11 Interesting 3rd-Grade Research Topics

You’re ready for your third graders to conduct research of some kind, so you’re seeking interesting 3rd grade research topics.

You’ve landed in the right place!

As a teacher, you have so much on your to-do list, and trying to figure out research topics for third graders is just one more thing to do.

I’ve saved you the time of brainstorming topics.

Here you will find a collection of 3rd grade research topics that engage students meaningfully.

Whether you want students to research about animals, people, objects, or history, there is a topic here to fit your needs.

Your third graders will enjoy discovering new information and sharing their discoveries with classmates. 

3rd Grade Research Topics

The following topics may be turned into independent research projects for elementary students. 

1. Natural Resources

Natural resources are things found in nature and used by humans to make their lives easier.

Examples of natural resources include light, air, water, trees, rocks, and animals.

Natural resources are vital to our existence and the way we live our lives.

Have third graders research the natural resources used every day and trace the sources.

Ask them to come up with a plan to utilize the resources but also ensure renewal of them for future use. 

Furthermore, there are various forms of energy that we derive from natural resources.

After students select a specific type of energy, they can describe what it is, where it comes from, and speculate as to what the world would look like without it.

Specific research topics include…

  • Renewable vs. nonrenewable resources (pros/cons/examples)
  • How natural resources make a country rich
  • Conservation efforts
  • Fossil fuels
  • Minerals and their uses
  • Natural resources and energy

2. States of Matter

Matter is everything that forms our universe and what’s in it.

That’s why the study of solids, liquids, and gases is the perfect entrance into the world of chemistry. 

Noting the characteristics of solids, liquids, and gases along with examples is a great task for third graders to perform.

A demonstration showing all three states is also a powerful activity.

Specific 3rd grade research topics include…

  • Characteristics of solids, liquids, and gases 
  • Examples and non-examples of solids, liquids, and gases
  • How temperature affects matter
  • Boiling, melting, and freezing points
  • Atoms
  • Mass

3. Technology Over the Decades

Ever since the Industrial Revolution, technology has been rapidly developing with each passing decade.

Have third graders report on what they think is the most important technological advancement of each decade over the past one hundred years.

Ask them to speculate on what the world would look like without these technological achievements. 

Specific research topics include…

  • Transportation advances
  • Electricity
  • Computers
  • Medical advancements
  • Communication

4. Extreme Weather and Natural Disasters

Though they wreak havoc on humans and their living environments, natural disasters are of high interest to third graders.

This research topic is sure to engage even the most reluctant learners.

Kids Discover is a good place for students to begin their research.

Specific 3rd grade research topics include…

  • How to predict natural disasters
  • Minimize the damage from natural disasters
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Tsunamis/Earthquakes
  • Wildfires
  • Hurricanes/Tornados
  • Avalanches

5. Gravity

Gravity is a force we all feel on a daily basis but may forget that it’s there.

Encourage your third graders to research Sir Isaac Newton’s famous discovery of gravity and report on how Earth’s gravitational field differs from that of other planets.

Ask them to speculate on how different life on Earth would be with more or less gravity. 

Specific research topics include…

  • Mass vs. weight
  • Orbits
  • Black holes
  • Tides
  • Floating in space (helium balloons, hot air balloons, flight – things that “defy” gravity)

6. Simple Machines

Simple machines are fun to build, and they help us every day to complete tasks easily plus efficiently.

Request that your third graders research and report on the different types of simple machines. They should also give real-world examples of each one.

Also, ask them to construct and demonstrate their own simple machine. 

Specific 3rd grade research topics include…

  • Wheel and axle
  • Pulley
  • Inclined plane
  • Screw
  • Wedge
  • Lever
  • Force and motion

7. The Water Cycle

Evaporation, condensation, and precipitation make the world go round.

Have third graders research and report on the water cycle. They will then create a poster board that illustrates the different stages of the water cycle.

Ask them to think about the conditions necessary in order for each stage to occur. 

Add fun water cycle writing prompts as an extension to this research topic.

Specific research topics include…

  • Evaporation
  • Condensation
  • Precipitation
  • Sublimation
  • Types of clouds

8. Force and Motion

The laws of physics are important to understand, and a great basis for third graders is having them research Sir Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion.

Ask them to write a report on the discovery of the laws and what the world would look like without them.

As an extension, you could have them give a demonstration reflective of one of the laws. 

Specific 3rd grade research topics include…

  • Laws of Motion
  • Magnetism
  • Simple machines

9. Space

There are so many topics to tackle about space – from black holes to asteroids to planets to stars.

Third graders enjoy researching and reporting on a wide variety of space topics.

Specific research topics include…

  • Phases of the moon
  • Inner and outer planets
  • Weight, mass, and gravity
  • Characteristics of the sun
  • Advances and discoveries in space travel

10. Magnets

Magnets are always a fascinating research topic for third graders. Be sure to include fun experiments and demonstrations.

Have students research how a magnet works plus how the Earth’s magnetic field affects biology, geology, and other sciences.

Ask them to make their own magnets.

Then they can test different objects to determine which can be attracted to magnets and which cannot. 

Specific 3rd grade research topics include…

  • Force and motion
  • Laws of Motion
  • Natural forces
  • Magnetic field and magnetic poles
  • Types of magnets plus their uses

11. Holidays Around the World

Encourage third graders to explore different holidays around the world.

They will learn about unique festivals and celebrations that take place in different countries.

They’ll be able to compare and contrast these holidays to those that occur in their own country.

  • Boxing Day
  • Día de Los Muertos
  • Christmas
  • Diwali
  • Carnival of Brazil

Final Thoughts On 3rd Grade Research Topics

Save yourself the headache of searching for good 3rd grade research topics by keeping this list handy as you plan your lessons. 

Not only do you save yourself time planning, but you can also feel confident that your third graders will be excited about these interesting research topics.