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Applied General Education Path

The Earth and Space

In The Earth and Space, students acquire scientific and technological knowledge pertaining to space and interactions in the biosphere.

In secondary school, students explore different phenomena that occur on Earth and in space and related technical objects. They seek answers and solutions to a variety of problems. They acquire scientific knowledge about The Earth and Space that helps them explain the factors at play in different scientific issues. 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 Earth and Space by using the experimental method, technological analysis and modelling.

In Secondary IV, students explore applications related to the seven technological fields, which enables them to make connections between technology and The Earth and Space. Thus they continue constructing and applying their scientific and technological knowledge and further explore the impact of technology on the biosphere. In the optional Science and the Environment program, students consolidate their knowledge and form their own opinions regarding two environmental issues they will be asked to examine.

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 Applied Science and Technology program. Most of these statements are, however, found in the progression of learning for the optional Environmental Science and Technology program.
Cycle One
Cycle Two
Cycle Two
  1. Characteristics of the Earth
1 2 3 4 4
Elementary school 
Students recognize visible structures on the surface of the Earth (e.g. continents, oceans, ice caps, mountains, volcanoes). They describe the effects of the quality of air, water and soil on living beings (e.g. illnesses, increase or decrease in population). They compare the properties of different types of soil (e.g. composition, capacity to retain water and heat).
Secondary school
  1. General characteristics of the Earth
    1. Internal structure of the Earth
      1. Describes the main characteristics of the three parts of the internal structure of the Earth (crust, mantle, core)
  1. Lithosphere
    1. General characteristics of the lithosphere
      1. Defines the lithosphere as the outer shell of the Earth comprising the crust and the upper mantle
      1. Describes the main relationships between the lithosphere and human activity (e.g. survival, agriculture, mining, land-use planning)
    1. Relief
      1. Describes relationships between relief (topology) and geological and geophysical phenomena1 (e.g. the retreat of a glacier causes the formation of a plain)
      1. Describes the effect of relief on human activities (e.g. transportation, construction, sports, agriculture)
    1. Types of rocks
      1. Describes the formation of three types of rock: igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary
      1. Classifies rocks by method of formation (e.g. granite is an igneous rock, lime is a sedimentary rock, slate is a metamorphic rock)
      1. Distinguishes between rocks and minerals
    1. Minerals
      1. Names basic minerals based on their properties (e.g. colour, hardness, magnetism)
      1. Distinguishes between minerals and ore
      1. Describes some of the environmental impacts of mining and of the transformation of minerals
    1. Types of soil
      1. Classifies soils based on their composition (e.g. sand, clay, organic material)
    1. Soil horizons (profile)
      1. Describes the structure of a soil (superimposition of layers of various compositions and thicknesses)
      1. Explains the chemical and biological reactivity of a soil it based on its composition (e.g. oxidation, acid-base neutralization, decomposition)
    1. Buffering capacity of the soil
      1. Defines the buffering capacity of a soil as its ability to limit pH variations
      1. Explains the advantages of a good soil buffering capacity
    1. Contamination
      1. Names soil contaminants2
  1. Hydrosphere
    1. General characteristics of the hydrosphere
      1. Describes the distribution of fresh water and salt water on the Earth's surface (e.g. glaciers contain inaccessible fresh water)
      1. Describes the main interactions between the hydrosphere and the atmosphere (e.g. heat exchanges, climate regulation, meteorological phenomena)
    1. Catchment area
      1. Defines a catchment area as a territory surrounding a waterway
      1. Describes some of the impacts of human activity on the waterways in a catchment area
    1. Contamination
      1. Names water contaminants3
    1. Eutrophication
      1. Explains the natural process of eutrophication of a body of natural water
      1. Explains how human activities accelerate the eutrophication of a body of natural water
  1. Atmosphere
    1. General characteristics of the atmosphere
      1. Locates the main layers of the atmosphere (troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere)
      1. Describes the composition of pure air at sea level (nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapour)
      1. Describes the relationships between the atmosphere and certain human activities (e.g. recreation, transportation, energy consumption)
    1. Greenhouse effect
      1. Describes the greenhouse effect
      1. Explains some consequences of a higher concentration of greenhouse gases (e.g. global warming that could result in higher sea levels, disturbances in ecosystems or the melting of glaciers)
