In the first unit of Grade 3, students will build on their understanding of the structure of the place value system from Grade 2 (MP.7) to estimate values by rounding them (3.NBT.1) and develop fluency with the standard algorithm of addition and subtraction (3.NBT.2). Throughout the unit, students attend to the precision of their calculations (MP.6) and use them to solve real-world problems (MP.4).
In Grade 2, students developed an understanding of the structure of the base-ten system as based in repeated bundling in groups of 10. With this deepened understanding of the place value system, Grade 2 students "add and subtract within 1000, with composing and decomposing, and they understand and explain the reasoning of the processes they use" (NBT Progressions, p. 8). These processes and strategies include concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction (2.NBT.7). As such, at the end of Grade 2, students are able to add and subtract within 1,000 using a variety of strategies including algorithms, but are not yet fluent with them.
Thus, Unit 1 starts off with reinforcing some of this place value understanding of thousands, hundreds, tens, and ones being made up of 10 of the unit to its right that students learned in Grade 2. Students use this sense of magnitude and the idea of benchmark numbers to first place numbers on number lines of various endpoints and intervals, and next use those number lines as a model to help them round two-digit numbers to the tens place as well as three-digit numbers to the hundreds and tens place (3.NBT.1). Next, students focus on developing their fluency with the addition and subtraction algorithms up to 1,000, making connections to the place value understandings and other models they learned in Grade 2 (3.NBT.2). Last, the unit culminates in a synthesis of all learning thus far in the unit, in which students solve one- and two-step word problems involving addition and subtraction and use rounding to assess the reasonableness of their answer (3.OA.8), connecting the NBT and OA domains. These skills are developed further and built upon in subsequent units in which students estimate and solve two-step word problems that also involve multiplication and division.
This builds toward an even deeper understanding of the place value system that students learn in Grade 4. In Grade 4, students learn about multiplicative comparison, i.e., a value being x times as many as another value. Thus, students’ understanding of the place value system is more precisely refined as "a digit in one place represents ten times what it represents in the place to its right" (4.NBT.1, emphasis ours). Further, students learn to round any multi-digit number to any place. They also use the standard algorithm to solve addition and subtraction problems to the new place values they encounter at this grade level, namely, to one million. Thus, while the majority of the content learned in this unit is additional cluster content, they are deeply important skills necessary to fully master the major work of the grade with 3.OA.8, as well as a foundation for rounding and the standard algorithms used to any place value learned in Grade 4 (4.NBT.1—4) and depended on for many grade levels after that.
Pacing: 16 instructional days (14 lessons, 1 flex day, 1 assessment day)