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Science is a human endeavour in which curiosity, creativity, and perseverance are used to obtain a deeper understanding of the natural world. Science includes the interconnected disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, Earth science, astronomy, and computer science. Science is a self-correcting way of knowing about the world that uses cyclical and iterative scientific methods to develop and refine scientific knowledge. Scientific methods include formulating scientific questions and hypotheses, then investigating them through objectively observing, collecting, and analyzing data to formulate conclusions and explanations based on evidence. Scientific knowledge refers to objective, evidence-based observations and explanations of testable phenomena that are accepted by the scientific community. Scientific knowledge is organized according to classification systems and subject to change when new evidence is presented. Science includes the critical thinking skills, scientific knowledge, and civic literacy required to respond to relevant personal, societal, and environmental issues. Science knowledge is enriched through the shared contributions of people from diverse cultures and perspectives. Science is essential in developing innovative ideas and solutions to address local and global challenges now and in the future.
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Grade 6
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Organizing Idea
Matter: Understandings of the physical world are deepened through investigating matter and energy.
Guiding Question
How can the particles of matter be influenced by heating or cooling?
Learning Outcome
Students investigate how particles of matter behave when heated or cooled and analyze effects on solids, liquids, and gases.
Knowledge
The particle model of matter states that heating matter makes particles move faster.

As particles move faster the space between them increases.

A phase change is a change from one state of matter to another.
Understanding
Particles change speed and distance from each other when heated or cooled.
Skills & Procedures
Explain phase changes using the particle model of matter.
Knowledge
The degree Celsius is a unit scientists use to measure temperature. The symbol for degree Celsius is °C.

The Celsius scale was created based on the changes of state of water, and defines 0°C as the melting/freezing point of water and 100°C as the boiling point of water.

The faster particles move, the higher the temperature of a substance.
Understanding
The speed at which particles move indicates the temperature of a substance.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss the connection between movement of particles and temperature in degrees Celsius.

Predict how different temperatures would affect the movement of particles in solids, liquids, and gases.

Relate the melting/freezing and boiling points of water to the Celsius scale.

Identify safety practices associated with temperature and use of measurement tools.
Knowledge
The design of temperature tools, including thermometers and thermostats, is based on the expansion and contraction of matter.

A thermometer measures the expansion or contraction of a liquid, using a scale.
Understanding
Most matter expands when heated and contracts when cooled.
Skills & Procedures
Describe how a thermometer works.

Evaluate the effectiveness of a student-created thermometer.

Conduct investigations related to the expansion and contraction of substances when they are heated and cooled.
Knowledge
Water has the unusual property of having greater volume in solid form than in liquid form.

Because of water’s unusual property, it is less dense in solid form than in liquid form.

Bodies of water with winter temperatures below the freezing point of water form an insulating sheet of ice on their surface that protects aquatic life.
Understanding
Bodies of water are able to sustain life in winter due to water having unique physical properties.
Skills & Procedures
Conduct a simple experiment to demonstrate that liquid water is more dense than solid water (ice).

Predict what would happen to plants and animals living in bodies of water if solid water (ice) were more dense than liquid water.
Knowledge
Infrastructure that needs to consider a materials response to temperature can include sidewalks, bridges, and roads.

Thermal expansion is the response materials have to heat.
Understanding
The design and building of infrastructure takes into consideration a material’s response to temperature change.
Skills & Procedures
Conduct research about the function of materials, based on their thermal expansion, in a variety of infrastructure.

Explain the significance of thermal expansion in the design and building of structures.
Knowledge
During a change of state, the volume of the material may change but the mass remains constant.
Understanding
The makeup of a particle, including its mass, remains the same regardless of a change of state.
Skills & Procedures
Conduct a controlled experiment to determine whether the mass of a material is the same after a change of state.

Analyze the results of a controlled experiment where a change of state occurs.
Organizing Idea
Energy: Understandings of the physical world are deepened through investigating matter and energy.
Guiding Question
In what ways can interactions lead to physical change?
Learning Outcome
Students analyze and describe interactions between objects that lead to change.
Knowledge
Interaction is a process where two or more objects have an effect on each other.

