What Is Environment In Grade 3?

The environment is one of the most important topics kids learn about in grade 3. Children at this age are curious about the world around them and are ready to dive deeper into understanding ecosystems, pollution, conservation, and more.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The environment in grade 3 refers to teaching kids about the natural world, ecosystems, conservation, pollution and sustainability.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore key environment concepts covered in grade 3 including ecosystems, the water cycle, pollution, conservation, and environmental stewardship. We’ll outline the environment topics third graders learn about and provide examples to help further your understanding.

Understanding Ecosystems

As a Grade 3 student, it’s important to learn about the environment and the different ecosystems that exist in our world. An ecosystem is a community of living organisms, such as plants and animals, and their non-living surroundings. It is a complex web of interactions where each organism plays a vital role.

What are ecosystems?

Ecosystems can be found in various places, from forests and deserts to oceans and even in your own backyard. They can be big or small, but they all have one thing in common – they are made up of living things and the environment they live in. In an ecosystem, plants provide food and oxygen for animals, while animals help in the pollination of plants and the dispersal of seeds.

Ecosystems are delicate and can easily be disrupted by human activities, such as deforestation and pollution. It is essential to understand the importance of preserving and protecting these ecosystems for the well-being of both humans and other organisms.

Major ecosystems

There are several major ecosystems on Earth, each with its unique characteristics. Some of the main ecosystems include:

  • The rainforest ecosystem, which is known for its high biodiversity and dense vegetation. It is home to various species of plants and animals.
  • The desert ecosystem, where extreme temperatures and limited water resources pose challenges for survival. However, many plants and animals have adapted to these harsh conditions.
  • The ocean ecosystem, covering about 70% of the Earth’s surface, is teeming with life. It is home to countless marine species, coral reefs, and other fascinating organisms.
  • The grassland ecosystem, characterized by vast stretches of grasses and grazing animals, is found in different regions around the world.

Flow of energy

In every ecosystem, there is a flow of energy that sustains life. This energy starts with the sun, which provides light and heat. Plants, through the process of photosynthesis, convert sunlight into food energy. This energy is then passed on to herbivores when they consume plants. Carnivores, in turn, obtain energy by consuming herbivores. This transfer of energy continues throughout the food chain.

Understanding the flow of energy in ecosystems is crucial as it helps us comprehend the interdependence between different organisms. It also highlights the importance of maintaining balanced ecosystems to ensure the survival of all living things.

For more information and interactive activities on ecosystems, you can visit websites such as National Geographic and Kids Discover. These resources provide excellent visual aids and educational content to further enhance your understanding of ecosystems.

The Water Cycle

What is the water cycle?

The water cycle is a continuous process that describes the movement of water on, above, and below the Earth’s surface. It is also known as the hydrological cycle. Water goes through various stages of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation, ensuring the constant circulation of water on our planet. This natural process is essential for maintaining life on Earth.

Key steps in the water cycle

The water cycle consists of several key steps. Firstly, the sun’s heat causes water from oceans, lakes, and rivers to evaporate into the atmosphere. This water vapor then rises and cools, forming clouds through a process called condensation. Next, the clouds release water droplets in the form of precipitation, which can be rain, snow, sleet, or hail. The water then falls back to the Earth’s surface, replenishing bodies of water and infiltrating the soil to become groundwater. Finally, the cycle repeats as the sun’s heat causes evaporation once again.

Importance of the water cycle

The water cycle is crucial for maintaining the Earth’s ecosystems and supporting life. It plays a vital role in regulating the Earth’s temperature, distributing heat, and influencing weather patterns. The water cycle also helps to purify water by removing impurities through the process of evaporation and condensation. Additionally, it ensures the availability of freshwater resources for plants, animals, and human beings. Without the water cycle, our planet would not be able to sustain life as we know it.

To learn more about the water cycle, you can visit National Geographic’s website for detailed information and interactive resources.


Types of pollution

Pollution refers to the presence of harmful substances or contaminants in the environment. There are several types of pollution that can have detrimental effects on our planet. Some of the most common types of pollution include:

  • Air pollution: This occurs when harmful gases and particles are released into the air, often from industrial activities, vehicles, and burning of fossil fuels.
  • Water pollution: This happens when pollutants such as chemicals, waste, and toxins are discharged into bodies of water, contaminating the water supply and endangering aquatic life.
  • Soil pollution: This occurs when the soil becomes contaminated with pollutants, such as chemicals, pesticides, and heavy metals, which can harm plants, animals, and humans.
  • Noise pollution: This is the presence of excessive or disturbing noise that can have negative effects on human health and well-being.

These different types of pollution can have severe consequences for the environment and the living organisms that inhabit it.

Effects of pollution

Pollution has far-reaching effects on both the environment and human health. Here are some of the main effects of pollution:

  • Environmental degradation: Pollution can lead to the destruction of ecosystems, loss of biodiversity, and disruption of natural processes.
  • Climate change: Certain types of pollution, such as greenhouse gas emissions, contribute to global warming and climate change.
  • Health problems: Exposure to pollutants can cause a wide range of health issues, including respiratory problems, skin diseases, and even cancer.
  • Loss of habitat: Pollution can destroy habitats, leading to the displacement or extinction of various species.

