Grade 9 Science Academic SNC1D Course Outline

Basic Information

Department: Science

Course Developer: Canada Online School, David Kamatovic

Development Date: April 2018

Revision Date: May 2019

Credit value: 1.0

Credit Hours: 110

Ministry Document: Science, The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 9 and 10, 2008

Prerequisite(s): None

Course Description

This course enables students to develop their understanding of basic concepts in biology, chemistry, earth and space science, and physics, and to relate science to technology, society, and the environment. Throughout the course, students will develop their skills in the processes of scientific investigation. Students will acquire an understanding of scientific theories and conduct investigations related to sustainable ecosystems; atomic and molecular structures and the properties of elements and compounds; the study of the universe and its properties and components; and the principles of electricity.

Textbooks and other required resources

  • Nelson Science Perspectives 9 (Can be provided by COS)
  • A non-programmable scientific calculator
  • An Internet connection and a device with basic web browsing capabilities (see System Requirements in Course Calendar
  • Tool for scanning or taking photos of handwritten work for uploading


Overall Curriculum Expectations


A. Scientific Investigation Skills and Career Exploration
A1 demonstrate scientific investigation skills (related to both inquiry and research) in the four areas of skills (initiating and planning, performing and recording, analyzing and interpreting, and communicating);
A2 identify and describe a variety of careers related to the fields of science under study, and identify scientists, including Canadians, who have made contributions to those fields.
B. Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems
B1 assess the impact of human activities on the sustainability of terrestrial and/or aquatic ecosystems, and evaluate the effectiveness of courses of action intended to remedy or mitigate negative impacts;
B2 investigate factors related to human activity that affect terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and explain how they affect the sustainability of these ecosystems;
B3 demonstrate an understanding of the dynamic nature of ecosystems, particularly in terms of ecological balance and the impact of human activity on the sustainability of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
C. Chemistry: Atoms, Elements, and Compounds
C1 assess social, environmental, and economic impacts of the use of common elements and compounds, with reference to their physical and chemical properties;
C2 investigate, through inquiry, the physical and chemical properties of common elements and compounds;
C3 demonstrate an understanding of the properties of common elements and compounds, and of the organization of elements in the periodic table.
D. Earth and Space Science: The Study of the Universe
D1 assess some of the costs, hazards, and benefits of space exploration and the contributions of Canadians to space research and technology;
D2 investigate the characteristics and properties of a variety of celestial objects visible from Earth in the night sky;
D3 demonstrate an understanding of the major scientific theories about the structure, formation, and evolution of the universe and its components and of the evidence that supports these theories.
E. Physics: The Characteristics of Electricity
E1 assess some of the costs and benefits associated with the production of electrical energy from renewable and non-renewable sources, and analyse how electrical efficiencies and savings can be achieved, through both the design of technological devices and practices in the home;
E2 investigate, through inquiry, various aspects of electricity, including the properties of static and current electricity, and the quantitative relationships between potential difference, current, and resistance in electrical circuits;
E3 demonstrate an understanding of the principles of static and current electricity.


Course Units

Unit Title Expected Hours Final Grade Weighting
Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems 27.5 70% – Grades and the curriculum strands evaluated are cumulative across the entire term. Special consideration may be given to more recent evidence of achievement.
Chemistry: Atoms, Elements, and Compounds 27
Earth and Space Science: The Study of the Universe 27
Physics: The Characteristics of Electricity 27
Final Assessment 1.5 30% – An exam which covers all course learning.
Total 110 100%

Teaching & Learning Strategies

Teaching and learning strategies assist both teachers and students in achieving specific learning objectives. A number of methods have been used to create an online learning environment that will engage students in a variety of ways and support their understanding of scientific concepts. These strategies may include:

  • Clearly communicated curriculum expectations for each unit
  • Clearly communicated learning goals and success criteria in language that can be understood by the student, sometimes co-constructed with the student
  • Text, image, or video-based lesson content and directed reading
  • Diagnostic assessments
  • Animations and simulations
  • Practice question sets and review notes
  • Research reports
  • Presentations
  • Virtual lab investigation activities
  • Assignments, quizzes, and tests
  • Assessments FOR learning with teacher feedback
  • Reflections and self-assessments, leading to conferences when necessary


In order to learn science and to apply their knowledge and skills effectively, students must develop a solid understanding of scientific concepts. Research and successful classroom practice have shown that an inquiry approach, with emphasis on learning through concrete, hands-on experiences, best enables students to develop the conceptual foundation they need. When planning science programs, teachers will provide activities and challenges that actively engage students in inquiries that honour the ideas and skills students bring to them, while further deepening their conceptual understandings and essential skills.

