Frames – submitted by Otto Weavers

Purpose: To introduce students to making frames and then using those frames to create structures that serve a variety of purposes.

The first task is to teach students how to join two wooden pieces using glue, gussets (paper or thin cardboard triangles) and a template. This skill will serve them well for later applications such as soldering metals and sewing materials.

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Image result for spring scale experiment

by Erin Turner


The nature of physics experiments (in the high school classroom) creates a perfect situation to allow students to generate their own testable questions. Many of the safety concerns that might exist in other disciplines can often be avoided when teaching classical physics, as the materials are much more benign. This catalyst was originally designed and tested in an SPH 3U classroom using the concept of friction, but it could be easily adapted to other classes and scenarios.


While presenting this process to the class, the steps were outlined using a simple scenario of the students’ choosing (ex/ Does mass have an impact on the coefficient of static friction?). Particular attention was paid to identifying variables (independent, dependent, and controlled), as this tends to be a stumbling block for students, even at the senior level. Using the terms Manipulated Variable and Responding Variable helped clarify for students the relationship between variables more than the traditional Independent/Dependent phrasing.

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Grade 3 students were introduced to simple tools and design strategies before diving into a trans-disciplinary project (Science & Technology, Social Studies, Mathamatics, Language and The Arts). The culminating activity was to design and build a new landmark for a specific location in Ontario. Continue reading

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…