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General Education Path

The Material World

In The Material World, students acquire scientific and technological knowledge pertaining to the organization of the world around us, the elements that compose it and the forces that govern it.

In secondary school, students explore increasingly complex phenomena and technical objects and seek answers and solutions to a variety of problems. They acquire scientific knowledge about The Material World that helps them understand and explain the factors at play in different scientific issues and in the operation of technological objects, systems and processes. This knowledge, along with the knowledge they acquire in other areas of the program, enables them to understand scientific models, theories and laws. Students refine their understanding of the concepts related to The Material World by using the experimental method, technological analysis and the technological design process.

In Secondary III, knowledge in this area is organized around the problem-solving process and the analysis and design of technical objects pertaining to the human organism, which enables students to make connections with knowledge from The Living World. In Secondary IV, students continue to construct their scientific and technological knowledge by exploring laws and models related to environmental issues.

Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.

Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.

 

Student reinvests knowledge.

Statements preceded by the symbol indicate knowledge specific to the compulsory Science and Technology program. Most of these statements are, however, found in the progression of learning for the optional Science and the Environment program.
Secondary
ST
Cycle One
ST
Cycle Two

EST
Cycle Two

  1. Properties
1 2 3 4 4
Elementary school
Students recognize and describe the external characteristics of an object and the materials of which it is made. They compare the mass and volume of solids and liquids. They use a thermometer and associate temperature changes with different contexts. They can tell the difference between three states of matter (solid, liquid, gas) and describe the operations required to move from one to the other (heating, cooling).
Secondary school
  1. Properties of matter
ST ST EST
    1. Mass
      1. Defines the concept of mass
     
      1. Compares the mass of different substances with the same volume
     
    1. Volume
      1. Defines the concept of volume
     
      1. Chooses the appropriate unit of measurement to express volume (e.g. 120 mL or 0.12 L or 120 cm3)
     
      1. Compares the volume of different substances with the same mass
     
    1. Temperature
      1. Describes the effect of heat on the degree of agitation of particles
     
      1. Defines temperature as a measurement of the degree of agitation of particles
     
      1. Explains the thermal expansion of bodies
     
    1. States of matter
      1. Names the different phase changes of matter (vaporization, condensation, freezing, melting, deposition, sublimation)1
     
      1. Interprets the phase change diagram for a pure substance
     
    1. Acidity/alkalinity
      1. Determines the observable properties of acidic, basic or neutral solutions (e.g. reaction to litmus, reactivity with metals)
     
      1. Determines the acidity or alkalinity of common substances (e.g. water, lemon juice, vinegar, soft drinks, milk of magnesia, cleaners)
     
    1. Characteristic properties
      1. Defines a characteristic property as a property that aids in the identification of a substance or group of substances
     
      1. Identifies groups of substances based on their common characteristic properties (e.g.  acids turn litmus red)
     
      1. Associates a characteristic property of a substance or material with its use (e.g. metal is used to make pots because it is a good conductor of heat)
     
  1. Characteristic physical properties
ST ST EST
    1. Melting point
      1. Identifies a substance by its melting point using a reference document
       
    1. Boiling point
      1. Identifies a substance by its boiling point using a reference document
       
    1. Density
      1. Explains the concept of density
       
      1. Determines the density of different substances
       
      1. Identifies liquid and solid substances by their density using a reference document
       
    1. Solubility
      1. Defines the concept of solubility
       
      1. Describes the effect of variations in temperature on the solubility of a substance
       
  1. Properties of solutions
ST ST EST
    1. Solutions2
      1. Describes the properties of an aqueous solution (e.g. only one visible phase, translucent)
     
    1. Solute
      1. Recognizes the solute in a given aqueous solution
       
    1. Solvent
      1. Recognizes the solvent in a given aqueous solution (e.g. lymph, tears, cell plasma, urine)
       
    1. Concentration
      1. Defines the concept of the concentration of a solution
       
      1. Describes the effect of variations in the quantity of solute or solvent on a solution's concentration
       
      1. Determines the concentration of an aqueous solution (g/L or percentage)
       
      1. Determines the concentration of an aqueous solution (g/L, percentage or ppm)
       
      1. Determines the concentration of an aqueous solution (g/L, percentage, ppm, mol/L)
       
    1. Electrolytes
      1. Defines the concept of electrolyte
       
    1. Strength of electrolytes
      1. Qualitatively speaking, associates the strength of an electrolyte with its degree of dissociation
       
    1. pH scale3
      1. Describes the pH scale (acidity, alkalinity, neutrality, increasing and decreasing values)
       
