• Common Developmental Characteristics of Third through Fifth Graders 
     
    Eight-Year-Olds
    Social
    -Love group activities and cooperative work
    -Prefer playing with peers of the same gender
    -Like to talk and explain ideas
    -Good sense of humor
    -Adjust well to change; bounce back quickly from mistakes or disappointments 
    Physical
    -Full of energy; play hard, work quickly, and tire easily-do better with several short play breaks than one long one
    -Eyes able to focus well on objects near and far
    -May have growth spurt
    -Limited attention span; short exercise breaks help concentration
    -Better control of eyes and hands allows cursive writing and copying from board 
    Cognitive
    -Industrious, impatient, and full of ideas; often take on more than they can handle
    -Listen well but may not always remember what they've heard
    -Getting good at handwriting, handcrafts, computers, and drawing
    -Excited but also nervous about exploring the broader world
    -May give up when things are hard but soon want to try again 
    -Interested in rules, logic, and fairness
     
    Nine-Year-Olds 
    Social
    -Very competitive, yet may form cliques
    -Complain a lot; criticize self and others (including adults)
    -Often say "I hate it," I can't," "It's boring," etc.
    -Like to work with same-gender partner
    -Can work in groups but with lots of arguing
    -Enjoy exaggeration, "dirty" jokes and graffiti
    -Need adults to be patient and explain clearly
    -Need adult lightheartedness, humor, and encouragement to lighten their mood and relieve anxiety 
    Physical
    -Coordination is better; boys love to rough-house
    -Like to push physical limits; get tired easily
    -Complain about aches, pains and injuries
    -Restless; can't sit still for long
    -May bite nails or twist hair to relieve tension 
    Cognitive 
    -Worry about world events, parents' health, friends, school, etc
    -Work hard and pay attention to detail, but may jump quickly between interests
    -Less imaginative than at eight years old
    -Want factual explanations; enjoy scientific exploration
    -Have trouble understanding abstractions such as large numbers, long periods of time, and vast areas of space
    -Love language and word play
    -Begin to see the bigger world, including issues of justice and fairness
    -Enjoy "interest" clubs such as chess, book clubs, etc
     
    Ten-Year-Olds
    Social
    -Good age for clubs, team sports, and whole-class activities
    -Eager to reach out to others, such as through community service or tutoring younger children
    -Boys and girls work well together
    -Quick to anger and quick to forgive
    -Competitive but also cooperative
    -Listen well but also enjoy talking and explaining
    -Enjoy adult recognition 
    Physical
    -Muscles for jumping, running and other big movements are developing quickly
    -Needs lots of outdoor play and physical challenges
    -Snacks and rest periods help rapidly growing bodies
    -Better at small movements; enjoy precision tasks such as tracing and copying
    -Ready to start using tools such as compasses, rules, and templates 
    Cognitive
    -Very good at memorizing facts
    -Enjoy collecting, organizing and classifying
    -Like rules and logic; open to learning about scientific principles, governmental structures, and meeting formats
    -Can concentrate on reading and thinking for long periods
    -Hardworking; take pride in school work
    -Enjoy choral reading, poetry, plays and singing
    -Open to learning mediation or problem-solving skills
     
    Eleven-Year-Olds 
    Social
    -Moody, self-absorbed
    -Easily embarrassed; need to "save face" in front of peers
    -Sensitive about their changing bodies
    -Needs lots of time to talk to peers
    -Common age for girls to form cliques
    -Worry about who's "in" and who's "out"
    -Like to challenge rules, argue, and test limits
    -Need adult empathy, humor, and light attitude to help them take things less seriously 
    Physical
    -Restless and very energetic
    -Need lots of food, physical activity, and sleep
    -Growth spurt for many girls; some begin menstruating
    -"Growing pains" (bone outgrowing muscle) may cause nightly aches and daily complaints
    -More colds, ear infections, flu, etc 
    Cognitive 
     -Can think abstractly-for example, more able to understand ideas such as "justice"
    -Beginning to challenge adult explanations and their own assumptions
    -Would rather learn new skills than review or improve previous work
    -Enjoy using their developing thinking skills to do brain teasers and puzzles
    -Like "adult" tasks (researching, interviewing, footnoting, etc.) and "adult" studies (history, biography, etc.), though may outwardly fuss while secretly enjoying the work