Students will investigate scientific concepts using a variety of equipment, materials, and strategies. Activities are necessary for supporting the effective learning of science by all students. These active learning opportunities invite students to explore and investigate abstract scientific ideas in rich, varied, and hands-on ways. Moreover, the use of a variety of equipment and materials helps deepen and extend students’ understanding of scientific concepts and further extends their development of scientific investigation skills.

In the online environmental, these investigations are conducted virtually, using virtual labs and virtual equipment.

All learning, especially new learning, should be embedded in well-chosen contexts for learning – that is, contexts that are broad enough to allow students to investigate initial understandings, identify and develop relevant supporting skills, and gain experience with varied and interesting applications of the new knowledge. In the secondary science curriculum, many of these contexts come from the Relating Science to Technology, Society, and the Environment (STSE) expectations. Such rich contexts for learning enable students to see the “big ideas” of science. This understanding of “big ideas” will enable and encourage students to use scientific thinking throughout their lives. As well, contextualized teaching and learning provides teachers with useful insights into their students’ thinking, their understanding of concepts, and their ability to reflect on what they have done. This insight allows teachers to provide supports to help enhance students’ learning.

Assessment & Evaluation

Assessment & evaluation is based on the Ministry of Education’s Growing Success (click to access) guidelines and the course-specific guidelines in the curriculum documents. The primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning. Information gathered through assessment helps teachers to determine students’ strengths and weaknesses in their achievement of the curriculum expectations in each course.

Assessment is the process of gathering information from a variety of sources (including assignments, day-to-day observations, conversations or conferences, demonstrations, projects, performances, and tests) that accurately reflects how well a student is achieving the curriculum expectations in a course. As part of assessment, teachers provide students with descriptive feedback that guides their efforts towards improvement. Evaluation refers to the process of judging the quality of student work on the basis of established criteria, and assigning a value to represent that quality.

There are seven fundamental principles that ensure best practices and procedures of assessment and evaluation by COS teachers. COS assessments and evaluations,

  • are fair, transparent, and equitable for all students;
  • support all students, including those with special education needs, those who are learning the language of instruction (English or French), and those who are First Nation, Métis, or Inuit;
  • are carefully planned to relate to the curriculum expectations and learning goals and, as much as possible, to the interests, learning styles and preferences, needs, and experiences of all students;
  • are communicated clearly to students and parents at the beginning of the course and at other points throughout the school year or course;
  • are ongoing, varied in nature, and administered over a period of time to provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning;
  • provide ongoing descriptive feedback that is clear, specific, meaningful, and timely to support improved learning and achievement;
  • develop students’ self-assessment skills to enable them to assess their own learning, set specific goals, and plan next steps for their learning.


Assessments have three categories based on the intent behind the assessment:

Assessment for learning (AfL): diagnostic or formative assessments used to determine what students already know in order to plan further instruction, or monitor progress towards achieving overall expectations so that teachers can provide timely feedback and plan next steps.

Assessment as learning (AaL): used by students to monitor their own progress, assess peers, reflect on learning, or set individual goals.

Assessment of learning (AoL): summative assessment used to evaluate and make judgements about students’ quality of learning at a given point in time. It can also be used to inform further instruction.

All curriculum expectations must be accounted for in instruction, but evaluation focuses on students’ achievement of the overall expectations. A student’s achievement of the overall expectations is evaluated on the basis of his or her achievement of related specific expectations. The overall expectations are broad in nature, and the specific expectations define the particular content or scope of the knowledge and skills referred to in the overall expectations. Teachers will use their professional judgement to determine which specific expectations should be used to evaluate achievement of the overall expectations, and which ones will be covered in instruction and assessment but not necessarily evaluated.

Evaluation is done through the four Achievement Categories:

Knowledge and Understanding. Subject-specific content acquired in each course (knowledge), and the comprehension of its meaning and significance (understanding).

Thinking and Investigation. The use of critical and creative thinking skills and inquiry, research, and problem-solving skills and/or processes.

Communication. The conveying of meaning through various forms.

Application. The use of knowledge and skills to make connections within and between various contexts.

Teachers will ensure that student work is assessed and/or evaluated in a balanced manner with respect to the four categories, and that achievement of particular expectations is considered within the appropriate categories.