      1. Determines the pH of a few common substances (e.g. distilled water, rainwater, saliva, lemon juice, cleaners)
       
    1. Electrolytic dissociation
      1. Describes electrolytic dissociation
       
    1. Ions
      1. Defines the concept of ion
       
    1. Electrical conductivity
      1. Describes the mechanism that allows aqueous solutions to conduct electricity (electrolytic dissolution of a solute, formation of mobile ions)
       
  1. Characteristic chemical properties
ST ST EST
    1. Reaction to indicators
      1. Recognizes a substance by its characteristic chemical properties (e.g. starch turns blue in the presence of an iodine solution, acidic solutions turn bromothymol blue yellow)
       
  1. Changes
1 2 3 4 4
Elementary school
Students demonstrate that the properties of matter do not change during physical changes (e.g. distortion, breaking, crushing), but that they do change during chemical changes (e.g. cooking, combustion). They recognize that the quantity of matter is conserved during physical changes (e.g. mass of a piece of chalk whether whole or crushed). They become familiar with how certain household products are made (e.g. soap, paper, maple syrup).
Secondary school
  1. Changes in matter
ST ST EST
    1. Conservation of matter
      1. Demonstrates that matter is conserved during a chemical change (e.g. conservation of mass in a precipitation reaction)
     
    1. Mixtures
      1. Describes the properties of a mixture (e.g. made up of several substances, one or more phases)
     
      1. Distinguishes between a solution or homogenous mixture (e.g. drinking water, air, alloy) and a heterogeneous mixture (e.g. tomato juice, smog, rock)
     
    1. Solutions4
    1. Separation of mixtures
      1. Associates a separation technique with the type of mixture to be separated5
     
      1. Describes the steps involved in separating a complex mixture (e.g. sedimentation, decantation and evaporation to separate salt water and sand)
     
    1. Particle model
      1. Defines the particle model as a means of representing the behaviour of matter
       
      1. Describes the particle model in terms of the qualities and limitations of a scientific model
       
  1. Physical changes
ST ST EST
    1. Physical changes
      1. Describes the characteristics of a physical change (e.g. substance retains its properties, molecules remain intact)
     
      1. Recognizes different physical changes (e.g. phase changes, preparation or separation of a mixture)
     
    1. Dissolution
      1. Explains dissolution using the particle model
       
    1. Dilution
      1. Explains dilution in terms of concentration and volume
       
      1. Determines the final volume or concentration of an aqueous solution after dilution (e.g. when the volume of solvent is doubled, the concentration of the solution decreases by half)
       
    1. Phase changes
      1. Compares the arrangement of particles in a substance in a solid, liquid or gaseous form
       
      1. Explains phase changes using the particle model
       
  1. Chemical changes
ST ST EST
    1. Chemical changes
      1. Describes the indicators of a chemical change (formation of a precipitate, effervescence, colour change, heat, light)
     
      1. Explains a chemical change based on the changes in the properties of the substances involved
     
      1. Names different types of chemical changes (e.g. decomposition, oxidation)
     
      1. Names chemical changes that occur in the human body (e.g. respiration, digestion)
       
    1. Decomposition and synthesis
      1. Represents a decomposition or synthesis reaction using the particle model
       
      1. Associates known chemical reactions with decomposition or synthesis reactions (e.g. respiration, photosynthesis, combustion, digestion)
       
    1. Oxidation
      1. Represents an oxidation reaction using the particle model
       
      1. Associates known chemical reactions with oxidation reactions (e.g. combustion, corrosion)
       
      1. Associates a chemical equation in which oxygen is one of the reactants with one of the possible cases of an oxidation reaction
       
    1. Precipitation
      1. Describes the visible manifestation of precipitation (formation of a solid deposit when two aqueous solutions are mixed)
       
      1. Represents a precipitation reaction using the particle model
       
    1. Combustion
      1. Describes the perceivable manifestations of rapid combustion (e.g. heat, light)
       
      1. Explains a combustion reaction using the fire triangle
       
    1. Photosynthesis and respiration6
    1. Acid-base neutralization reaction
      1. Gives examples of acid-base neutralization reactions (e.g. adding lime to neutralize the acidity of a lake)
       
      1. Names the products formed during acid-base neutralization (salt and water)
       
      1. Recognizes an acid-base neutralization from its equation
       
    1. Salts
      1. Determines the molecular formula of the salt produced by the neutralization of a given acid and a given base
       
    1. Types of bonds
      1. Covalent
        • Defines a covalent bond as a bond resulting from a sharing of electrons
       
        • Makes a schematic representation of a covalent bond
       
        • Identifies molecules that feature a covalent bond (e.g. N2, CO2)
       
