Vision and Goals
The vision of the elementary science and technology curriculum is for students to acquire and develop the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in today’s rapidly changing world. As discoveries and innovations in STEM increasingly impact our lives, science and technology continues to adapt and evolve. A central component of this curriculum is safe, practical, hands-on, experiential learning that will support students in becoming successful and discerning individuals who are scientifically and technologically literate.
Throughout the elementary science and technology program, students apply scientific and engineering design processes to develop their sense of wonder about the world, to explore their curiosity about what they observe, and to investigate problems relating to science, technology, society, and the environment. From Grades 1 to 8, students are encouraged to consider what practical steps they themselves can take to help solve some of these problems.
This curriculum provides numerous opportunities for students to develop essential STEM skills and to extend and deepen their understanding of the fundamental concepts of science and technology. Throughout the grades and strands, they learn to apply their understanding with increasing sophistication. In addition, students will develop the ability to make connections that honour the complex, cross-curricular, and sometimes ambiguous nature of modern scientific and technological problems. Students are encouraged to see the connections between these areas, and the connections to other subject areas, as they bring to the classroom experiences from their own lives.
Environmental education concepts and skills appear throughout the curriculum, providing students with opportunities to investigate the world around them and to build the skills and knowledge that serve as the foundation for deep understanding about complex and interconnected issues such as ecosystem balance, biodiversity, sustainability, and climate change. Learning in all strands is enriched when students think critically about environmental issues when relating science and technology to society, or when developing innovative solutions through a scientific or engineering design process.
As students progress through the grades, they gain an appreciation for the broad range of STEM fields and skilled trades sectors. They also come to realize that, while they are all impacted in various ways by discoveries and innovations in these areas, they can one day become contributing members of these fields and sectors and shape the direction of future scientific and technological innovation, to help support a better future for all.
While embodying optimism and hope for the future, this curriculum provides opportunities to investigate exciting innovations, discoveries, and concepts in science and technology. The curriculum also provides opportunities for students to consider the intended and unintended consequences of scientific and technological progress as they relate science and technology to our changing world, and as they investigate important issues such as climate change and issues related to the impacts of coding and emerging technologies, which can include bias, accessibility, and ethical concerns.
Ensuring that all students see themselves as confident, effective science and technology learners and practitioners is at the forefront of the program. Students analyse scientific and technological discoveries and innovations made by people with diverse experiences, and integrate their own scientific and technological skills and knowledge to enhance their learning in the classroom. Students explore Indigenous knowledges, which can broaden their understanding of and appreciation for Indigenous cultures and practices, and also provide them with valuable ways in which to investigate how diverse perspectives enrich science and technology practices.
Finally, and most importantly, the science and technology curriculum helps students develop important scientific literacy and technological skills that will enable them to thrive in their future professional and personal lives, and to become discerning, knowledgeable, and active problem solvers in their communities.
In summary, the Ontario science and technology curriculum aims to provide all students with the skills and knowledge required to:
- apply research, experimentation, and engineering design skills to help find solutions to complex problems in their own lives and in the lives of those in their communities;
- understand the cross-curricular and cross-disciplinary nature of problem solving within the STEM fields;
- appreciate the wonder and awe of the world and be optimistic and realistic about the power and limitations of science and technology to solve environmental and social problems;
- consider carefully the intended and unintended consequences of scientific and technological progress;
- develop scientific literacy and technological skills that will allow them to be discerning citizens and find answers to scientific and technological questions;
- see themselves as future contributing members of STEM fields or skilled trades sectors;
- see themselves as confident, effective science and technology learners, with rich social and cultural backgrounds that can help them to contribute to scientific discovery and technological innovation;
- discover effective, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable solutions to scientific and technological problems that impact their lives and the lives of those in their communities;
- recognize the importance of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, and how diverse perspectives benefit current challenges within STEM fields.
The three main goals of the curriculum are for students: