The Curriculum
Chapter 4: Foundations of Scientific Literacy
      • Goal of Level Three Science
Chapter 5: Unifying Concepts of Science
      • Unifying Concepts of Science
Chapter 6: Learning Outcomes
     • Strands
     • Matter
     • Energy
     • Life

Chapter Six: Learning Outcomes


In Level Three Science there are five strands – Interrelationships, Integrated Science, Matter, Energy, and Life – with each having general learning outcomes and specific learning outcomes.  General learning outcomes identify the broad categories of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that learners are able to demonstrate after instruction.  Specific learning outcomes identify the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that contribute to the general learning outcome.


Strands may be taught in any combination and in a variety of ways but the primary focus of instruction is not the specific learning outcome.  The learning outcomes are to be used as tools to address the overarching general learning outcomes, the Unifying Concepts and the Foundations of Scientific Literacy.  These are the principles guiding instruction and learning and take a more holistic approach to science.


Interrelationships deal with connections to the workplace and to everyday life and include decision- making and applications of science.  Learners should see that matter, energy, and life are interrelated. 


The Integrated Science strand consists of laboratory and mathematics skills that are common to all disciplines in science.


Matter includes topics such as the periodic table, chemical and physical changes, elements and compounds, chemical reactions, and acids and bases.


The Energy strand deals with heat and temperature, electricity, force, and motion.


The Life strand is concerned with the human body, and includes learning outcomes on cells, organs and systems, nutrition, and the reproductive system.  


The order of the strands is not prescriptive and the strands do not need to be taught as separate units of study: they are merely an organizational tool.  The Integration of Science strand is intended to be inherent throughout all the other strands and not to be taught on its own as a separate unit.  It is the instructor’s responsibility to incorporate the specific learning outcomes of this strand into the other strands.

 Summary of General Learning Outcomes by Strand


This Venn diagram represents the holistic philosophy and approach this curriculum advocates for the teaching of science.  The components of the diagram are interrelated and interconnected – represented by the circular aspects of the Foundations of Scientific Literacy.  The content is important not for its own sake, but for the learners’ acquisition of deeper understandings of the common themes of science (Unifying Concepts) and the Foundations of Scientific Literacy, thus enabling them to become scientifically literate.  This, in turn, meets the goal of the Adult Basic Education, Level Three Science Curriculum.

Foundations of Scientific Literacy 1

Content as the Vehicle for Learning

As instructors proceed through this section, it needs to be re-emphasized that the content is the vehicle being used to teach to the bigger ideas outlined in the previous sections.  What is more important for learners than knowing the content is developing the Foundations of Scientific Literacy and using the specific content as a means to address the Unifying Concepts of science.Although learners need to complete this science course with some knowledge of science, it is not the recollection of content itself that is most important but the conceptual understandings of the nature of science, how science is done, thought of, and applied to solve problems that are more valuable. 


This shift in how science is taught – from pure content to conceptual understanding – is a shift toward transformational learning.  Drago-Severson (2004) citing Kegan (1982, 1994) found

In short, informational learning – new   skills and information – adds to what a person knows, whereas transformational learning changes how a person knows.  When a person’s way of knowing changes, the person comprehends information in a different way and has enhanced his or her capacities (cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal) to manage the complexities of work and life.  For such changes to occur, the educator needs to pay attention to the ways in which a learner is interpreting, or making meaning of, his or her experience, and then provide supports and challenges that are developmentally appropriate to that way of making meaning.  (p.19)

Instructors should recognize that scientific content involves scientific skills, abilities, processes, and habits of mind as well as scientific knowledge.  Science is to be taught through a conceptual lens and in a holistic and culturally responsive manner.  The instructor uses the content to allow learners to investigate their own understandings of science and build on them. 


The flow chart on the following page provides a different overview of the structure and nature of Level Three Science.  Although linear in structure, this diagram still represents the Foundations of Science and the Unifying Concepts as the overarching framework for learning the specific content.  The specific learning outcomes within each strand address the general outcomes for each strand.  These can be used to illustrate the Unifying Concepts that weave throughout all strands and build the foundations of a scientifically literate person.


Foundations of Scientific Literacy

Habits of Mind
Generic Skills
Processes of Science
Ways of Knowing

flow chart up arrow

 Unifying Concepts in Science

Scientific Literacy Flow Chart

Organization of the Document

This section explains how to use each part of the Learning Outcomes charts.


