Building an Electric Car in Grade 9 Science – Student Activity


The Focus on Inquiry:

This guided inquiry project was designed to provide students with the challenge of creating a fully-electric car.  The students were provided with a motor, photographs of sample electric cars, an outline of the criteria their car was to meet, and a rubric as a marking scheme.

The Inquiry Project:

The project was discussed and proposed at the beginning of the physics unit of study in grade 9 applied science. 

Students were tasked with completing three main components:

I.       A Thought Book

This is where the students formulated questions, made hypotheses, and made predictions about their project prior to beginning construction of their electric car.  The Thought Book took the form of pre-formatted Google Slides that the students shared with the teacher and the rest of their peers.  The students completed different ‘pages’ of the Thought Book as they progressed through different stages of the inquiry project.  They also used the Though Book to gather, organize and record information during their ‘build days’.

II.     A schematic of their circuit

This is where the students communicated their understanding of how electricity moves through their circuit.  Students were asked to communicate their results in appropriate key terms (ie. source, load, conductor, insulator, switch).

III.    Reflection questions

These questions were designed to have students reflect on their learning, analyze their outcomes, describe their challenges and how they surmounted them.

This activity is part of STAO’s Connex series.  For more details about this activity, including all you need to use it in your classroom go to the STAO Connex page…


Bean Bag Isotopes


Studies of radioactivity at the beginning of the 20th century made it possible to investigate the actual structure and mass of atoms. Gradually, evidence began to build that atoms of the same element could have different masses. These atoms were called isotopes. How are isotopes distinguished from one another? What is the average atomic mass of an element that has different isotopes?

The purpose of this activity is to investigate the mass properties and relative abundance of isotopes for the “bean bag” element (symbol, Bg) and to calculate the atomic mass of this element.

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Teacher Demo: Bright Star or Close Star?

When you gaze up in the night sky, some stars will be very bright while other stars are barely visible to the unaided eye. With the aid of binoculars, you may be able to observe different colours in the stars. The brightness and colour of a star depends on three factors: temperature, distance, and size.

There are two measures of how bright a star appears:

  • The “apparent magnitude” of a star describes how bright the star appears from Earth. This scale ranges from the brightest star in the sky, the Sun, which is set at –26.8. The dimmest stars, which are only visible with the largest telescopes, have an apparent magnitude of 25. The faintest stars visible by the naked eye have an apparent magnitude of 5.5. A decrease of 1 on the scale represents a 2.5 times increase in the apparent brightness.
  • The absolute magnitude of a star is the measure of brightness of a star if it were at a distance of 32.6 light years (ly) from an observer. By placing all stars at this distance, the true brightness of the stars can be compared.

We know that the apparent magnitude of the Sun is the brightest at –26.8. However, when using the absolute magnitude scale, the Sun would be barely visible to the naked eye, with a reading of 4.8.

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