To arrive at a percentage grade, evaluation of achievement is guided by the four levels of achievement:

Level 1:  50 – 59% – limited

Level 2:  60 – 69% – some

Level 3:  70 – 79% – considerable

Level 4:  80 – 100% – high degree

Each level corresponds to a particular qualifier describing performance in the Achievement Chart, which can be found in the curriculum document.

The four Achievement categories are assessed throughout the course in a balanced manner given the nature of the overall curriculum expectations. Each category approximately contributes to the 70% term weight as follows:

22.5% 12.5% 12.5% 22.5%


These percentages above are only approximations. The four categories are evaluated in every assessment of learning. Some assessments include all four categories, whereas others may focus on one or two categories only. The exact individual composition of an assessment is provided with the assessment itself as a marking guide or rubric, which generates a single grade for the assessment. The grades of all assessments are then aggregated for the final term grade before the final summative. Exact weights of each individual assessment as a proportion of the overall term grade are given in the table below.

Term Assessment/Evaluation Plan

Assessment/Evaluation Assessment Type Evidence Type Grade Weight
Introduction to Scientific Skills      
Diagnostic Assessment FOR observation, product 0
Key Terms FOR practice quiz, product 0
Unit 1 – Sustainable Ecosystems     25%
Interactive Species FOR product 0
Spheres of the Earth FOR observation 0
Discussion – Lightning OF conservation 5
Analysing an Ecosystem FOR observation 0
Check Your Understanding FOR practice quiz 0
Introducing Ecosystems OF product 6
Lab: Factors Affecting an Ecosystem Assignment OF product 10
Photosynthesis and Respiration FOR observation 0
Energy Flow in the Coral Reef Ecosystem FOR   product 0
Bioaccumulation FOR observation 0
Research Assignment OF product 20
Limiting Factors FOR product, practice quiz 0
Limiting Factors Assignment OF product 20
Sustainability of ecosystems FOR conservation 0
Biodiversity FOR product, practice quiz 0
Lab: Fertilizers/Measuring Biodiversity OF product 20
Value of Wetlands FOR conservation 0
Acid Rain: A Destructive Force FOR conservation 0
Aquatic Ecoystem FOR product, practice quiz 0
Aquatic Ecosystem Dangers OF product, conservation 20
Discussion – Eutrophication FOR conservation 5
Human Impact FOR practice quiz 0
Populations assignmet/Research OF product 20
Sustainable terms FOR product 0
Environmental preservation OF product 20
Discussion – Grassroots Group FOR conservation 0
Unit assignment OF product 24
Sustainable Review FOR product, practice quiz 0
Unit Test OF test 72
Reflection AS, FOR conservation, observation 0
Unit 2 – Atoms, Elements & Compounds     25%
Matter Terminology FOR product 0
Lab – Matter FOR observation 0
Properties of Matter FOR product, quizzes 0
Classifying Matter OF product 22
Physical and Chemical Properties FOR product, quizzes, assignments 0
Lab – Physical Properties OF product 20
Lab – Gas Test OF product 20
Atomic Definitions FOR product, conversation 0
Atomic Theories OF product, communication 20
Discussion – Atomic Theories OF conversation 5
Bohr-Rutherword Diagrams FOR product 0
Periodic Trends OF product 20
Hazards and Benefits Assignment OF product, communication 20
Lab – Household Substances OF product 20
Discussion – Road Salts OF communication 5
Unit Review Assignment OF product 16
Chemistry Review FOR product, practice quizzes 0
Unit Test OF Test 72
Reflection AS conversation, observation 0
Unit 3 – The Study of The Universe     25%
The Night Sky FOR definitions, quizzes 0
Celestial objects Assignment OF observation, product 20
Sunspots Graphing Activity FOR product, observation 0
Sun Worksheet OF product 0
Discussion – Planets Future OF conversation 5
Solar Systems FOR definitions, quizzes 0
Research Assignment Solar System OF product 20
Celestial Phenomena FOR quiz 0
Creative Minds – Celestial Phenomena OF product, communication 20
Discussion – Celestial Phenomena OF conversation 5
Big Bang Theory FOR quizzes, definitions, problems 0
Assignment – Beyong Solar System OF product 20
Discussin – Fate of the Universe OF conversation 5
Wein’s Law, Parallax problems FOR problems 0
Assignment – Life Cycle of Stars OF product 20
Discussion – Fate of Sun OF conversation 5
Research Canada’s Adventures in Space OF product, communication 20
Astronomy Review FOR product, practice quiz 0
Reflection AS, FOR conversation, observation 0
Unit Test OF product 72
Unit 4 – Characteristics of Electricity     25%
Electrostatics FOR definition, quizzes 0
Electrostatics Assignmet OF product 14
Electrostatics Research OF product, conversation 20
Insulators and Conductors FOR definition, quizzes 0
Lab – Conductors OF product 20
Series Circuits FOR definition, quizzes 0
Lab – Series Circuit OF product 20
Parallel Circuits FOR definition, quizzes 0
Discussion OF conversation 5
Current, Voltage, Resistance in Circuits OF definition, quizzes 0
Lab – Parallel vs Series Circuit FOR product 20
Ohm’s Law OF definition, quizzes 0
Lab Ohm’s Law FOR product 20
Energy Calculations OF problems 0
Electrical Energy FOR product, problems 12
Discussion -Electricity and the Environment FOR conversation 0
Energy, Society, and the EnvironmentOF   product, communication 20
Electricity Review FOR product, practice quiz 0
Reflection AS, For conversation, observation 0
Unit TEST OF product 77
Term Total     70%
Culminating     30%



