Science Encounters

 

The STAO Science Encounters Project includes a series of inquiry-based STEM activities to support teachers and students with resources to create engaging classroom experiences that cultivate 21st century skills.  Activities for the project include Indigenous ways of knowing while incorporating fundamental concepts that are linked to scientific inquiry and technological approaches to problem solving. 

Science Encounters
Integrated Curriculum Resources
Kindergarten – Grade 8

 

 

This resource has been developed by the

Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario/ L’Association des professeur de science de l’Ontario with funding from PromoScience, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

 

STAO Writing Team

Sheila Rhodes, Project Manager, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Bonnie Anderson, Peel District School Board

Joanne Arcand -  Halton District School Board

Samuel Hariprasad – Toronto District School Board

Kerri Langer - Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board

Ingrid Munson - Halton District School Board

Susan Philip - Halton District School Board

Joyce Posada – Toronto District School Board

Louise Vaillancourt – Ottawa Carleton District School Board

Teresa Yeh - Peel District School Board

 

Reviewers

Corrine Brook-Allred

Chris Coyne

Pamela Depooter

Cathy Dykstra

Christina Evans

Sharon Mosko

Shantel Popp

Graziella Sadler

Jacqueline Yuen

Elli Weisdorf

Amy Wen

 

Care has been taken to trace the ownership of copyright material contained in this document. STAO will be pleased to receive any information that will enable it to rectify any errors or omissions in subsequent editions. Send comments to info@stao.ca

Teachers are permitted to make copies of this document for their classroom use.

©STAO 2015 The material in this document shall not be copied nor reproduced beyond a classroom without the permission of Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario/L’Association des professeur de science de l’Ontario [STAO/APSO]

1 Kindergarten

 

Do Animals Belong in the Zoo?

This inquiry resource package on animals for ELKP is designed to assist teachers in planning an inquiry-based learning opportunity. The outline is infused with learning objects that your own class has presented in their discovery learning around the topic of animals, our connection to animals, animal life cycles, and the ethics of animals living in a zoo. The time required and the direction of the inquiry-based learning activity will depend on the time that you can allocate to the learning activity, students’ prior knowledge, skill, and level of interest.

 

Where Can We Find Sound? 

This inquiry resource package on sound for ELKP is designed to assist teachers in planning for an inquiry-based learning opportunity. This resource outline is to be supplemented with learning objects that your own class has presented in their interest of sound: where does sound come from, how can we make different kinds of sound? The time required and the direction of the inquiry-based learning activity will depend on the time that you can allocate to the learning activity, students prior knowledge, skill, and level of interest.

 

The Curious Naturalist

This inquiry resource package on the environment for ELKP is designed to assist teachers in planning an inquiry-based learning opportunity. This resource outline is to be supplemented with learning objects that your own class has presented in their discovery learning around the topic of the environment, life cycles, and stewardship, and how they can make a difference since we are all connected. The time required and the direction of the inquiry-based learning activity will depend on the time that you can allocate to the learning activity, students’ prior knowledge, skills, and level of interest.  

 

What Would it Be Like to Live in Space?

This inquiry resource package on space for ELKP is designed to assist teachers in planning for an inquiry-based learning opportunity. This resource outline is - supplemented with learning objects that your own class has presented in their interest of space and what life would be like in space. The time required and the direction of the inquiry-based learning activity will depend on the time that you can allocate to the learning activity, students prior knowledge, skill, and level of interest.

 

Super Structures!

This unit focuses on students’ approach to building with various materials. Teachers can observe students’ construction with manipulatives and scaffold their knowledge by posing problem-based learning opportunities. Students will be able to build various structures, problem solve with different ‘environmental’ factors, use various manipulative and recycled materials to build their own structures.

 

Unraveling the Earth

This unit focuses on students’ approach to earth elements (sand, soil, rocks, minerals, and fossils) with various materials. Teachers can observe students with earth elements and manipulatives to scaffold their knowledge. Students will be able to explore earth elements; problem solve with different ‘environmental’ factors; and use various manipulative and recycled materials to explore the different earth elements.

