Students in third, fourth, and fifth grades range in age from 8 to 11 years. These are years of intellectual expansiveness. Students transition from understanding concrete ideas to an increased ability to understand abstract thinking. Third, fourth, and fifth grade students are interested in the natural world, building friendships, learning how things are put together, and in how systems around them work. During these years, they learn key developmental skills to work with peer groups and begin to manage their own learning more independently.

Third grade students are full of ideas and like to explain their thinking. They enjoy working cooperatively and become engrossed in the activity at hand. A primary focus of third grade students is discovery and exploration. They are industrious, full of energy, and often exhibit curiosity. In addition, third grade students are generally able to reason about the conclusions and implications of their investigations and learnings.

Fourth grade students have intellectual curiosity but are often less imaginative than third graders. They relate more to the subject matter and look to their teacher as a guide. Fourth grade students look for explanations of facts, how things work, and why things happen as they do. In addition, the ability to deal with multiple variables emerges at this grade level. This is a great age for learning through exploration and group work.

Fifth grade students are interested and motivated by the learning around them. They are actively receptive as learners of factual information and often love to memorize. Perhaps because they like logic and like to organize, collections are of particular interest at this age. Fifth grade students are capable problem solvers and have an increasing ability to think in abstract ways. They work best when following a set scheduled of activities.