Student achievement is communicated formally to students and parents by means of the COS Report Card. The report card provides a record of the student’s achievement of the curriculum expectations in every course, at the mid-point and final point of a course, in the form of a percentage grade. The percentage grade represents the quality of the student’s overall achievement of the expectations for the course and reflects the corresponding level of achievement as described in the achievement chart for the discipline.

A final grade is recorded for every course, and a credit is granted and recorded for every course in which the student’s grade is 50% or higher. The final grade for each course will be determined as follows:

  • Seventy per cent of the grade will be based on evaluations conducted throughout the course. This portion of the grade should reflect the student’s most consistent level of achievement throughout the course, although special consideration should be given to more recent evidence of achievement.
  • Thirty per cent of the grade will be based on a final evaluation in the form of an examination, performance, essay, and/or other method of evaluation suitable to the course content and administered towards the end of the course.


Program Planning Considerations

COS develops its programs with consideration for Ontario Ministry of Education policies and initiatives. Many areas of special consideration are embedded naturally within course content. For this course, these include but are not limited to the following:


  • English language learners: At the beginning of a course, students are expected to complete a diagnostic activity to identify their preparedness for the course. This process identifies whether ESL learners or former ESL learners have language-specific difficulties, or any other difficulties. If through the diagnostic activity the student is shown to have language difficulties, the teacher will take extra steps to help the student through conversation, defining a course dictionary, extended explanations, and/or other strategies as necessary. Students will also benefit from images and sound in lesson content, as well as flash video activities, which will allow students to supplement their verbal and written comprehension.
  • Environmental education: Helping students become environmentally responsible is a role assumed by Canada Online School. The first goal is to promote learning about environmental issues and solutions. The second goal is to engage students in practicing and promoting environmental stewardship in their community. The third goal stresses the importance of the education system providing leadership by implementing and promoting responsible environmental practices so that all stakeholders become dedicated to living more sustainably. Environmental education teaches students about how the planet’s physical and biological systems work, and how we can create a more sustainable future. This science course includes lesson content on the environment, especially in the biology and physics units.
  • Healthy Relationships: Every student is entitled to a safe environment based on mutual respect. Our courses use online discussions, case studies, role play, etc, to encourage cooperation and constructive comments. Students are asked to follow the code of conduct in our course calendar when engaging with any other student or teacher in these processes.
  • Equity and inclusive education: The Canada Online School equity and inclusive education strategy focuses on respecting diversity, promoting inclusive education, and identifying and eliminating discriminatory biases, systemic barriers, and power dynamics that limit the ability of students to learn, grow, and contribute to society. In an environment based on the principles of inclusive education, all students, parents, caregivers, and other members of the school community – regardless of ancestry, culture, ethnicity, sex, physical or intellectual ability, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or other similar factors – are welcomed, included, treated fairly, and respected.
  • Literacy, Mathematical Literacy, and Inquiry Skills: Literacy is defined as the ability to use language and images in rich and varied forms to read, write, listen, view, represent, and think critically about ideas. It involves the capacity to access, manage, and evaluate information; to think imaginatively and analytically; and to communicate thoughts and ideas effectively. Literacy includes critical thinking and reasoning to solve problems and make decisions related to issues of fairness, equity, and social justice. Literacy connects individuals and communities and is an essential tool for personal growth and active participation in a cohesive, democratic society. Literacy involves a range of critical-thinking skills and is essential for learning across the curriculum. Literacy instruction takes different forms of emphasis in different subjects, but in all subjects, literacy needs to be explicitly taught. Literacy, mathematical literacy, and inquiry/research skills are critical to students’ success in all subjects of the curriculum and in all areas of their lives. Many of the activities and tasks that students undertake in the Canada Online School courses involve the literacy skills relating to oral, written, and visual communication. For example, they develop literacy skills by reading, interpreting, and analysing various texts. In addition, they develop the skills needed to construct, extract information from, and analyse various types information presented in a variety of media forms. In all Canada Online School courses, students are required to use appropriate and correct terminology, including that related to the concepts of disciplinary thinking, and are encouraged to use language with care and precision in order to communicate effectively. Inquiry and research are at the heart of learning in all subject areas at Canada Online School. Students are encouraged to develop their ability to ask questions and to explore a variety of possible answers to those questions. In science, there is significant emphasis on understanding scientific terminology and use of inquiry in research and lab experiments.
