Ontario Modernizing School Science Curriculum
TORONTO — To ensure students have critical life and job skills, the Ontario government is introducing a new science and technology curriculum and de-streaming the Grade 9 science course for the upcoming 2022-23 school year.
The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1 to 8: Science and Technology, 2022, and the planned changes to the new de-streamed Grade 9 science course, are part of the government’s plan to align curriculum changes with the province’s economic needs and place an emphasis on critical life and job skills, including the fast-growing skilled trades.
Ontario’s elementary science and technology curriculum was last updated in 2007 and the Grade 9 course was last updated in 2008. Since then, 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.
“Ontario has transformed the curriculum to now emphasize STEM education across all grades, embedding life and job skills that will support the next generation of scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “From finding new cures for cancer, to space robotics that reach new planets, and the development of artificial intelligence and technologies that are changing the economy, Ontario’s new science and technology curriculum is focused on giving young people the skills to think critically, dream boldly and chart new pathways forward for our economy.”
For the first time in Ontario history, the revised curriculum includes required learning on real-world connections between science, technology, engineering and mathematics. New expectations 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. These new learning expectations within the curriculum will ensure Ontario’s students are at the forefront of emerging innovation, thought and able to compete in the global economy.
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.
- To develop the revised elementary science and technology curriculum, Ontario reviewed current research and best practices from leading jurisdictions and incorporated feedback from education stakeholders and partners, including postsecondary institutions and Indigenous partners.
- Revising the elementary science and technology curriculum and developing the new Grade 9 science course is the next step to ensure that Ontario students will be prepared with the STEM skills they need to be successful in secondary school and beyond.
- The ministry is committed to continuing to support educators with teaching STEM and is partnering with subject associations and third-party organizations, including Ontario Science Centre, Science North and Let’s Talk Science, to develop classroom-ready resources and professional learning opportunities for educators in the months leading up to classroom implementation and throughout the 2022-23 school year.
- The ministry is also partnering with Science North to provide STEM supports for students in Grades 7 to 10, including those students traditionally underrepresented in STEM. This will provide opportunities for students to develop real-world job skills in STEM fields.
- In July 2020, the Ontario government announced new changes to the education system to ensure all students can reach their full potential. As part of this action, the province has ended Grade 9 streaming into applied and academic courses.
- The elementary math curriculum for Grades 1 to 8 was issued in June 2020 to better prepare students for work in a rapidly changing world, strengthen math competence and improve grades.
- The de-streamed Grade 9 Mathematics course was issued in June 2021 as part of the province’s four-year mathematics strategy to ensure all students can build the skills and confidence they need to succeed and excel. The course includes mandatory new learning on coding, data literacy, mathematical modelling and an emphasis on financial literacy.
“As an organization dedicated to promoting careers in skilled trades and technologies to youth, Skills Ontario fully supports the modernization of the curriculum to include skilled trades and better address STEM. Encouraging youth to explore these pathways is vital to our success as a province. We are thrilled to continue our strong partnership with the Ontario government and the Ministry of Education, and we remain committed to supporting and encouraging the next generation of skilled trade and technology leaders.”
– Ian T. Howcroft
Chief Executive Officer, Skills Ontario
“At First Robotics Canada, we recognize the importance of increasing the representation of women in STEM and we are excited to be part of today’s announcement with the Provincial Government. It’s great to see our government modernizing Science and Technology curriculum in Ontario to include more STEM concepts and experiential learning. Creating pathways for women in STEM through this new curriculum will lead to an increased diversity of thought which will have significant advantages for Ontario’s future.”
– Arti Javeri
Vice- President partnerships, First Robotics