Based on feedback from teachers last spring, we have planned a series of after school sessions supporting new content in the K-7 science curriculum. Each session will look at the learning standards around a specific grade and content area and teachers will experience both the curricular content and competencies through an inquiry-based approach. Connections to the core competencies and First Peoples Principles of Learning will be also be woven throughout the sessions. Resources are provided to teachers to take away and use in their classrooms. These sessions have proven to be in high demand and registration quickly filled up for them at the beginning of September. We have been able to add second sessions for those that had long waiting lists and hope to provide an alternate form of this series in the spring.
The first session of the series was focused on Grade 7 and the physical science topic of electromagnetism. This is “new” content in that previously the grade 6 electricity content focused on simple circuits and renewable and non-renewable methods of producing electrical energy and the grade 9 content focused on static electrical charges, resistance, voltage, currents in circuits and related electrical energy to power consumption. The big idea now in grade seven is “The electromagnetic force produces both electricity and magnetism.”
We began by looking at the big idea and thinking about what students needed to understand first before exploring electromagnetism. Properties of magnets and magnetic force were investigated and basic electron flow and circuits were investigated using Squishy Circuits kits.
We then looked at the bigger concept of electromagnetism and the teachers were provided with a variety of materials to create their own electromagnet. Different types of wires were provided so that teachers could compare their results, ask questions and investigate. The teachers also wondered about changing the battery type and we talked about designing experiments, controlling variables and other curricular competencies for science.
In particular we talked about how the curricular competency of Applying and Innovating had some possibilities for both creative and critical thinking. Comparing and judging different ways of generating electricity and their environmental impact is an opportunity for critical thinking. Thinking about ways to use electricity, magnetism or electromagnetism to make the world a better place or to improve on an existing design or invention is an opportunity for creative thinking and for students to pursue personal areas of interest that are meaningful to them.
I am looking forward to working alongside teachers with their students as they investigate electromagnetism and maybe we’ll see some related projects at Science Jam this year!
Grade 7 Electricity – curriculum information for Grade 7 Electromagnetism
Electricity Resources – Links to online resources