Contact interactions result in contact forces.

Non-contact interactions result in non-contact forces.

Understanding
An interaction between objects results in a force that can affect the shape, size, and/or position of the objects.
Skills & Procedures
Investigate how forces act on and influence the shape, size, and/or position of objects.

Plan and conduct experiments to determine the relationship between the physical properties of objects and the changes in shape, size, and/or position that occur when a force is applied.

Use materials, tools, and equipment safely while experimenting with forces in interactions.
Knowledge
External forces are forces that act on an object from outside the object.

Internal forces are forces within an object.

External forces cause internal forces within an object.

External and internal forces that can affect the shape, size, position, and/or movement of objects include
  • applied force
  • friction
  • tension
  • elastic or spring force
  • compression
  • shear
  • torsion
Applied force is exerted by a person or an object upon another object.

Friction forces oppose the movement of objects when they come into contact with other objects or surfaces.

Tension is a force exerted by pulling on a string or rope connected to an object.

Elastic or spring force is exerted by a compressed or stretched elastic object or spring upon any object that it is in contact with.

Compression is a force exerted on an object that squeezes, squashes, or compacts it.

Shear is a force that pushes parts of an object in opposite directions resulting in bending or breaking.

Torsion is a force that twists an object.
Understanding
An interaction includes internal and external forces that can affect the shape, size, position, and/or movement of objects.
Skills & Procedures
Conduct investigations regarding the effects of external and internal forces on the shape, size, position, and/or movement of objects.

Identify the force(s) that are acting on an object during a specific interaction.

Use scientific vocabulary when analyzing interactions.
Knowledge
Plasticity is a material property that leads to permanent deformation.

Elasticity is a material property that enables temporary deformation.
Understanding
Change in an object’s shape can be temporary or permanent depending on the properties of the material and the nature of an interaction.
Skills & Procedures
Identify the type of change objects underwent in various interactions.

Plan and conduct investigations that demonstrate temporary and permanent changes to an object’s shape.

Use scientific vocabulary, including elasticity and plasticity, when describing interactions between different materials.

Knowledge
Newton's third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The forces resulting from an interaction are action force and reaction force.
Understanding
Interaction involves a pair of opposing forces acting on the two objects involved.
Skills & Procedures
Perform a simple experiment or construct a device that demonstrates Newton’s third law of motion.

Represent the action-reaction force pairs in diverse scenarios.
Guiding Question
How are energy resources used?
Learning Outcome
Students evaluate the use of energy resources and explain factors that influence choice.
Knowledge
Factors to consider when choosing which energy resources to use include
  • availability
  • accessibility
  • extraction process
  • efficiency
  • technologies required to transform for different purposes
  • transportation and distribution
  • societal impacts
  • economic impacts
  • environmental/climate impacts
Understanding
There are several factors to consider when determining use of energy resources.
Skills & Procedures
Identify economic and environmental factors that might be considered when making decisions about use of energy resources.

Identify the scientific and economic reasons why fossil fuels, including oil and natural gas, are currently the principal energy resources used in Alberta.

Discuss the scientific, environmental, and economic considerations around energy distribution and use in the province of Alberta.

Examine energy distribution and use in another country and compare it to Alberta.
Knowledge
Energy resources that are accessed directly include wood and biofuel.

Energy resources that are accessed after processing include
  • wind
  • solar
  • fossil fuels
  • nuclear
  • hydro
Understanding
Energy resources can be accessed either directly or after processing.
Skills & Procedures
Classify energy resources as being used directly or after processing.

Identify ways energy resources can be processed.
Knowledge
Daily needs and wants that require energy resources include
  • heating
  • cooling
  • lighting
  • cooking
  • transportation
  • sound and video
  • communication
Understanding
Energy resources meet community or human daily needs and wants.
Skills & Procedures
Identify ways energy resources meet community or human needs or wants, past and present.

Construct a device that uses one energy resource to solve a problem or respond to a need.