    1. Air mass
      1. Describes the properties of an air mass (temperature, humidity, pressure)
      1. Explains the formation of clouds when two different air masses meet
    1. Atmospheric circulation
      1. Describes the main factors responsible for atmospheric circulation
        (e.g. pressure variations, uneven heating of the Earth's surface)
      1. Describes the effect of prevailing winds on the dispersal of air pollutants in a given region
    1. Cyclone and anticyclone
      1. Explains the formation of cyclones (low-pressure areas) and anticyclones (high-pressure areas)
    1. Contamination
      1. Names air contaminants4
  1. Geological and geophysical phenomena
1 2 3 4 4
Elementary school
Students explain the water cycle (evaporation, condensation, precipitation, runoff, infiltration) and describe different types of precipitation (rain, snow, hail, freezing rain). Concepts related to energy play an important role in the elementary school program. Students explain that sunlight, moving water and wind are renewable energy resources. They differentiate them from nonrenewable energy resources such as fossil fuels (e.g. gasoline, propane, butane, oil, natural gas). They describe technologies used to convert renewable energy into electricity (hydroelectric dams, wind turbines, solar panels).
Secondary school
    1. Tectonic plate
      1. Describes the main elements of the theory of tectonic plates (e.g. plate, subduction zone, mid-oceanic ridge)
    1. Orogenesis
      1. Describes the formation of mountains, folding and breaks (tectonic plate movements)
    1. Volcano
      1. Describes a volcanic eruption
      1. Describes the geographical distribution of volcanoes
    1. Earthquake
      1. Describes the processes that cause earthquakes (e.g. tectonic plate movements, slides)
    1. Erosion
      1. Describes different types of erosion (e.g. soils dried by the wind, fragmentation of rocks caused by water freezing and thawing)
    1. Winds
      1. Names the main factors responsible for wind (e.g. convection movements, movement of air masses)
    1. Water cycle
      1. Explains the water cycle (phase changes, energy exchanges)
    1. Natural energy sources
      1. Describes the role of solar energy as a natural energy source (e.g. wind, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms)
    1. Renewable and nonrenewable energy resources
      1. Distinguishes between renewable and nonrenewable energy resources (e.g. Sun, molten rock, moving water, oil)
      1. Describes technologies used to produce electricity using the energy resources in the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere
      1. Describes the main impact of the use of energy resources in the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere
  1. Astronomical phenomena
1 2 3 4 4
Elementary school
Students learn that the cycle of day and night is related to the Earth's rotation. They distinguish between stars, planets and moons in our solar system. They describe seasonal changes (e.g. temperature variations, luminosity, types of precipitation), in particular the apparent position of the Sun and its influence on the length of shadows.
Secondary school
  1. Concepts related to astronomy
    1. Universal Gravitation
      1. Defines gravitation as a force of mutual attraction between bodies
    1. Earth-Moon system
      1. Describes the tides in terms of the gravitational effect of the Earth-Moon system
    1. Light
      1. Defines light as a form of radiant energy5
      1. Describes properties of light (propagation in a straight line, diffuse reflection by surfaces)
      1. Explains different phenomena using the properties of light (cycles of day and night, seasons, phases of the Moon, eclipses)
    1. Solar energy flow
      1. Describes the main factors that affect the quantity of solar energy that reaches the Earth's surface (e.g. reflection and absorption of solar energy by the atmosphere or surfaces)
  1. Solar system
    1. Characteristics of the solar system
      1. Compares some of the characteristics of the planets in our solar system (e.g. distances, relative size, composition)
    1. Cycles of day and night
      1. Explains the alternation of day and night in terms of the Earth's rotation
    1. Phases of the Moon
      1. Explains the phases of the lunar cycle
    1. Eclipses
      1. Explains a lunar or solar eclipse
    1. Seasons
      1. Explains the phenomenon of seasons in terms of the position of the Earth with respect to the Sun (tilt, revolution)
    1. Comets
      1. Describes the main parts of a comet (core of ice and rock, tail of gas, and tail of dust)
    1. Aurora borealis (northern lights)
      1. Locates the geographic regions where the aurora borealis occurs (polar regions)
      1. Identifies the atmospheric layer in which the aurora borealis occurs
    1. Meteoroid impact
      1. Identifies traces left by meteoroid impacts in Québec (e.g. craters, astroblemes)
1.  See The Earth and Space, Geological and geophysical phenomena below (ES, B).
2. See The Living World, Ecotoxicology, Contaminant (LW, A, 1, f, i).
3. See The Living World, Ecotoxicology, Contaminant (LW, A, 1, f, i).
4. See The Living World, Ecotoxicology, Contaminant (LW, A, 1, f, i).
5.  See The Material World, Changes, Transformation of energy, Forms of energy (MW, B, 4, a).

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