Science and Technology
Understanding Life Systems:
Growth and Change in Animals
Growth and Changes in Animals focuses on investigating the distinct characteristics of animals related to appearance, behaviour, growth, and change. Students will study a variety of animals and identify important similarities and differences among them. As well as making the obvious physical comparisons, students will look at ways in which human activities have an impact on specific animals and their survival, and ways in which the animals’ environment has an impact on their development. They will also examine the importance of animals and the need for humans to protect animals and the places where they live.
This topic provides opportunities for students to observe live animals. Caring for them in the classroom, even for short periods of time, helps students to learn about their needs and characteristics. It also helps to foster concern and respect for living things. Teachers should respect the fact that some students may not wish to handle or pet animals, for personal or religious reasons. It is important that students be able to identify practices that ensure their own personal safety and the safety of others and demonstrate an understanding of these practices. This includes knowing why it is important to make the teacher aware of any allergies to animal fur and/or dander, to wash their hands before and after handling animals, and to properly clean and maintain the animals’ housing.
Understanding Earth and Space Systems:
Air and Water in the Environment
Air and water form a major part of the environment and are essential materials for life. Through investigations, students will learn about the characteristics of air and the various forms of water in the environment, about changes in and interactions between air and water when they are heated and cooled, and about their movement through the environment. Students will also learn about the impact of human actions on the quality of air and water and about their responsibility for keeping air and water clean.
It is important that students investigate air and water in a manner that ensures their personal safety and the safety of others. This includes understanding why demonstrations involving heat (e.g., using a kettle) must always be done by the teacher, and why any objects that are propelled by air should always be directed away from other students. Connections can also be made with the topic in the preceding strand – Properties of Liquids and Solids
Understanding Matter and Energy:
Properties of Liquids and Solids
When students examine materials in the world around them, they become aware of a wide variety of similarities and differences in the properties of those materials, including how they look, feel, and change. Students will develop their understanding of the properties of materials through investigating familiar liquid and solid materials, including the different ways in which liquids and solids interact and the various uses of liquid and solid materials.
When working with liquids and solids, it is important that students do so in a manner that ensures their personal safety and the safety of others. This includes understanding why they should never put any materials in their mouths unless told to do so by the teacher. Students should also understand why they should wash their hands after handling any materials. Connections can also be made with the topic in the following strand – Air and Water in the Environment.
Understanding Structures and Mechanisms: Movement
The study of moving things helps students develop both a sense of spatial relationships and an understanding of the relationship between stationary and moving objects. Students will learn about the basic nature of movement as a change in position of an object. They will learn about the six basic types of simple machines (lever; inclined plane; pulley; wheel and axle, including gear; screw; wedge), and how they help humans to move objects. They will also learn that mechanisms are moving parts that incorporate simple machines for changing the type and direction of movement and that mechanisms and machines help make our lives easier and/or more enjoyable. It is necessary for teachers to provide opportunities for students with special education needs to participate in design-and-build, or comparable, activities.
As students design, build, and test their mechanisms, it is important that they do so in a manner that ensures their personal safety and the safety of others. This includes understanding why it is important to use the appropriate tools for a task (e.g., a paper punch or paper drill for making holes for wheels and axles), and why they should not put small objects such as wood fragments into their ears or nose.