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Ontario will re-vamp science curriculum for first time in 15 years

Ontario will re-vamp science curriculum for first time in 15 years

Ontario is updating its science and technology curriculum and de-streaming the Grade 9 science course for the upcoming 2022-23 school year.

The changes will reflect technological changes that have occurred since the curriculum was last updated in 2007 and will help promote more people entering the fast-growing skilled trades. Since that update significant scientific and technological innovations such as the advancement of smartphones, everyday use of 3D printing and genomic vaccines have emerged, and the global economy has changed. The updated curriculum responds to these changes with the goal of positioning Ontario as a leading jurisdiction in STEM, helping to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.

The new curriculum will be implemented in September 2022, in time for the 2022-23 school year as part of the government’s plan to ensure that all students have the foundational, transferable and entrepreneurial skills they need to compete in a rapidly changing world.

Some of the specifics of the new curriculum include:

Coding: mandatory learning on coding from Grades 1 to 9, consistent with the math curriculum, to further enshrine Ontario as a STEM leader. For example, in Grade 3, students can learn how to program a small robot.

Connecting STEM Learning: for the first time, Ontario has dedicated learning expectations from Grades 1 to 9 which explicitly connects science, technology, engineering and mathematics to real-world issues.

Emerging technology: students will learn about the rise and application of advanced research, robotics and the development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Students can learn about the impact and application of AI in their daily lives, including facial recognition, autonomous vehicles, drones and search engines.

Skilled trades: mandatory learning from Grades 4 to 9 on the relationship between how advancements in science and emerging technologies are enhancing the skilled trades and providing exciting career opportunities.

Food literacy: learning related to food literacy in every grade that empowers students to make decisions that affect physical and mental health, consider local food production, and the scientific processes involved in agriculture.

The previous curricula did not contain required learning related to the skilled trades. Students will now explore how science relates to careers in the skilled trades and how emerging and new technologies impact these careers.

To support the continuum of learning in mathematics, the ministry is also issuing an addendum for each of the Grade 10 Academic and Applied Mathematics courses, to be implemented for the 2022-23 school year. The addenda outline additional learning expectations to support students in their learning as they transition from the new de-streamed Grade 9 Mathematics course to the current Grade 10 Mathematics courses.

Results from the province-wide consultation in fall of 2018 showed that only 21 per cent of survey respondents believed that Ontario’s schools were doing enough to promote STEM education in elementary school and 65 per cent of telephone townhall participants felt students should be learning more about STEM topics at an earlier age.

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