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Grade 3

Social Studies

Curriculum Overview

In Grade 3 Social Studies, students are introduced to some of the diverse communities which existed in Canada between approximately 1780 and 1850. Students will explore what life was like for different groups of people during that time period and will compare the lives of these people to those of present-day Canadians. They will use primary sources such as journals, letters, maps, and paintings to investigate how people in early Canada responded to challenges in their lives. Students will explore the relationship between the natural environment, land use, and employment opportunities, and how different uses of land and resources affect the environment.  

Through social studies, students are provided with opportunities to explore various topics that will enable them to develop an understanding of the connections within and between diverse communities, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities as well as students’ own communities. They will develop an understanding of personal, cultural, and national identities and of various contributions to Canada. They will also look at the impact of colonialism and the rights and responsibilities associated with citizenship. 

The social studies curriculum is divided into two strands:

  • Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, 1780–1850

  • People and Environment: Living and Working in Ontario

Interested in learning more? View Curriculum PDF
For French resources, please visit idello.org

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Review this list of vocabulary associated with the curriculum. Practice spelling, research definitions, and find these vocabulary words when engaging with the TVO resources or completing learning activities.

Students should understand and be able to apply these words in context.

  • Heritage and Identity
    Communities in Canada, 1780–1850
  • People and Environment
    Living and Working in Ontario





daily life 










beliefs and values 

digital map 


environmental stewardship 


land use 


natural environment 

physical regions 


print map 




Resources for Learning

Chosen by TVO educators, these resources support the curriculum outlined above. Review the below list of options along with the activities. Then, read, watch, listen or play to build understanding and knowledge.

Complete the suggested activities using these resources and other TVO resources.

Suggested Activities

Complete these activities to consolidate learning across all curriculum strands.

  • Create your own definitions for 20 of the words in the vocabulary list.
  • What impact do human activities and different land uses have on the environment? Moving forward, how can we ensure we reduce their impact?
  • What would you say are the main differences between your day-to-day life and the life of a child living in Upper Canada in 1800?
  • What challenges did settlers face living far from towns? What challenges did people face living in developing towns? What are some of the ways in which people responded to challenges related to the climate of their community?
  • What types of things could newcomers have learned from the people who were already living in the area where the newcomers were settling?
  • During the same time period, how did First Nations and settlers view childhood? Have these views changed to today? and if so, how? Explain.
  • In what ways are our lives similar to and different from the lives of people in the past?
  • How do physical features influence the ways in which land is used? How does the way land is used influence local communities and local jobs?
  • Why are some jobs dependent on the seasons? What are some of the jobs that are connected to forests, lakes, and rivers? What sorts of jobs are connected to agricultural land use?
  • If we went on a walk around our neighbourhood, what types of land use would we see? What types of needs do they meet?

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