Follow safety protocols when working with tools, materials, and equipment.
Knowledge
Energy use may have environmental or economic impacts, including human-caused (anthropogenic) climate change.
Understanding
Energy resources are used in ways that have short- and long-term impacts.
Skills & Procedures
Investigate short- and long-term impacts of the use of renewable and non-renewable energy resources.
Knowledge
Responsible management of energy resources can include
  • minimal disruption of the natural environment
  • restoration of areas
  • waste management practices
Understanding
Energy resources can be managed responsibly.
Skills & Procedures
Examine conservation and the management of energy resources in various contexts.
Organizing Idea
Earth Systems: Understandings of the living world, Earth, and space are deepened through investigating natural systems and their interactions.
Guiding Question
What factors affect climate?
Learning Outcome
Students investigate climate and describe the interactions between the Sun, water, air, and land.
Knowledge
Components of Earth’s systems that interact to affect climate include
  • sunlight
  • water
  • air
  • land
Understanding
Climate involves complex interactions between various components of Earth’s systems.
Skills & Procedures
Research the impacts that interactions between the Sun, water, air, and land have on climate.
Knowledge
Changes in climate can be caused by natural processes, including
  • volcanic eruptions
  • meteors
  • changes in the Sun’s output
  • changes in orbits
Changes in climate can be caused by human-made processes, including industrialization and pollution.
Understanding
While climate is more stable than weather, it is also susceptible to change due to natural and human-made processes.
Skills & Procedures
Explain how natural processes and human-made processes can contribute to climate change, including ice ages and global warming or cooling.
Knowledge
Climate change can affect
  • weather and extreme weather events
  • migration patterns
  • species extinction
  • glacier formation
  • water resources
  • forest fires
  • length of growing seasons
Traditional ways of living off the land and hunting and gathering practices of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities have been impacted by climate change.
Understanding
Climate change over time can affect land, people, plants, and animals in a variety of ways.
Skills & Procedures
Research the effects of climate change on land, people, plants, and animals.

Discuss how changes in practices, such as the timing of planting and harvesting, have been impacted by climate change.

Research how climate change is affecting ways of living in northern, Inuit, and/or coastal communities in Canada.

Identify how climate change is affecting traditional ways of living off the land.

Propose ideas that will help humans address climate change in Canada and the world.
Knowledge
Climate change can be identified through long-term observation and measurement of weather conditions, including amount of precipitation, temperature, and
number of extreme weather events.

Climate change can be identified through long-term observation and measurement of environmental conditions, including
  • sea and ocean levels
  • thickness and duration of sea ice
  • permafrost changes
  • number of forest fires
  • changes in the gases found in the air
Climate observations can come from
  • recorded information
  • oral narratives
  • surface layers, including ice, from different time periods on Earth
Understanding
Identifying changes in climate relies on observations from different points in time.
Skills & Procedures
Compare historical observations and measurements of weather and environmental conditions to current data.
Knowledge
Location factors that affect climate include
  • latitude
  • proximity to a large body of water
  • elevation
  • landforms
  • urban or rural
Understanding
Climate is dependent on location.
Skills & Procedures
Compare and contrast the climate of selected Canadian cities or provinces based on their location.
Knowledge
Technologies used to predict extreme weather events include radars, weather satellites, and computer modelling.

Technologies are emerging that allow for improved tracking and prediction of extreme weather events.
Understanding
Extreme weather events are related to location and climate.
Skills & Procedures
Relate extreme weather conditions to specific locations in Canada and on Earth.

Research technologies that can be used to track and predict extreme weather events.
Knowledge
Climate change programs continue to foster relations between Indigenous and northern communities to work alongside the government.
Understanding
Collaboration between scientists and traditional Knowledge Keepers provides a broader understanding of the effects of weather on people and the environment.

Traditional knowledge and modern technologies both provide information on long-term climate changes.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss how scientists and traditional Knowledge Keepers can collaborate to develop deeper understandings of the effects of weather on people and the environment.

Propose ideas on how local traditional Knowledge Keepers and the scientific community can collaborate to support understanding of local climate and climate change.
Organizing Idea
Living Systems: Understandings of the living world, Earth, and space are deepened through investigating natural systems and their interactions.
Guiding Question
What are ecosystems?
Learning Outcome
Students investigate the characteristics and components of ecosystems and the impact of human activity.
Knowledge
Biotic components of an ecosystem include plants, animals, and micro-organisms.

