The Strands and Topics in the Science and Technology Curriculum
The expectations in the science and technology curriculum are organized into five distinct but related strands. Strand A is an overarching strand that focuses on the foundational STEM skills and connections that will enable students to investigate concepts and integrate knowledge from each of the other strands and to make practical connections between science and technology and other subject areas. In Strands B through E, students integrate Strand A expectations as they develop their understanding of strand-specific concepts, investigate phenomena, and make meaningful connections to the real world.
In all grades, learning related to the expectations in Strand A occurs in the context of learning related to the other four strands.
The five strands are as follows:
- A. STEM Skills and Connections
- B. Life Systems
- C. Matter and Energy
- D. Structures and Mechanisms
- E. Earth and Space Systems
The chart below illustrates the relationship between Strand A and the other four strands.
Strand A focuses on the STEM skills that will enable students to explore and investigate concepts. Students apply these skills as they integrate knowledge from the other four strands and as they make connections between these skills and knowledge and real-world issues in science and technology as well as other subject areas.
In this strand, students use scientific research, scientific experimentation, and engineering design processes to carry out formal investigations, design solutions to problems, and communicate their findings. Students also learn how to follow established health and safety procedures.
Students gain an understanding of the technology they use every day and use coding in investigations and to model science and technology concepts. In addition to using coding, students assess the impact of coding and of emerging technologies on everyday life and in STEM-related fields.
Students can learn about Indigenous sciences and technologies, and make connections to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit knowledge systems and perspectives, helping them assess the impacts of discoveries and innovations on First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities. They can also investigate the scientific and technological knowledge systems and perspectives of various cultures, analyse the contributions of people with diverse experiences, and describe practical applications of science and technology.
In this strand, students investigate the needs, characteristics, and interconnectedness of living things in the natural environment. Students examine various animals and plants and their importance to society and the environment. Students make connections to food literacy as they investigate different plants and animals used for food and the importance of food literacy in supporting decisions related to physical and mental health. They explore how living things adapt to the dynamic nature of the environment and to human activity, and they expand their understanding of the concept of structure and function as they study human organ systems and the cell as the basic unit of life. Students’ understanding of the concept of systems and interactions is broadened during their investigation of habitats and communities, biodiversity, and interactions within local ecosystems. Throughout, students deepen their understanding of the fundamental concept of sustainability and stewardship. In all grades, students assess the impact of human activity and technology on society and the environment.
In this strand, students develop their understanding of matter as they explore the properties and physical and chemical changes of matter. Students are introduced to the particulate nature of matter as they investigate pure substances and mixtures. They deepen their understanding of fluids and learn about fluid mechanics by investigating hydraulic and pneumatic devices and systems. Additionally, students develop an understanding of energy as they study its various forms – including electrical energy, light, and sound – and their uses in everyday life. In this strand, students make connections to food literacy as they learn about the importance of the Sun as the principal source of energy on Earth and develop an understanding of food as a source of energy for living things. Students also investigate the relationship between forces and energy by designing and building devices for specific purposes. Throughout the grades, students examine the environmental and social impacts associated with the use of various materials and electrical energy.
In this strand, students develop their understanding of structures as they investigate the factors that contribute to a structure’s stability and strength. Through designing structures for specific purposes, they learn about the relationship between the design and function of structures and the forces that act on them. Students also develop their understanding of machines, building from the concept of simple machines to more complex machines and their mechanisms. They apply their understanding of forces and properties of air by designing and testing devices such as flying machines. Students also learn about systems and their components and investigate how to improve the efficiency of systems and automated processes. In this strand, students make connections to food literacy as they investigate systems related to food processing. Throughout the grades, students assess the impacts on society and the environment of machines and their mechanisms, and of structures and the materials used to make them.
In this strand, students investigate the cyclical nature of days and seasons and the importance of the Sun, air, and water to life on Earth. Students also explore the importance of soils, and develop an understanding of rocks, minerals, geological processes, and natural resources. In this strand, students make connections to food literacy as they investigate how different soils are suited to growing different types of food, including crops. Students are introduced to space exploration, the law of conservation of energy, and concepts associated with heat transfer in the environment. Students explore various aspects of water systems and their importance both locally and globally. Throughout, students deepen their understanding of change and continuity through the lens of stewardship and sustainability of Earth’s resources. In all grades, students assess the impact of human activity and technology on society and the environment.
The chart below provides an outline of the topics in Grade 1 to 8 science and technology.