      1. Ionic
        • Defines an ionic bond as a bond resulting from the gain or loss of electrons
       
        • Makes a schematic representation of an ionic bond
       
        • Identifies molecules that feature an ionic bond (e.g. NaCl, NH4OH)
       
        • Associates an ionic bond with an electrolytic substance
       
    1. Law of conservation of mass
      1. Explains the law of conservation of mass during a chemical reaction
       
      1. Represents the conservation of mass using the particle model
       
    1. Balancing chemical equations
      1. Balances chemical equations
       
    1. Stoichiometry
      1. Determines the quantities of reactants or products using stoichiometric calculations (gram or mole)
       
    1. Endothermic and exothermic reactions
      1. Distinguishes an endothermic reaction from an exothermic reaction according to perceptible signs (e.g. temperature variations, emission of light)
       
      1. Distinguishes an endothermic reaction from an exothermic reaction according to the position of the energy term in the chemical equation
       
  1. Nuclear changes7
ST ST EST
    1. Nuclear stability
      1. Explains nuclear stability as the case where the nucleus of the atom is held together by an optimal number of neutrons
       
    1. Radioactivity
      1. Defines radioactivity as the emission of particles or energy by the nuclei of atoms following nuclear transformations
       
      1. Associates the use of radioactivity with technological applications
        (e.g. radiotherapy, dating)
       
    1. Fission and fusion
      1. Distinguishes nuclear fission from nuclear fusion
       
  1. Transformation of energy8
ST ST EST
    1. Forms of energy
      1. Describes different forms of energy (chemical, thermal, mechanical, radiation)
       
      1. Identifies the forms of energy involved in a transformation (e.g. electrical to thermal in a toaster, electrical to radiation in an infrared lamp)
       
      1. Defines joule as the unit of measurement for energy
       
    1. Law of conservation of energy
      1. Explains qualitatively the law of conservation of energy
       
      1. Applies the law of conservation of energy in different contexts
       
    1. Energy efficiency
      1. Defines the energy efficiency of a device or system as the proportion of energy consumed that is transformed into effective work (amount of useful energy / amount of energy consumed x100)
       
      1. Explains how to improve the energy efficiency of an electrical appliance
       
    1. Distinction between heat and temperature9
      1. Describes heat as a manifestation of energy
       
      1. Describes the relationship between heat and temperature
       
    1. Relationship between thermal energy, specific heat capacity, mass and temperature variation
      1. Describes qualitatively the relationship between the change in thermal energy (quantity of heat) of a substance, its mass, its specific heat capacity and the variations in temperature to which it is exposed
       
      1. Applies the mathematical relationship between thermal energy, mass, specific heat capacity and temperature variation (ΔE = Q = mcΔT)
       
    1. Effective force
      1. Defines effective force as the component of the applied force parallel to the direction of travel
       
      1. Determines graphically the magnitude of the effective force in a given situation
       
    1. Relationship between work, force and distance travelled
      1. Describes qualitatively the relationship between the work done, the force applied on a body and the distance travelled by the body
       
      1. Applies the mathematical relationship between work, effective force and distance travelled (W = FΔd)
       
    1. Relationship between mass and weight
      1. Describes qualitatively the relationship between mass and weight
       
      1. Applies the mathematical relationship between mass and weight (Fg = mg)
       
    1. Relationship between potential energy, mass, acceleration and distance travelled
      1. Describes qualitatively the relationship between the potential energy of a body, its mass, its gravitational acceleration and the distance it travels
       
      1. Applies the mathematical relationship between potential energy, mass, gravitational acceleration and the distance travelled (Ep = mgh)
       
    1. Relationship between kinetic energy, mass and speed
      1. Describes qualitatively the relationship between the kinetic energy of a body, its mass and its speed
       
      1. Applies the mathematical relationship between kinetic energy, mass and speed (Ek = ½mv2)
       
    1. Relationship between work and energy10
      1. Describes qualitatively the relationship between the work done on a body and the variation in energy within that body
       
      1. Applies the mathematical relationship between work and energy (W = ΔE)
       
  1. Organization
1 2 3 4 4
Elementary school
Students classify objects or substances based on their properties, and living organisms based on their physical characteristics. They use the common names for certain substances (e.g. water, carbon dioxide, oxygen) when studying photosynthesis and respiration.
Secondary school
  1. Structure of matter
ST ST EST
    1. Atom
      1. Describes Dalton's atomic model
     