Abiotic components of an ecosystem include
  • the Sun
  • water
  • soil
  • air
  • temperature
Understanding
Ecosystems are complex systems of biotic and abiotic components.

All components of an ecosystem depend on each other either directly or indirectly.
Skills & Procedures
Represent the connections between components of an ecosystem by recording observations using words, tables, graphs, diagrams, photographs, or other representations.
Knowledge
Types of ecosystems include
  • desert
  • arctic
  • grassland
  • forest
  • tundra
  • freshwater
  • marine
  • alpine
Characteristics of ecosystems include
  • climate patterns
  • size
  • vegetation structure
  • animal populations
  • geographic location
Understanding
Each ecosystem has specific components and characteristics.
Skills & Procedures
Locate and responsibly examine an ecosystem in nature.

Practise safe and appropriate use of materials and digital or non-digital tools, including still-image, video-recording, and magnifying devices, while physically examining a local ecosystem.

Identify characteristics of a chosen ecosystem and represent them using a model.

Identify similarities and differences between two ecosystems.
Knowledge
Characteristics of ecosystems that affect diversity of organisms include
  • geographic location, including climate patterns, topography, and water
  • size, from very small to very large
  • complexity, including number and type of plant and animal species
Understanding
The characteristics of an ecosystem affect the diversity of the organisms that live in it.
Skills & Procedures
Analyze diversity of animals and plants in various ecosystems.
Knowledge
Plants play a variety of roles in an ecosystem, including
  • photosynthesis
  • cleaning and filtering water
  • preventing soil erosion
  • providing food and shelter for animals
Humans use plants in various ways, including
  • production of oxygen
  • food
  • clothing
  • paper
  • building materials
  • medicine
  • fuel
  • shade from the Sun
Certain plants, such as sage, sweetgrass, cedar, and tobacco, are considered sacred to First Nations and Métis.

The offering of tobacco signifies
  • relationships with the plant
  • giving back to the land
  • respect for the plant
  • a sustainable relationship
Understanding
Plants play an essential role in an ecosystem.

Plants are used to meet human needs.
Skills & Procedures
Research the importance of plants in an ecosystem.

Identify how plants are used to meet human needs.
Knowledge
The process of photosynthesis produces food in the form of sugar (glucose) and oxygen.

Food produced by photosynthesis can be used by plants and algae to perform vital biological processes.

Food produced by photosynthesis can be digested by animals when they consume plants.

Oxygen released by plants during photosynthesis is used in respiration by animals.

The following are required for photosynthesis to occur:
  • chlorophyll
  • light energy
  • water
  • carbon dioxide
  • nutrients
Understanding
Photosynthesis is essential to maintain many ecosystems.
Skills & Procedures
Explain the process of photosynthesis and its importance in an ecosystem.
Knowledge
The release of oxygen and the presence of starch prove that a plant has been photosynthesizing.

Sugar produced by plants through photosynthesis is stored as starch.

Iodine can be used to indicate the presence of starch.
Understanding
Tests can be performed to determine if a plant has been photosynthesizing.
Skills & Procedures
Design a simple experiment to demonstrate the importance of light energy to photosynthesis.

Design a simple experiment to show a plant is releasing gas.

Design a simple experiment to show a plant contains starch.
Organizing Idea
Space: Understandings of the living world, Earth, and space are deepened through investigating natural systems and their interactions.
Guiding Question
What is the solar system?
Learning Outcome
Students represent and compare the components of the solar system.
Knowledge
Components of the solar system include
  • a star (the Sun)
  • planets and their moons
  • dwarf planets
  • asteroids
  • comets
  • dust
  • gases
Understanding
The solar system is a complex system with many components.
Skills & Procedures
Investigate the components of the solar system.

Name the eight planets in the solar system.

Discuss why Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet.
Knowledge
Celestial bodies are natural bodies located beyond Earth’s atmosphere, including
  • stars
  • planets
  • dwarf planets
  • moons
  • asteroids
  • comets
Celestial bodies vary in many ways, including composition, temperature, and shape.