 

Water Wonder

This unit focuses on students’ approach to water and how it is a part of people’s lives. Teachers can observe students’ construction with manipulatives and scaffold their knowledge by posing problem-based learning opportunities. Students will be able to build, explore, test, and problem solve with different recycled materials, and use various manipulatives. Students will also communicate the importance of preserving and caring for the environment.

 

 

2 Grade 1

 

Wanted Alive

Students will understand the basic needs and characteristics of plants, animals and humans.  They will discover that we all need food, water, shelter and space.  They will show care and respect for all living things during and after outdoor site investigations.  They will uunderstand the connections of all living things and how they are interrelated.

 

Object, Object, Who’s Got the Object

Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
The students and teacher will go on a walk through the schoolyard/neighbourhood doing a litter collection/clean-up. They will use the items collected to begin a discussion about objects, the different materials that they are made of, and why they are made of those particular materials. These items can be sorted into garbage, recycling, and compost, discussing reasons for the choices and why it is important to use the 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) in everyday life. An investigation of object characteristics and material properties will result from this shared experience. After gaining knowledge of different objects, materials, and joining methods, students will be asked to design and build a structure using appropriate material and joining choices.

 

Ener-GEE

Understanding Matter and Energy
The students and teacher will go for a walk in the schoolyard or community, looking for different forms of energy (sun, wind, gas, electrical, food). This will be a shared experience that will become the starting point of an inquiry into different forms of energy, how people and animals use energy, how to conserve energy, and why it is important to use energy wisely. After gaining knowledge of different forms of energy, students will be asked to design and build a structure that uses renewable energy for a purpose.

 

Season Wars

Understanding Earth and Space Systems
The students and teacher will go for walks around the community in different months looking at how habitats change in each season and the response of the animals that live there. Discussions will include how people and animals adapt to the changes around them. Investigations can start from these common experiences and work towards narrowing down what season it is when there are signs of more than one at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Grade 2

 

League of Animal Superheroes

Understanding Life Systems
Students survey what lives in their area and decide, based on physical and structural characteristics, what would be champions of adaptability. They then create the team of animals which they believe has the best adaptations to be the ultimate super hero survival team.

 

Simple Machines Rule!

Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
The students and teacher will go on a ‘movement’ hunt in their neighbourhood, and around their class and school during which they will record all the different things that move. Discussion will revolve around what types of things move, how they move, and why people use them for movement. An investigation of the six simple machines can result from this shared experience. After gaining knowledge of the different simple machines, students will be asked to design and build a structure, such as a vehicle, using at least two simple machines that will then be used in a variety of experiments with inclined planes.

 

Splish, Splash, Kerplunk!

Understanding Matter and Energy
The students and teacher will go on a walk around the schoolyard/community to collect a variety of natural objects. A further collection of items from the classroom will augment this. The sorting activity and discussion that follow this shared experience will begin an inquiry into liquids and solids. After gaining knowledge of the characteristics and properties of liquids and solids, students will be asked to design and build a solid that floats in a liquid.

 

Time for a Change

Understanding Earth and Space Systems

The students will re-enact the water cycle and the changes of state both inside and outside the classroom.  They will view video, conduct hands-on experiments, and use direct observations from different locations inside and outside the classroom.

 

 

 

4 Grade 3

Plant Land

Understanding Life Systems

Students through observation using all their senses, discover different types of plants in all their forms and shapes. They will explore what each type of plant is used for by humans and other living things in the environment.

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Structures, Structures Everywhere!

Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
The students and teacher will go on a walk to look for and record the different types of structures they see in their community. Discussion will revolve around what a structure is, what makes it strong and stable, and what forces act on it.  An investigation of structures can result from this shared experience. After gaining knowledge of structures, students will be asked to design and build a structure, such as a longhouse or a pioneer house, which is strong, stable, and can withstand forces applied to it.

 

May the Forces be With You!

Understanding Matter and Energy
The students will design and build a vehicle that will be used in a variety of experiments in order to investigate forces. Discussion will revolve around what a force is, what different types of forces there are, and how they act on objects.  An investigation of forces in this manner will allow students to gain knowledge of forces in a real and meaningful way. After gaining knowledge of forces, students will be asked to design and build an original vehicle that can be used in experiments involving increasing loads while being acted on by different forces.

