Mathematics, Sciences, & Technology
Overview of Mathematics
Both groups of grades 9/10 and 11/12 senior mathematics programs are founded on the premise that students learn mathematics most effectively when they build a thorough understanding of mathematical concepts and procedures. Such understanding is achieved when mathematical concepts and procedures are introduced through an investigative approach and connected to students’ prior knowledge in meaningful ways. This curriculum is designed to help students prepare for university, college, or the workplace by building a solid conceptual foundation in mathematics that will enable them to apply their knowledge and skills in a variety of ways and further their learning successfully. An important part of every course in the mathematics program is the process of inquiry, in which students develop methods for exploring new problems or unfamiliar situations. Knowing how to learn mathematics is the underlying expectation that every student in every course needs to achieve. An important part of the inquiry process is that of taking the conditions of a real-world situation and representing them in mathematical form. A mathematical representation can take many different forms – for example, it can be a physical model, a diagram, a graph, a table of values, an equation, or a computer simulation. It is important that students recognize various mathematical representations of given relationships and that they become familiar with increasingly sophisticated representations as they progress through secondary school
Overview of Sciences
The overall aim of the secondary science program is to ensure scientific literacy for every secondary school graduate. To better achieve this aim, all courses in the program are designed to focus on science not only as an intellectual pursuit but also as an activity-based enterprise within a social context.
Courses in the Grade 9 and 10 secondary science curriculum are organized into five strands. The first strand focuses on the essential skills of scientific investigation, and on career exploration. The remaining four strands cover the content areas of science, each focusing on one of the scientific subdisciplines – biology, chemistry, earth and space science, and physics.
Courses in Grades 9 and 10 The science courses in the Grade 9 and 10 curriculum are offered in two course types: academic and applied. The course types are defined as follows: Academic courses develop students’ knowledge and skills through the study of theory and abstract problems. These courses focus on the essential concepts of a subject and explore related concepts as well. They incorporate practical applications as appropriate. Applied courses focus on the essential concepts of a subject, and develop students’ knowledge and skills through practical applications and concrete examples. Familiar situations are used to illustrate ideas, and students are given more opportunities to experience hands-on applications of the concepts and theories they study.
The Grades 11 and 12 science curriculum is designed to help students prepare for university, college, or the workplace by building a solid conceptual and procedural foundation in science that enables them to apply their knowledge and skills in a variety of ways and successfully further their learning. An important component of every course in the science program is the development of students’ ability to relate science to technology, society, and the environment. Students are encouraged to apply their understanding of science to real-world situations in these areas and to develop knowledge, skills, and attitudes that they will take with them beyond the science classroom. The Grade 11 and 12 science program is designed to help students become scientifically literate. One aspect of scientific literacy is the ability to recognize, interpret, and produce representations of scientific information in forms ranging from written and oral reports, drawings and diagrams, and graphs and tables of values to equations, physical models, and computer simulations. As students’ scientific knowledge and skills develop through the grades, they will become conversant with increasingly sophisticated forms and representations of scientific information. The senior science curriculum also builds on students’ experience with a variety of the sophisticated yet easy-to-use computer applications and simulations that are so prevalent in today’s world. The curriculum integrates these technologies into the learning and doing of science in ways that help students develop investigation skills, extend their 10 THE PROGRAM IN SCIENCE 11 understanding of scientific concepts, enable them to solve meaningful problems, and familiarize them with technologies that can be applied in various other areas of endeavour. In this curriculum, technology does not replace skills acquisition; rather, it is treated as a learning tool that helps students explore concepts and hone skills.
The computer studies program comprises courses in Grades 10, 11, and 12. Three types of courses are offered in the program: university preparation, college preparation, and open courses. Students choose between course types on the basis of their interests, achievement, and postsecondary goals. The course types are defined as follows: • University preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for university programs. • College preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the requirements for entrance to most college programs or for admission to apprenticeship or other training programs. • Open courses are designed to broaden students’ knowledge and skills in subjects that reflect their interests and to prepare them for active and rewarding participa- tion in society. They are not designed with the specific requirements of universities, colleges, or the workplace in mind. The program in computer studies offers a variety of courses to help students develop a deeper understanding of the world of computer science and computer programming, and to help focus their interests in this area. The Grade 10 open course will appeal to any student interested in exploring how computers are used to solve problems. The course provides students with the opportunity to develop the logical thinking processes used in designing computer solutions to problems and to acquire basic computer programming skills that will enable them to create a working computer program. College preparation courses focus on the development of computer programming skills. These courses introduce students to the types of programs offered at community colleges – programs that focus on the practical skills businesses currently demand. Students are given opportunities to use problem-solving strategies and tools to address challenges such as creating custom programs, tailoring existing program packages, and using database management systems and scripting languages.