Some celestial bodies emit light and others reflect light.
Understanding
Celestial bodies can be identified according to characteristics and surface conditions.
Skills & Procedures
Describe the characteristics and surface conditions of celestial bodies in our solar system, including planets, asteroids, and comets.
Knowledge
Technologies that are used to explore the solar system include
  • telescopes
  • satellites
  • probes
  • rovers
  • manned spacecraft and space stations
  • computer modelling
Satellites are objects in space that orbit around another larger object.

Natural satellites are celestial bodies.

Artificial satellites are constructed and put into orbit by humans.

The first satellite put into orbit by Alberta (Ex-Alta 1) was designed by a group of students and faculty at the University of Alberta (AlbertaSat) and was successfully launched from the International Space Station (ISS) in 2017.

The International Space Station (ISS) is a research facility that orbits Earth.
Understanding
The solar system is understood through the use of a variety of technologies.

Knowledge of the solar system continues to develop with further space exploration and discovery.
Skills & Procedures
Identify technologies and procedures used to gather knowledge about planets and other objects in space.

Identify similarities and differences between natural satellites and artificial satellites, including Earth, the Moon, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the International Space Station (ISS).

Discuss potential personal, societal, technological, and environmental barriers to living and working in space.
Knowledge
Models of the solar system include the Sun and the eight planets.
Understanding
The solar system can be modelled to represent the size of components and the distance between them.
Skills & Procedures
Identify components of the solar system represented in physical, pictorial, or digital models.

Investigate and share digital or non-digital resources that contribute to understandings of the solar system.
Organizing Idea
Computer Science: Problem solving and scientific inquiry are developed through the knowledgeable application of creativity, design, and computational thinking.
Guiding Question
How is design and abstraction used in computational thinking?
Learning Outcome
Students create and refine computational artifacts through the use of design and abstraction.
Knowledge
The process of abstraction is the reducing, filtering, or removing of unnecessary information.

Abstraction includes
  • determining what to keep and what to ignore
  • removing unnecessary detail
  • identifying important information
  • generalizing patterns
Understanding
Abstraction is used in design to make problems or systems easier to think about.
Skills & Procedures
Apply abstraction during the design process.
Knowledge
An abstraction is a simplified version of something complex.

Abstractions that make daily life easier include
  • simple controls on appliances
  • light switches
  • steering wheels
  • apps
Understanding
Abstractions used in technology make daily tasks easier to understand and perform.
Skills & Procedures
Identify examples of abstractions encountered in daily life.
Knowledge
Examples of computational artifacts designed to address societal needs and wants include
  • weather modelling
  • communication
  • automotive control
  • medical research
  • online shopping and scheduling
  • computer games
  • apps
Understanding
Computational artifacts are designed to address societal needs and wants.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss the role of design and coding in society, including career opportunities.
Knowledge
Structures used in coding include
  • sequence
  • conditionals (e.g., if … then)
  • loops
  • true/false variables
  • operators such as and, or, and not
Understanding
Coding requires the use of specific structures in the design.
Skills & Procedures
Use a visual block-based coding language to design code that includes relevant design structures.
Knowledge
Literacy skills applied in coding include using precise language and following grammar rules.

Numeracy skills applied in coding include sequencing, recognizing patterns, and understanding variables.
Understanding
Designing code requires the application of literacy and numeracy skills.
Skills & Procedures
Apply relevant literacy and numeracy skills when designing code.

Explain how literacy and numeracy skills are significant to coding.
Knowledge
The use of computers, coding, and technology can have impacts that are
  • personal
  • social
  • environmental
  • economic
Negative impacts of computers, coding, or technology may be intentional or unintentional.
Understanding
Computers, coding, and technology can be used in ways that have positive or negative impacts.

Skills & Procedures
Research how computers, coding, or technology have been used in ways that have had positive impacts.

Communicate potential personal, social, environmental, or economic impacts that computers, coding, or technology could have.

