Ontario has announced an updated science curriculum that will focus on “modernizing education” by teaching students subjects like coding starting in Grade 1.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced the revised curriculum, which will go into effect September 2022, during a press conference in Toronto on Tuesday.
According to the government, the science curriculum has been updated to teach students concepts that will be relevant and reflect “real-world experiences.”
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CHANGES?
Within the revised science curriculum, there is a new strand that will focus on applying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
According to the government, the STEM strand will provide students with “critical life and job skills” that are required in order to “prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.”
“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,” Lecce said Tuesday.
In the new curriculum, there will be coding expectations for students starting in Grade 1 and students will continue developing those skills until at least Grade 9.
According to the government, students will also engage in mandatory learning on how advancements in science and emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, are enhancing and changing the skilled trades.
Students will also learn about the engineering design process, and will have the opportunity to invent solutions to problems they see, including environmental issues.
In Grade 1 to 3, students will be taught to make connections from what they are learning in class to how they could apply to the skilled trades. In Grade 4 to 8, students will learn about the practical applications of science and technology concepts in the skilled trades.
According to the government, the previous curriculum did not contain required learning related to the skilled trades.
Other strands within the current science curriculum – including life systems, matter and energy, and earth and space systems – have been updated and modernized, the government says.
This will include more education on how science can be used to help reduce climate change. There will also be a stronger focus on food literacy throughout the all grades.
The government said they have also de-streamed the Grade 9 science curriculum, meaning all students beginning high school will take the same course.
The updated curriculum incorporates feedback from academic, industry, and other education stakeholders, including Indigenous partners, the government said.
There will be a mandatory professional education day in the 2022 school year for educators to learn the new curriculum, the government said.