      1. Defines the atom as the basic unit of the molecule
     
    1. Molecule
      1. Describes a molecule using Dalton's atomic model (combination of atoms linked by chemical bonds)
     
      1. Represents the formation of a molecule using Dalton's atomic model
     
    1. Element
      1. Defines an element as a pure substance made of a single type of atom (e.g.  Fe, N2)
     
    1. Periodic table
      1. Describes the periodic table as a structured classification of elements
     
    1. Pure substance
      1. Defines a pure substance as a substance made up of a single type of atom or molecule
       
      1. Distinguishes between elements (e.g. iron, dioxygen, sodium) and compounds (e.g. water, carbon dioxide, glucose)
       
    1. Homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures11
      1. Describes homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures in the human body (e.g. lymph, blood, urine)
       
    1. Groups and periods
      1. Locates the groups and periods in the periodic table
       
      1. Describes the common characteristics of a group (e.g. number of valence electrons, chemical reactivity)
       
      1. Associates the number of electron shells in an element with the number of its period
       
    1. Rutherford-Bohr atomic model
      1. Describes the Rutherford-Bohr atomic model
       
      1. Represents atoms using the Rutherford-Bohr model
       
    1. Neutron
      1. Describes the position and electrical charge of the neutron in an atom
       
    1. Simplified atomic model
      1. Represents an atom of a given element using the simplified atomic model
       
    1. Lewis notation
      1. Determines the number of valence electrons in an element
       
      1. Represents atoms using Lewis notation
       
    1. Nomenclature and notation rules
      1. Applies nomenclature and notation rules to name the molecule or write the molecular formula of binary compounds
       
    1. Polyatomic ions
      1. Recognizes the common polyatomic ions (e.g. NH4+, OH-, NO3-, CO32-, SO42-, PO43-) by their name, their formula or their composition
       
    1. Concept of the mole
      1. Defines the mole as the unit of measure of the amount of a substance
       
      1. Expresses an amount of a substance in moles
       
    1. Avogadro’s number
      1. Expresses a quantity of particles using Avogadro’s number
       
  1. Periodic classification
ST ST EST
    1. Atomic number
      1. Associates the atomic number of an element with the number of protons it has
       
    1. Isotopes12
      1. Defines isotopes as atoms of the same element whose nuclei have different numbers of neutrons and therefore different atomic masses
       
      1. Defines a radioactive isotope as an isotope whose atomic nucleus is unstable
       
    1. Relative atomic mass
      1. Explains qualitatively the concept of relative atomic mass
       
    1. Periodicity of properties
      1. Describes the periodicity of certain properties of elements (e.g. chemical reactivity, atomic radius, electronegativity)
       
  1. Fluids
1 2 3 4 4
Elementary school
Students distinguish between three states of matter: solid, liquid and gas.
Secondary school
    1. Pressure
      1. Defines pressure as the force exerted by particles when they collide with a constricting surface
       
      1. Describes qualitatively the main factors that affect the pressure exerted by a fluid
       
    1. Compressible and incompressible fluids
      1. Distinguishes between compressible and incompressible fluids
       
      1. Names compressible fluids (e.g. air) and incompressible fluids (e.g. blood) in the human body
       
      1. Explains how fluids move around in the human body, using the concept of pressure
       
    1. Relationship between pressure and volume
      1. Qualitatively describes the relationship between the pressure and volume of a gas (e.g.  inhaling and exhaling, bicycle pump)
       
  1. Waves
1 2 3 4 4
Elementary school
Students associate sunlight with a source of energy.
Secondary school
    1. Frequency
      1. Defines the frequency of a wave as the number of cycles per second (Hz)
       
      1. Associates the frequency of a sound wave with the pitch of the sound
        (e.g. a low-frequency wave produces a low-pitched sound)
       
    1. Wavelength
      1. Defines wavelength as the distance between two identical points on a wave at a given time (e.g. distance between crests)
       
      1. Describes the relationship between wavelength and energy (e.g. X-rays, which are high-energy waves, have a short wavelength)
       
    1. Amplitude
      1. Defines the amplitude of a sound wave as the loudness of the sound
       
    1. Decibel scale
      1. Locates on the decibel scale levels dangerous to the human ear based on duration or frequency of exposure
       
    1. Electromagnetic spectrum
      1. Locates different areas on the electromagnetic spectrum (e.g. radio waves, visible light, X-rays)
       
      1. Describes different applications of electromagnetic waves in the health care sector (e.g.  X-rays, infrared optical imaging)
       
