Moving to one science course
Ontario is continuing its efforts to end streaming students as they enter high school. Starting in September 2022, there will be one Grade 9 science course being taught for all students. This means that there will no longer be applied or academic courses for Grade 9 science. This is called de-streaming. This change will provide all students with the same learning experience and help prepare students for a wide variety of career pathways. This course is compulsory for all students.
Additionally, this is part of Ontario’s plan to modernize curriculum to ensure that all students have the foundational and transferable skills they will need in a rapidly changing world with an ongoing focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The Grade 9 science curriculum was last updated in 2008.
Benefits for all students
There is strong evidence that points to the benefits of Grade 8 students not having to choose between applied and academic courses when they enter Grade 9.
The key benefits include:
- high academic standards are set for all students
- students with a range of skills and interests learn together
- more opportunities are created and fewer systemic barriers exist for Indigenous, Black and other racialized students, students who live in low-income households, and students with disabilities and special education needs
- students are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to prepare for more advanced courses in secondary school
- future options are open for all students, for example, going to college, to university or to an apprenticeship
About the new science course
The new Grade 9 science course now includes:
STEM skills, careers, and connections
- Supports learning using scientific research and experimentation, engineering design processes and coding skills related to the concepts and skills in other areas of the course.
- Provides practical applications of science, including connections to STEM-related occupations and skilled trades.
- Promotes understanding of the contributions to science from diverse communities.
Coding and emerging technologies
- Builds on learning of coding skills from elementary science and technology.
- Incorporates coding skills to model scientific concepts and relationships, such as creating a virtual simulation to model interactions in an ecosystem.
- Increases learning about emerging technologies and their impacts on society and the environment.
- Contains explicit connections to climate change and its impacts.
What students will learn
The new Grade 9 science course builds on the learning in the elementary science and technology program. The Grade 9 course provides students with a foundation for learning the concepts and skills needed to prepare them for the future. Here are the areas of focus:
STEM skills, careers, and connections
- engage in an experiential approach to learning science concepts
- enhance their learning and skills throughout the course in the areas of biology, chemistry, physics, and Earth and space science
- investigate practical applications and various careers, including those in the skilled trades, enabling students to make connections between science and everyday life
- learn about the environment through the concept of sustainable ecosystems and the interconnectedness of various ecological factors and processes, such as biodiversity, air and water quality and soil health
- recognize how human activities, including those that contribute to climate change, impact the environment, and explore ways to restore the balance in ecosystems
- investigate natural processes, such as the flow of energy and the cycling of matter, and their importance in maintaining balanced ecosystems
- learn about the importance of chemistry in their daily lives, including the use and safe disposal of elements and compounds found in familiar products such as smartphones
- examine the impacts of chemical processes and technologies on society and the environment
- increase their understanding of the nature of matter, the structure of atoms and properties of elements and compounds, by exploring the periodic table of elements and through hands-on investigations
- understand the impacts of electrical energy production and consumption on society and the environment, and explore initiatives to achieve sustainable practices
- learn about the nature of electric charges, including their behaviour in static electricity and electric current, through investigations (for example, building a circuit)
- examine the relationships between various characteristics of electricity
Earth and space science
- expand their knowledge of the impacts of space exploration on society and the environment
- learn about the importance and effect of technological innovations derived from space exploration
- continue learning about the components of the solar system and the universe
- develop a better understanding of the Sun and its relationship to processes on Earth
Support your child’s learning
As parents and family, you can have a huge influence on your child’s educational success and future career choices. By showing an interest in what your child is learning, you can make an important contribution to their success in science.
Science helps children learn about how our world works and can be found all around us – from climate change to technology and space science. You can help your child make connections between what they learn in school and everyday experiences at home and in the community. Here are some ways to spark your child’s curiosity about the wonders of science and support their learning:
- Discuss science news items and what is happening in your community.
- Discuss the importance of thinking critically about how science is presented in social media.
- Look for examples of the wonders of science, such as how science-based technology and tools make our lives easier and encourage us to become responsible global citizens.
- Talk with your child about their strengths and interests and help them look ahead and set education and career goals.
- Help your child make connections between what they learn in school, their interests or passions, and the courses they choose to take.
- Discuss how science makes a difference in your own work and in your everyday life.
- Talk with your child about career opportunities that rely on science skills and point to role models.
- Ask your child’s teacher, guidance counsellor or other school staff questions about skills and experiences required to support your child’s learning and course choices.
- Stay informed about your child’s learning and stay in touch with their school and teachers.
How we developed the new course
To develop the new Grade 9 science course, Ontario reviewed current research and best practices from leading jurisdictions.
The course was also informed by feedback from education stakeholders and partners, including postsecondary institutions and industry partners.