Integrated ScienceDescription



General Learning OutcomesDescription:
Learners will acquire and practice the skills and processes necessary to learn about and participate in science.


Learners will apply the skills and processes acquired in the home, at work, and in the community.


Specific Learning Outcomes
and Generic SkillsDescription

Unifying Concepts

Unifying Concepts

Unifying Concepts

Unifying Concepts

Unifying Concepts

Unifying Concepts

Suggestions for integrationDescription

The learner will


Discuss different definitions of traditional knowledge.


(VaD) Description





Bring in examples of traditional ways or technology that may have been used prior to a the invention of a “high tech” object.





  • Learners can research careers that use science.

  • Assign and model an analysis of films such as The Snow Walker or Medicine Man.

  • Design a classification system.

Reflective QuestionsDescription:

  • How did I ensure this strand was inherent in the other strands?

  • Have I encouraged learners to understand the nature of science?



General Learning Outcome
Learners will explore the interconnectedness of matter, energy, life, culture, society, technology, and environment to determine the purpose of science and its role in people’s decision-making and problem-solving.


Specific Learning Outcomes and Generic Skills

Suggested topics, strategies, activities, and instructor tips.

The learner will


Choose a topic and identify the matter, energy, and life components of it. (CCT) Science Daily: Fuel From Fiber: Pretreatment Can Put Corn Stalks, Trees In Your Car's Tank Science Daily: All Tree Biomass Is Created Equal In Forests Of Equal Size BioBasics-The Science and the Issues



  • Photosynthesis

  • Respiration

  • The carbon sink at the Eco-centre at Craik, SK

  • Global warming in the north

  • Weather patterns and natural disasters

  • Myths and stories show the relationships and interdependence of all life

  • Invite an Elder or a group of Elders to speak about the breath of life in relation to current environment problems with air pollution

  • Invite an Elder to speak about Aboriginal worldview and interrelationships in nature


  • Organic farmingGovernment of Saskatchewan - Agriculture and Food

  • Composting


  • Most efficiency in the burning of hydrocarbons.Union of Concerned Scientists

  • Composting

  • Recycling

Explore traditional ways of knowing and Western ways of knowing in relation to the concept of interrelationships. (VaD) W o K : Ways of Knowing Sacred Ways of Life: Traditional Knowledge Traditional Medicine Comparison Between Traditional and Scientific Knowledge Edward Jenner David McWilliams Blackwell Synergy Cross-Cultural Science & Technology Units (CCSTU) Climate Change and the Canadian High North Northern Perspectives Indigenous People's Literature

Determine what has and does drive change or “advancements” in science and the impacts of those decisions. (TL) Einstein's Big Idea Serendipity What is Science? - University Of Georgia Geology Department Eclipse in a different light

Realize the impact one person has on problems and solutions. (LL) (CCT) SPICE Women in the Laboratories and Field One to the Infinite Power

Acknowledge multiple perspectives are needed in a solution. (VaD) Home Chemistry Experiments Center for Indigenous Environmental Resources

Identify scientific issues in his or her community, life, and work. (C) Regina Ecoliving What is Science? - University Of Georgia Geology Department Exhibits Collection - Garbage An Inconvenient Truth Planet in Peril-CNN Compost Guide

Develop a methodology to come up with a possible solution. (LL) QUIA The Hip-Hop Scientific Method Compost Guide

Initiate and/or carry out a solution plan to a problem. (IT) Line Rider Dumptown Game Compost Guide


Generic Skills: Communication (C), Interpersonal Teamwork (IT), Numeracy (N), Creative and Critical Thinking (CCT), Technological Literacy (TL), Valuing Diversity (VaD), Lifelong Learning (LL)


Reflective Questions

  • Do learners have an understanding of the differences and interrelationships between science and technology?

  • Has a connection been made between science and the workplace in some way?

  • How have I addressed the learners’ affective domain – their beliefs about their ability to succeed at science?

  • Is there a way to combine an assessment tool in Science with one in another subject area, such as Communications?

  • Are concepts being presented in real world situations and experiences that learners are familiar with?

  • Have I used this strand to integrate and cover specific learning outcomes from other strands?

  • How did I facilitate learners in developing their own methodology for investigating an issue?