Fundamental Concepts and “Big Ideas” in Science and Technology
This curriculum provides numerous opportunities for students to develop essential STEM skills and make important connections that will allow them to deepen their understanding of the fundamental concepts and big ideas of science and technology. The fundamental concepts in science and technology provide a framework for the acquisition of all scientific and technological knowledge. They also help students to integrate scientific and technological knowledge with knowledge in other subject areas, such as mathematics and social studies. The fundamental concepts that are addressed in the curriculum for science and technology in Grades 1 to 8 are matter, energy, systems and interactions, automation, structure and function, sustainability and stewardship, and change and continuity. These fundamental concepts are described in the following chart.
|Matter||Matter is anything that has mass and occupies space. Matter has particular structural and behavioural characteristics.|
|Energy||Energy comes in many forms, and can change forms. Energy is required to make things happen (to do work). Work is done when a force causes movement.|
|Systems and Interactions||A system is a collection of living and/or non-living things and processes that interact to perform some function. A system includes inputs, outputs, and relationships among system components. Natural and human systems develop in response to, and are limited by, a variety of environmental factors.|
|Automation||Automation involves implementing technologies to make systems run on their own, without further human intervention. Automation can facilitate and accelerate functions that are otherwise difficult, repetitive, or dangerous for human beings to perform. Coding and emerging technologies play an increasingly important role in controlling automated systems.|
|Structure and Function||This concept focuses on the interrelationship between the function or use of a natural or human-made object and the form that the object takes.|
|Sustainability and Stewardship||Sustainability is the concept of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Stewardship involves understanding that we need to use and care for the natural environment in a responsible way and making the effort to pass on to future generations no less than what we have access to ourselves. Values that are central to responsible stewardship are as follows: using non-renewable resources with care; reusing and recycling what we can; and switching to renewable resources where possible.
|Change and Continuity||Change is the process of becoming different over time, and can be quantified.
Continuity represents consistency and connectedness within and among systems over time. Interactions within and among systems result in change and variations in consistency.
In this curriculum, “big ideas” describe the aspects of the fundamental concepts that are addressed at each grade level. Developing an understanding of the big ideas requires students to consider and apply STEM skills as they engage in investigative processes and make connections between related science and technology concepts, between science and technology and other disciplines, and between science and technology and everyday life.
The relationships between the fundamental concepts, STEM skills and connections, big ideas, goals of the science and technology program, and overall and specific expectations of this curriculum are indicated in the chart that follows.