    1. Deviation of light waves
      1. Describes how light rays are deviated by a plane reflective surface
       
      1. Determines the angle of reflection of a light ray on the surface of a plane mirror
       
      1. Describes how light rays are deviated when they pass through the surface of a translucent substance
       
    1. Focal point of a lens
      1. Determines the focal point of concave and convex lenses
       
      1. Describes the relationship between the focal point of a lens and the degree of deviation of light rays in different situations (e.g. accommodation of the crystalline lens, choice of corrective lenses)
       
  1. Electricity and electromagnetism
1 2 3 4 4
Elementary school
Students name the components of a simple electrical circuit (wire, power source, bulb, switch) and describe their function. They recognize the effects of magnetism in magnets (attraction and repulsion).
Secondary school
  1. Electricity
ST ST EST
    1. Electrical charge
      1. Associates elementary particles with their electrical charge
       
      1. Describes the behaviour of electrical charges of opposite signs or of the same sign when close together
       
    1. Static electricity
      1. Describes static electricity as the transfer of electrons from one body to another
       
    1. Ohm's law
      1. Describes qualitatively the relationship between voltage, resistance and current intensity in an electrical circuit
       
      1. Applies the mathematical relationship between voltage, resistance and current intensity in an electrical circuit (V = RI)
       
    1. Electrical circuits
      1. Describes the function of different elements of an electrical circuit (e.g. the wires transmit electrons along the circuit, resistors transform electrical energy into another form of energy)13
       
      1. Describes the two types of connections in electrical circuits (series, parallel)
       
      1. Distinguishes between alternating and direct current
       
      1. Represents a simple electrical circuit using a diagram
       
    1. Relationship between power and electrical energy
      1. Applies the mathematical relationship between power, voltage and current intensity in an electrical circuit (P = VI)
       
      1. Describes qualitatively the relationship between the power of an electrical appliance, the electrical energy it consumes and the amount of time it is in operation
       
      1. Applies the mathematical relationship between electrical energy consumed, the power of an electrical appliance and the amount of time it is in operation (E = PΔt)
       
    1. Kirchhoff’s laws
      1. Describes the distribution of current in various components of an electrical circuit
       
      1. Determines the value of the current flowing in various components of a series or parallel circuit
       
      1. Describes the distribution of the voltage across various components of an electrical circuit
       
      1. Determines the value of the voltage across various components of a series or parallel circuit
       
      1. Determines the value of the equivalent resistance of a series or parallel circuit using Ohm’s law and Kirchhoff’s laws
       
    1. Electrical field
      1. Describes qualitatively the effect of an electrical field on electrically charged particles
       
    1. Coulomb’s law
      1. Applies the mathematical relationship between the electrical force, the magnitude of the electrical charges and the distance separating these charges (F = kq1q2/r2)
       
  1. Electromagnetism
ST ST EST
    1. Magnetic field of a live wire
      1. Describes the magnetic field produced by a current-carrying wire (right-hand rule or left-hand rule)
       
      1. Names ways of modifying the intensity of the magnetic field produced by a current-carrying wire (type of wire, current intensity)
       
    1. Forces of attraction and repulsion
      1. Compares the behaviour of a compass in the magnetic field of a magnet with the magnetic field created by a current-carrying wire
       
    1. Magnetic field of a solenoid
      1. Describes the magnetic field produced by a solenoid (right-hand rule or left-hand rule)
       
      1. Names ways of changing the intensity of the magnetic field produced by a solenoid (nature of the core, intensity of the current, number of turns)
       
      1. Explains the use of solenoids in technological applications (e.g. earphones, electric motor, magnetic crane)
       
1.  See The Material World, Changes, Physical changes, Phase changes (MW, B, 2, d).
2.  In Cycle One, this concept appears under Changes.
3.  See The Material World, Properties, Properties of matter, Acidity/alkalinity (MW, A, 1, e).
4.  See The Material World, Properties, Properties of solutions (MW, A, 3).
5.  See Techniques, Science, Separating mixtures (Techniques, Science, b).
6.  See The Living World, Life-sustaining processes, Photosynthesis and respiration (LW, B, f).
7. See Organisation, Isotopes (MW, C, 2, b).
8.  See The Technological World, Mechanical engineering, Technological systems, Energy transformations (TW, B, 2, c).
9.  The definition of temperature was covered in Cycle One. See Properties above (MW, A, 1 c).
10. See Law of conservation of energy (MW, B, 5, b).
11.  See The Material World, Changes, Changes in matter, Mixtures (MW, B, 1, b).
12. See The Material World, Nuclear changes (MW, B, 4).
13.  See The Technological World, Electrical engineering (TW, C).

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