shapes
EM Lesson 8.8 Fractions in Number Stories

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.2 Understand a fraction as a number on the number line; represent fractions on a number line diagram.
  • EM Lesson 8.4 Number-Line Posters for Fractions
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.2a Represent a fraction 1/b on a number line diagram by defining the interval from 0 to 1 as the whole and partitioning it into b equal parts. Recognize that each part has size 1/b and that the endpoint of the part based at 0 locates the number 1/b on the number line.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.2b Represent a fraction a/b on a number line diagram by marking off a lengths 1/b from 0. Recognize that the resulting interval has size a/b and that its endpoint locates the number a/b on the number line.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.3 Explain equivalence of fractions in special cases, and compare fractions by reasoning about their size.
  • EM Lesson 8.5 Equivalent Fractions
  • EM Lesson 8.6 Comparing Fractions
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.3a Understand two fractions as equivalent (equal) if they are the same size, or the same point on a number line.

    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.3b Recognize and generate simple equivalent fractions, e.g., 1/2 = 2/4, 4/6 = 2/3. Explain why the fractions are equivalent, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.3c Express whole numbers as fractions, and recognize fractions that are equivalent to whole numbers. Examples: Express 3 in the form 3 = 3/1; recognize that 6/1 = 6; locate 4/4 and 1 at the same point of a number line diagram.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.3d Compare two fractions with the same numerator or the same denominator by reasoning about their size. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two fractions refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with the symbols >, =, or <, and justify the conclusions, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.

Measurement & Data

Solve problems involving measurement and estimation.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.A.1 Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes. Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time intervals in minutes, e.g., by representing the problem on a number line diagram.
EM Lesson 1.4 Tools for Mathematics
EM Lesson 1.13 The Length-of-Day Project
EM Lesson 5.12 Sunrise-Sunset Line Graph
  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.A.2 Measure and estimate liquid volumes and masses of objects using standard units of grams (g), kilograms (kg), and liters (l).1 Add, subtract, multiply, or divide to solve one-step word problems involving masses or volumes that are given in the same units, e.g., by using drawings (such as a beaker with a measurement scale) to represent the problem.2

Represent and interpret data.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.B.3 Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. For example, draw a bar graph in which each square in the bar graph might represent 5 pets.
EM Lesson 1.5 Analyzing and Displaying Data
EM Journal 1 p. 18A and 18B
EM Lesson 3.5 A Pattern-Block Toss Experiment
EM Lesson 4.10 A Coin Toss Experiment
EM Math Journal p. 103A & 103B
Bridges with Math Data Activities
This website has resources for data graphing.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.B.4 Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units- whole numbers, halves, or quarters.
EM Lesson 3.1 A "Class Shoe" Unit of Length
EM Lesson 3.1 Measuring with a Ruler
EM Lesson 3.3 Standard Linear Measures

Geometric measurement: understand concepts of area and relate area to multiplication and to addition.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.C.5 Recognize area as an attribute of plane figures and understand concepts of area measurement.
  • EM Lesson 3.8 Number Models for Area
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.C.5a A square with side length 1 unit, called “a unit square,” is said to have “one square unit” of area, and can be used to measure area.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.C.5b A plane figure which can be covered without gaps or overlaps by n unit squares is said to have an area of n square units.
  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.C.6 Measure areas by counting unit squares (square cm, square m, square in, square ft, and improvised units).
  • EM Lesson 3.7 Area
  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.C.7 Relate area to the operations of multiplication and addition.
  • EM Math Journal pg. 96A
  • EM Lesson 3.6 Exploring Perimeter and Area: Exploration B
  • EM Lesson 3.8 Number Models for Area
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.C.7a Find the area of a rectangle with whole-number side lengths by tiling it, and show that the area is the same as would be found by multiplying the side lengths.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.C.7b Multiply side lengths to find areas of rectangles with whole-number side lengths in the context of solving real world and mathematical problems, and represent whole-number products as rectangular areas in mathematical reasoning.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.C.7c Use tiling to show in a concrete case that the area of a rectangle with whole-number side lengths a and b + c is the sum of a × b and a × c. Use area models to represent the distributive property in mathematical reasoning.
    • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.C.7d Recognize area as additive. Find areas of rectilinear figures by decomposing them into non-overlapping rectangles and adding the areas of the non-overlapping parts, applying this technique to solve real world problems.
    • EM Journal pg. 96B

Geometric measurement: recognize perimeter.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.D.8 Solve real world and mathematical problems involving perimeters of polygons, including finding the perimeter given the side lengths, finding an unknown side length, and exhibiting rectangles with the same perimeter and different areas or with the same area and different perimeters.
EM Lesson 3.4 Perimeter
EM Lesson 3.6 Exploring Perimeters and Area: Exploration A
EM Lesson 3.6 Exploring Perimeters and Area: Exploration C
EM Math Journal pg. 83
EM Lesson 5.6 Exploration C: Finding Perimeters, Areas, and Shapes of Polygons


Reason with shapes and their attributes.

  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.G.A.1 Understand that shapes in different categories (e.g., rhombuses, rectangles, and others) may share attributes (e.g., having four sides), and that the shared attributes can define a larger category (e.g., quadrilaterals). Recognize rhombuses, rectangles, and squares as examples of quadrilaterals, and draw examples of quadrilaterals that do not belong to any of these subcategories.
EM Lesson 5.6 Exploration B: Identifying Squares, Rectangles, and Triangles
EM Lesson 6.5 Quadrangles
EM Lesson 7.9 Exploring Ratios and Geometric Figures: Exploration A (Exploring Similar Polygons)
  • CCSS.Math.Content.3.G.A.2 Partition shapes into parts with equal areas. Express the area of each part as a unit fraction of the whole. For example, partition a shape into 4 parts with equal area, and describe the area of each part as 1/4 of the area of the shape.