  • Critical thinking, literacy, numeracy and inquiry: Literacy is more than reading and writing. Its definition is constantly evolving and by today’s standard increasingly needs more sophisticated skills. It is the entire set of skills that allow a person to critically comprehend, analyze, generate and process information in all its forms, and then communicate it meaningfully to others. Every subject is responsible for enhancing students’ literacy, including mathematical literacy (numeracy). Students learn to inquiry deeply and think critically at all times, use relevant terminology, and conduct their own research. They will form opinions backed by logical evidence, detect bias, uncover implied meanings, and take big picture perspectives. With numeracy, students learn to not only perform mathematical operations but also understand their significance, application, and hidden biases.
  • School library: A library provides access to resources and also allows students to develop skills in research. COS does not have a library in the conventional sense but we do provide information to students on how to access information they need, find useful texts or other media, and use electronic tools of research. Consult additional Resources for free online libraries. There are also links embedded in the course for relevant resources in specific lessons. A number of science lessons link to third-party websites with activities or information supplementary to the lessons.
  • Information and communications technology (ICT): By use the COS online learning platform, students will naturally develop transferable skills relating to ICT. Students will learn to use various electronic tools to communicate, cooperate, and conduct research. Students will also be made aware of pitfalls and potential abuse in using the Internet or other electronic tools.
  • Education and career/life planning: As online students progress through online courses, teachers are available to help the student prepare for employment in a number of diverse areas. With the help of teachers, students will learn to set and achieve goals and will gain experience in making meaningful decisions concerning career choices. The skills, knowledge and creativity that students acquire through this online course are essential for a wide range of careers. In science courses, students learn about important historical figures with great career accomplishments, as well as put themselves into the shoes of professionals when they conduct lab experiments. They can learn about related careers at various points during lessons or supplementary textbook content.
  • Health and Safety: Because the school operates in an online environment, there are fewer physical health and safety risks for students, especially when doing lab experiments, which are generally virtual. However, student should be careful not to spend excessive amounts of time in front of the computer with breaks, and take steps to login from a secure environment to avoid electronic malware or losing access.
  • Ethics: Canada Online School courses provide varied opportunities for students to learn about ethical issues and to explore the role of ethics in both public and personal decision making. During the inquiry process, students may need to make ethical judgements when evaluating evidence and positions on various issues, and when drawing their own conclusions about issues, developments, and events. Teachers may need to help students in determining appropriate factors to consider when making such judgements. In addition, it is crucial that Canada Online School teachers provide support and supervision to students throughout the inquiry process, ensuring that students engaged in an inquiry are aware of potential ethical concerns and address them in acceptable ways. Ethics questions are sometimes posed by specific assignments and projects in the course, and controversial topics are science explored within lesson content. Teachers at Canada Online School will ensure that they thoroughly address the issue of plagiarism with students. In a digital world in which there is easy access to abundant information, it is very easy to copy the words of others and present them as one’s own. Students need to be reminded, even at the secondary level, of the ethical issues surrounding plagiarism, and the consequences of plagiarism should be clearly discussed before students engage in an inquiry. It is important to discuss not only dishonest plagiarism but also more negligent plagiarism instances. Students often struggle to find a balance between writing in their own voice and acknowledging the work of others in the field. Merely telling students not to plagiarize, and admonishing those who do, is not enough. The skill of writing in one’s own voice, while appropriately acknowledging the work of others, must be explicitly taught to all Canada Online School courses. Using accepted forms of documentation to acknowledge sources is a specific expectation within the inquiry and skill development strand for each course.

Additional Resources

For additional resources, students can consult the following: