What Do You Learn in 3rd Grade Math? Key Concepts and Skills

What Do You Learn in 3rd Grade Math Key Concepts and Skills

What Do You Learn in 3rd Grade Math?

In 3rd grade math, students learn to master basic arithmetic operationsaddition, subtraction, multiplication, and division—and are introduced to concepts like fractions, basic geometry, and measurement. They also develop problem-solving skills by applying these concepts to real-world scenarios.


Third grade marks a significant stage in a child’s mathematical journey, as it is the year when foundational math skills are solidified, setting the stage for more complex concepts in the years ahead. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore in-depth the key concepts and skills that students typically learn in 3rd grade math.

From arithmetic to geometry, we’ll delve into the essential topics, and provide practical numerical examples with detailed solutions to illustrate each concept. This thorough exploration will help parents, educators, and students alike gain a deeper understanding of the mathematical world that unfolds in the thirdgrade classroom.

Key Concepts and Skills in 3rd Grade Math

Basic Arithmetic:

Third graders continue to build on their arithmetic foundation with a focus on precision and fluency. Key skills include:


Students refine their addition and subtraction skills, tackling multi-digit numbers with regrouping. This involves a deep understanding of place value and the ability to perform operations such as:

   4 0 1
+ 1 0 0

    5 0 1


Students acquire subtraction skills, tackling multi-digit numbers with borrowing. This involves a deep understanding of place value and the ability to perform operations such as:

  4 0 1
– 1 0 0

    3 9 9


Mastery of multiplication tables up to 10 x 10 is crucial. For example, knowing that 7 x 8 = 56 is essential.


Understanding division and its relationship to multiplication is fundamental. Students learn to divide numbers with and without remainders, building a strong foundation for more complex division problems in later grades.


Third graders are introduced to fractions, learning to conceptualize and represent them. Key concepts include:

Fraction Concepts

Understanding halves, thirds, fourths, and other common fractions. Students learn to recognize and represent fractions using visual models, such as fraction bars or circles. For example, recognizing that 1/2 is the same as 2/4 and shading one-third (1/3) of a given shape:

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Fraction concepts are reinforced through visual representations and handson activities. Students learn to recognize equivalent fractions and understand the relationship between fractions and whole numbers.


Measurement skills expand to include length, weight, and capacity. Students use standard units and develop an understanding of measurement concepts. Key skills include:


Measuring objects using standard units such as inches, feet, centimeters, and meters. For instance, measuring the length of a pencil in inches:

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Weighing objects using ounces and pounds. Students learn to compare and order weights, finding the weight of objects or combinations of objects.


Exploring the concepts of volume and capacity, students learn to compare the capacity of containers and measure the volume of liquids in cups, pints, quarts, and gallons.

Numerical Examples 

Let’s dive into more numerical examples to gain a comprehensive understanding of 3rdgrade math concepts:

Example 1

Addition and Subtraction (Regrouping)

Problem: Add 486 and 297.


4 8 6
+ 2 9 7

7 7 3

In this example, students are challenged with adding two three-digit numbers that require regrouping. They learn to align numbers by place value, add from right to left, and manage to regroup efficiently.

Example 2

Multiplication Tables

Problem: Calculate 6 x 9.


6 x 9 = 54

Mastery of multiplication tables is a critical skill. Third graders learn to apply these facts fluently and use them as building blocks for more complex multiplication.

Example 3

Division with Remainders

Problem: Divide 47 by 6.


6 | 47
     – 42
                       5 (remainder)

Understanding division with remainders is essential. Students learn to perform long division, understanding that it represents the division of objects into groups and the leftover items.

Example 4

Fraction Concepts

Problem: Shade 2/4 of a given shape.


In the shape below, shading two-fourths (2/4) means coloring half of the shape.

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Fraction concepts are reinforced through visual representations and hands-on activities. Students learn to recognize equivalent fractions and understand the relationship between fractions and whole numbers.

Example 5

Measurement (Weight)

Problem: Find the total weight of two objects weighing 5 ounces and 8 ounces.


To find the total weight, add the weights of the objects: 5 ounces + 8 ounces = 13 ounces.

Third graders explore weight measurement, solving problems that involve adding and subtracting weights and understanding how to use ounces and pounds for measurement.

Example 6

Measurement (Capacity)

Problem: Determine which container holds more liquid—one that can hold 3 cups or one that can hold 1 quart.


Recognizing that 1 quart is equivalent to 4 cups, the container that can hold 1 quart holds more liquid.

Capacity concepts involve understanding equivalencies between units (e.g., cups, pints, quarts, gallons) and comparing the capacity of different containers.

These detailed examples showcase the diverse range of mathematical skills and concepts that 3rdgrade students acquire. From mastering basic arithmetic to grasping fractions, measurement, and the principles of division, these skills provide a strong mathematical foundation for further exploration and growth in the years ahead.


Third grade is a pivotal year in a student’s mathematical journey, where foundational math skills are honed, and a solid mathematical framework is constructed. The key concepts and skills learned in 3rdgrade math, as illustrated through numerical examples, serve as the building blocks for more advanced mathematical concepts in subsequent years.

These skills empower students to tackle complex problems, think critically, and apply mathematical reasoning to real-world situations. By gaining proficiency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and measurement, 3rd graders develop a strong mathematical foundation that extends beyond the classroom.

These skills enable them to engage with mathematics in a meaningful way, laying the groundwork for a future filled with mathematical exploration and problem-solving. As students continue their mathematical journey, they carry with them the invaluable knowledge and skills acquired during this crucial stage of learning