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Alabama: 3rd-Grade Standards

AL.3. Standard: Geographical and Historical Studies—People, Places, and Regions

Third grade students will learn geographic information regarding areas of the United States as well as the world. Students in Grade 3 learn from concrete experiences and benefit from resources such as pictures, graphs, maps, globes, and information technology that help make abstractions more concrete.


  • 3.1.1 Students will:

    Locate the prime meridian, equator, Tropic of Capricorn, Tropic of Cancer, International Date Line, and lines of latitude and longitude on maps and globes (Geography).

  • 3.1.2 Students will practice:

    • Using cardinal and intermediate directions to locate
      on a map or globe an area in Alabama or the world
    • Using coordinates to locate points on a grid
    • Determining distance between places on a map using a scale
    • Locating physical and cultural regions using labels,
      symbols, and legends on an Alabama or world map
    • Describing the use of geospatial technologies
      • Grade Level Example:

        Global Positioning System (GPS), geographic information system (GIS)

    • Interpreting information on thematic maps
      • Grade Level Example:

        population, vegetation, climate, growing season, irrigation

    • Using vocabulary associated with maps and globes, including megalopolis, landlocked, border, and elevation


  • 3.2.1 Students will:

    Locate the continents on a map or globe (Geography).

  • 3.2.2 Students will practice:

    • Using vocabulary associated with geographical features of Earth, including hills, plateau, valley, peninsula, island, isthmus, ice cap, and glaciers
    • Locating major mountain ranges, oceans, rivers, and lakes throughout the world


  • 3.3.1 Students will:

    Describe ways the environment is affected by humans in Alabama and the world (Economics, Geography).

    • Grade Level Example:

      crop rotation, oil spills, landfills, clearing of forests, replacement of cleared lands, restocking of fish in waterways

  • 3.3.2 Students will practice:

    Using vocabulary associated with human influence on the environment, including irrigation, aeration, urbanization, reforestation, erosion, and migration


  • 3.4.1 Students will:

    Relate population dispersion to geographic, economic, and historic changes in Alabama and the world (Economics, History, Geography).

    • Grade Level Example:

      geographic—flood, hurricane, tsunami
      economic—crop failure
      historic—disease, war, migration

  • 3.4.2 Students will practice:

    Identifying human and physical criteria used to define regions and boundaries

    • Grade Level Example:

      human—city boundaries, school district lines
      physical—hemispheres, regions within continents or countries


  • 3.5.1 Students will:

    Compare trading patterns between countries and regions (Economics, Geography).

  • 3.5.2 Students will practice:

    • Differentiating between producers and consumers
    • Differentiating between imports and exports
      • Grade Level Example:

        imports—coffee, crude oil
        exports—corn, wheat, automobiles


  • 3.6.1 Students will:

    Identify conflicts within and between geographic areas involving use of land, economic competition for scarce resources, opposing political views, boundary disputes, and cultural differences. (Economics, Geography, History, Civics and Government).

  • 3.6.2 Students will practice:

    • Identifying examples of cooperation among governmental agencies within and between different geographic areas
      • Grade Level Example:

        American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), World Health Organization (WHO)

    • Locating areas of political conflict on maps and globes
    • Explaining the role of the United Nations (UN) and the United States in resolving conflict within and between geographic areas


  • 3.7.1 Students will:

    Describe the relationship between locations of resources and patterns of population distribution (Economics, Geography).

    • Grade Level Example:

      presence of trees for building homes, availability of natural gas supply for heating, availability of water supply for drinking and for irrigating crops

  • 3.7.2 Students will practice:

    • Locating major natural resources and deposits throughout the world on topographical maps
    • Comparing present-day mechanization of labor with the historical use of human labor for harvesting natural resources
      • Grade Level Example:

        present-day practices of using machinery to mine coal and harvest cotton and pecans

    • Explaining the geographic impact of using petroleum, coal, nuclear power, and solar power as major energy sources in the twenty-first century


  • 3.8.1 Students will:

    Identify geographic links of land regions, river systems, and interstate highways between Alabama and other states (Economics, Geography, Civics and Government).

    • Grade Level Example:

      Appalachian Mountains, Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, Interstate Highway 65 (I-65), Natchez Trace parkway

  • 3.8.2 Students will practice:

    • Locating the five geographic regions of Alabama
    • Locating state and national parks on a map or globe


  • 3.9.1 Students will:

    Identify ways to prepare for natural disasters (Economics, Geography).

    • Grade Level Example:

      constructing houses on stilts in flood-prone areas, buying earthquake and flood insurance, providing hurricane or tornado shelters, establishing emergency evacuation routes


  • 3.10.1 Students will:

    Recognize functions of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States (History, Civics and Government).

  • 3.10.2 Students will practice:

    • Describing the process by which a bill becomes law
    • Explaining the relationship between the federal government and state governments, including the three branches of government
    • Defining governmental systems, including democracy, monarchy, and dictatorship


  • 3.11.1 Students will:

    Interpret various primary sources for reconstructing the past, including documents, letters, diaries, maps, and photographs. (History, Geography).

    • Grade Level Example:

      Comparing maps of the past to maps of the present


  • 3.12. Students will:

    Explain the significance of representations of American values and beliefs, including the Statue of Liberty, the statue of Lady Justice, the United States flag, and the national anthem. (History).


  • 3.12.1 Students will:

    Describe prehistoric and historic American Indian cultures, governments, and economics in Alabama (Economics, History, Geography, Civics and Government).

    • Grade Level Example:

      prehistoric American Indians—Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian
      historic American Indians—Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek

  • 3.12.2 Students will practice:

    Identifying roles of archaeologists and paleontologists