It is important to address pollution and its effects in order to protect our environment and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.

Preventing pollution

Preventing pollution requires collective effort and individual responsibility. Here are some steps that can be taken to reduce pollution:

  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle: Decreasing consumption and properly disposing of waste can help minimize pollution.
  • Use renewable energy sources: Switching to renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, can reduce reliance on fossil fuels and decrease air pollution.
  • Conserve water: Conserving water and preventing water pollution can help protect our water resources.
  • Limit the use of pesticides: Using organic and natural alternatives to pesticides can minimize soil and water pollution.

By adopting these practices and raising awareness about the importance of pollution prevention, we can all contribute to creating a cleaner and healthier environment.


Conservation is an important concept when it comes to protecting our environment. It involves the careful management and preservation of natural resources, habitats, and species. By conserving our environment, we ensure that future generations can enjoy the same benefits and beauty that we do today.

What is conservation?

Conservation is the act of using resources wisely and preventing their depletion. It involves making conscious choices to reduce waste, protect natural habitats, and preserve endangered species. Conservation is not only important for the environment, but it also plays a crucial role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems and supporting biodiversity.

Habitat conservation

Habitat conservation focuses on preserving the natural homes of plants and animals. It involves protecting and restoring ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, and coral reefs. By safeguarding these habitats, we ensure that the species that rely on them can continue to thrive. Habitat conservation efforts often involve measures like creating protected areas, implementing sustainable land management practices, and raising awareness about the importance of preserving these environments.

Species conservation

Species conservation aims to protect endangered and threatened species from extinction. It involves implementing strategies such as breeding programs, habitat restoration, and legal protection. Species conservation is crucial to maintaining the balance of ecosystems and preserving biodiversity. Without these efforts, many species would be lost forever, disrupting the web of life and affecting other organisms that depend on them.

Teaching conservation

Teaching conservation to children is essential for instilling a sense of responsibility and care for the environment. By educating young minds about the importance of conservation, we can inspire them to become stewards of the planet. Teaching conservation can be done through interactive activities, field trips to nature reserves, and incorporating environmental topics into the curriculum. It is also important to lead by example and demonstrate sustainable practices in our daily lives.

For more information on conservation and how you can get involved, check out World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy.

Environmental Stewardship

What is environmental stewardship?

Environmental stewardship refers to the responsible and sustainable management of our natural resources, with the goal of protecting and preserving the environment for future generations. It is about taking care of the Earth and making choices that have a positive impact on the environment. Environmental stewardship involves being aware of our actions and their potential consequences on the planet.

Ways kids can help the environment

Kids can play a significant role in environmental stewardship by taking small but meaningful actions to protect the environment. Here are some ways they can make a difference:

– Recycling: Teach children the importance of recycling and encourage them to recycle paper, plastic, and glass items. This helps reduce waste and conserves valuable resources.

– Conserving energy: Encourage kids to turn off lights and electronics when not in use, and to use energy-efficient appliances. This helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and saves energy.

– Planting trees: Planting trees is a great way to contribute to the environment. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and provide habitat for wildlife.

– Saving water: Teach children the importance of conserving water by turning off faucets when not in use, taking shorter showers, and fixing leaky faucets.

By engaging in these activities, children not only contribute to environmental preservation, but also develop a sense of responsibility and care for the world around them.

Developing environmental awareness

It is crucial to develop environmental awareness in children from a young age. By teaching them about the importance of environmental stewardship, we can instill a sense of responsibility and empower them to make a positive difference.

One way to develop environmental awareness is through education. Schools can incorporate environmental topics into their curriculum, teaching students about the impact of human activities on the environment, and ways to protect it.

Parents and guardians also play a vital role in nurturing environmental consciousness. By engaging in eco-friendly practices at home, such as composting, using reusable bags, and conserving water and energy, parents can lead by example and inspire their children to follow suit.

Additionally, getting children involved in outdoor activities and nature experiences can help foster a love and appreciation for the environment. Taking them on hikes, nature walks, or visits to local parks allows them to connect with nature firsthand and understand its beauty and importance.

Remember, environmental stewardship is a collective effort, and every small action counts. By nurturing environmental awareness in children and encouraging them to be mindful of their impact on the environment, we can shape a brighter and greener future for our planet.


– Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): https://www.epa.gov/students

– National Geographic Kids: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/


In third grade, students begin learning the basics of environmental science and human impact on the natural world. Key topics include ecosystems, the water cycle, pollution, conservation, and environmental stewardship. While the concepts are simplified for an 8-9 year old audience, third grade sets the stage for further environment education in later grades.

Understanding these core environment concepts in grade 3 helps kids appreciate the natural world and how to safeguard it for the future through everyday actions. If you have any other questions about the environment and third grade curriculum, please let me know!

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