Identify situations in which computers, coding, or technology have had negative impacts.
Organizing Idea
Scientific Methods: Investigation of the physical world is enhanced through the use of scientific methods that attempt to remove human biases and increase objectivity.
Guiding Question
What is the purpose of scientific explanations?
Learning Outcome
Students investigate and describe the role of explanation in science.
Knowledge
Scientific explanations must be testable (falsifiable).

Testable explanations can be contradicted by evidence.

Understanding
Scientific explanations are answers to scientific questions.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss the role of scientific explanations.
Knowledge
Scientific explanations make sense of natural phenomena by identifying relationships between natural phenomena, including cause and effect.
Understanding
Scientific explanations are statements that aim to make sense of natural phenomena.
Skills & Procedures
Research and share examples of scientific explanations that make sense of natural phenomena.

Use evidence to evaluate explanations of cause and effect related to natural phenomena.
Knowledge
Hypotheses are based on prior scientific knowledge and understandings.
Understanding
Hypotheses are proposed scientific explanations that are developed prior to conducting an investigation.
Skills & Procedures
Develop a hypothesis before conducting a simple investigation.
Knowledge
Data used in scientific explanations includes observations or measurements gathered using scientific methods.

Evidence used in scientific explanations includes findings from analyzing observations and measurements used to support or contradict a hypothesis.

Explanations should be constructed using reliable, objective data and evidence.

Only scientific experiments performed with objectivity and a high level of accuracy produce trustworthy evidence to support explanations.

Not all scientific experiments are completed with the same level of objectivity and accuracy.
Understanding
Scientific explanations are based on data and evidence.
Skills & Procedures
Create scientific explanations using observations and measurements to explain how natural phenomena occur.

Discuss observations and measurements that were used to create scientific explanations.

Evaluate the trustworthiness of evidence and explanations from a variety of sources.
Knowledge
Scientists communicate evidence and explanations differently to the public than to the scientific community.

Scientists communicate data, evidence, and explanations to the public through
  • graphs, tables, flow charts, diagrams
  • formulas
  • models
  • role plays
  • films
  • maps
Scientists communicate data, evidence, and explanations to the scientific community through
  • research papers
  • conferences
  • graphs, tables, flow charts, diagrams
  • formulas
  • models
  • maps
Understanding
Representations of data and evidence enhance scientific understanding and explanation.
Skills & Procedures
Communicate ideas, explanations, and processes using various representations, including appropriate technologies.

Construct graphs and tables using proper labels, legends, scales, and titles.

Interpret various representations of data and evidence to explain natural phenomena.

Compare and refine explanations based on an evaluation of the evidence presented.

Determine the appropriateness of methods of communicating data, evidence, and explanations based on the audience.

Knowledge
Background knowledge important to understanding explanations could include scientific vocabulary, methods, concepts, and ideas.
Understanding
Background knowledge may be required to understand explanations in science.
Skills & Procedures
Determine the background knowledge required to understand a scientific explanation.
Knowledge
Ways to share explanations of natural events include
  • written texts
  • traditional knowledge
  • visual forms
  • verbal presentations
  • stories and legends
Understanding
Explanations of natural events and phenomena have historically been and continue to be shared in various ways.
Skills & Procedures
Compare and contrast multiple forms of text that offer explanations of natural events and phenomena.
Knowledge
Evidence and scientific explanations are subject to further investigation to determine their validity.

Further investigation can include
  • continual collection of evidence over time
  • discussion and debate in the scientific community
  • multiple investigations over long periods of time
  • replication of investigation by other scientists
  • new technologies and methods revealing new evidence
  • analysis of the scientific methods that were used
Evidence that seems to contradict scientific explanations requires further investigation to determine its validity.

One conflicting study is not enough to cause a scientific explanation to be revised.
Understanding
Science is a self-correcting way of knowing about the world, where new evidence can change understandings and explanations.
Skills & Procedures
Explain why evidence is subject to further investigation.

Identify methods that can be used to validate evidence and explanations.

Discuss the importance of collecting evidence from multiple studies over long periods of time.

Describe how discussing and debating evidence from investigations can enhance scientific knowledge of natural phenomena.

Research how explanations of natural phenomena have been refined as new evidence has been revealed.

Explain the process that occurs when contradictory evidence is revealed.