 

Soil vs. Dirt

Understanding Earth and Space Systems
Students will look at the foundation of plant life in all its’ different forms and how it enhances plant growth.  They will learn about the foundation of plants from the ground down.

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5 Grade 4

 

Rock out Here or Roll on Somewhere Else? 

Understanding Earth and Space Systems: Rocks and Minerals

The students will be researching and discussing the costs and benefits of being the only source of the mineral tin left in the world. In order to prepare for this inquiry, the teacher needs to lay the groundwork on topics like how rocks are formed, and the properties of minerals. This inquiry will create an awareness for the various uses of rocks in minerals and how they are extracted and refined for human use. This unit fits with the Social Studies: B. People and Environments strand.

 

Healthier Habitats, Happier Humans

Understanding Life Systems: Habitats and Communities

In this inquiry activity, students will explore the importance of biodiversity and minimizing human impacts on natural systems.  Through student created models and investigations about habitats, ecosystems, and food webs, they will explore how biodiversity is essential for the success of a species and the ecosystem as a whole.  Communication skills will be developed through a presentations following investigations of Canadian habitats. They will identify an area of their local habitat to improve and create a design to test their ideas for habitat improvement.

 

Symphony of Light and Sound

Understanding Matter and Energy: Light and Sound
 
In this inquiry activity, students will explore some properties of light and sound.  Through student created models and investigations about how light and sound travel, inventions which use light and sound, and natural sources of light, they will explore how light and sound is used in modern day industries.  Communication skills will be developed through a poster showcasing an ancient invention which uses light or sound, soundscapes for picture books, and a guided reading of a First Nation legend.  They will showcase their learning by creating an invention which uses light or sound.

 

It's a Fixer-Upper

Understanding Structures and Mechanism: Pulleys and Gears

The students will be improving the design of an old house/mall/school/castle by designing and constructing a device that will allow accessibility from one floor to the other so that it fulfills the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and can be sold. In order to prepare for this inquiry, the teacher needs to lay the groundwork on topics like the pulley system and the gear system. This inquiry will create an appreciation for the applications of pulleys and gears in our everyday lives.

 

 

 

 

6 Grade 5

 

Inventions to Improve our Insides

Understanding Life Systems
In this inquiry activity, students will explore the various organ systems in the human body and how they interact.  Through student-created models and investigations on body systems, they will explore how lifestyle choices can affect the health of the organ system and overall health of the human body.  Communication skills will be developed through a debate-style discussion on the most important organ system and written tasks following investigations of the circulatory, respiratory, and musculoskeletal systems. They will identify a system they wish to improve, and create and test an invention to improve one component of the system. They will showcase learning with the creation of a media campaign for their invention detailing how it will improve their overall health.

 

Saving Our Structures

Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
In this inquiry activity, students will explore the forces affecting stability of structures and design a model of a structure which can remain stable during a natural disaster.

 

 

Change Matters

Understanding Matter and Energy
In this inquiry activity, students will explore the properties of matter and investigate physical and chemical changes.  The inquiry will focus on changes to matter in their kitchen, in transportation, or an area of personal interest.

 

 

Inspiring Inventions

Understanding Earth and Space Systems
In this inquiry activity, students will explore energy and resource conservation.  They will conduct an experiment exploring how changing one habit will reduce the use of energy or resources in their home or classroom.  They will also look at leisure time activities and Rube Goldberg machines, and design an invention which transforms energy in numerous ways.

 

 

 

7 Grade 6

 

To Build or Not to Build, That is the Discussion

Understanding Life Systems
The students will be holding a community meeting to discuss local issues that are related to biodiversity. In order to prepare the students for this inquiry, the teacher needs to lay the groundwork on topics like the classification of living things and the interrelationships within a habitat. This inquiry will create an appreciation for biodiversity and the need to preserve it.

 

NASCAR’s New Flying Race / Auto Racing Takes to the Skies

Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
The students will be creating a flying device, choosing sponsors from industries that use aviation technology, and entering the flying race. In order to prepare the students for this inquiry, the teacher needs to lay the groundwork on topics like the properties of air and the forces of flight. This inquiry will create an appreciation for the benefits and costs of aviation.

 

Survivor

Understanding Matter and Energy
The students will be provided with the scenario that they are going on a trip. However, their group has been stranded somewhere in Canada where there is no available electricity, but there is an energy source from which electricity could be generated. They need to build a shelter and since they do not know when rescue will come, the students need to conserve their use of electricity, with one battery operating at least two devices. In order for the students to direct this inquiry on their own, the teacher needs to lay the groundwork on topics like designing electrical circuits, and alternative ways of producing energy. This inquiry will create an awareness for society’s reliance on electricity and electrical devices.

 

Fund Me!

Understanding Earth and Space Systems
The students will be researching the costs and benefits of space exploration in order to determine whether the Canadian Space Agency should receive increased funding for their programs or if another program needs it more urgently. In order to prepare the students for this inquiry, the teacher needs to lay the groundwork on the necessary tools and devices for space exploration, and knowledge about space phenomena. This inquiry will create an awareness of the benefits and costs of space exploration.

 

 

8 Grade 7

 

My Environment, My Sustainable Solutions

Understanding Life Systems
In these inquiry activities, students will first experience a local ecosystem to practice observations and generate their own questions which may become a focus of inquiry.

Students will then be challenged to design and build a model ecosystem using a variety of tools and materials. Recording qualitative and quantitative data will be used to assess the viability of their ecosystem and propose changes to the design.

Students will also propose and act on a local environmental, sustainability, or protection initiative. They will research an environmental problem, propose solutions, contact an organization with similar goals, and put their own plan in action.

 

Shaping Structures for Sustainability

Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
In this inquiry activity, students will explore structures around their environment and pose questions related to form and function. They will use the technological problem-solving process to design and build a workable structure to investigate form and function concepts. They will relate their findings to established scientific facts and produce a scaled model of a structure, or the structure itself.

 

Mix it up! Split it up! Drink it up!

Understanding Matter and Energy
Students first get introduced to the concepts of pure substances and mixtures, and the particle theory by doing a photo-hunt for matter in their home and exploring the world of particles through images from electron microscopes. Then students design their own experiments following the scientific method to answer questions about the properties of matter. Scaffolding can be used to encourage gradual release of responsibility for choices of materials and methods. In a second activity, students are required to design and build a water purifying system using basic materials to separate the various “pollutants”, with a focus on disposal of the “refuse” of the experiment in an eco-sensitive manner.

 

Exploring Green Houses

Understanding Earth and Space Systems
In this design project, students generate scientifically relevant questions concerning efficient buildings, heat transfer, and the conservation of heat. Students will obtain evidence that supports or refutes their response by experimentation, and provide explanations for what they observe. They will conduct inquiry by designing and building a structure to test their hypotheses. They will link the results to accepted facts about heat and temperature, and communicate their results in an acceptable format.

 

 

 

9 Grade 8

 

Caution! Cells at Work

Understanding Life Systems
In this inquiry project, students will explore the basic process of osmosis and capillary action through an investigation that will mimic the process through biomimicry. Students will relate their knowledge and build a sub-irrigation planter, or vertical planter, and surrounding trellis.

 

 

Medieval Machine Mayhem!

Understanding Structures and Mechanisms
In this inquiry activity, students will explore and understand what machines are and how they work. Students will produce culminating pieces of work summarizing and extending their knowledge of machines from the Medieval/Renaissance time periods. They will investigate mechanical advantage in a variety of mechanisms and simple machines as related to Medieval/Renaissance times. Students will ask questions about the machines and develop and implement experiments to provide solutions to their queries.

 

 

Fluid Functionality

Understanding Matter and Energy
In this inquiry activity, students will explore and understand what pneumatic and hydraulic systems are and how they are currently used. Students will produce culminating pieces of work summarizing and extending their knowledge of Pascal’s Law. They will investigate the viscosity of fluids in relation to the efficiency and functioning of a hydraulic system of their design. Students will ask questions about their systems and develop and implement experiments to provide solutions to their queries.

 

 

Water, Water Everywhere!

Understanding Earth and Space Systems
In this inquiry project, students will investigate how to assess water quality and learn about the impact of unclean water on human activities.