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Connecting Ontario’s New Science Curriculum to PASCO’s STEM Sense Products

To some degree, all technology today includes coding. With coding becoming more relevant than ever, Ontario science courses are now integrating coding into the curriculum.

The Ontario Grade 9 science curriculum states:

Coding environments allow for rapid ideating, prototyping, testing, and evaluating as students refine and debug their projects.

One way students can apply these skills is through robotics. The PASCObot is a fun way to teach students about data, robotics, programming, and sense and control. Using Blockly coding, students can make the PASCObot move, navigate and avoid objects, follow a line or path, and many more. The PASCObot encourages students to problem solve and overcome challenges to achieve a goal.

In the Ontario Grade 9 science course, a key goal is:

Providing students with the skills and knowledge required to apply engineering design processes to help find solutions to complex problems.

The //control.Node Sense & Control Kit includes materials and instructions for six projects that use elements of the engineering design process to turn on lights, run a cooling fan, open doors, launch rubber bands, and more. The activities allow students to gain skills in designing, building, and problem-solving by writing and executing code.

I had the opportunity of trying two of the projects associated with the kit:

In the Engineering a Winch activity, students engineer a device that can lift and place down an object. In this activity, you start by putting together a pulley device using a winch wheel and a high-speed stepper motor. By measuring the circumference of the wheel, you can calculate the number of rotations required to move the string and magnet a certain distance to pick up a paperclip. Using Blockly coding, students have to find a way to program the wheel to rotate according to the measurements taken.

The Nightlight activity teaches students how coding with loops and conditions can be used in a real-life setting. By covering the light sensor on the //code.Node, students can analyze how brightness is affected by looking at the live data on SPARKvue. This provides students with data that they can interpret to create code that will turn the light bulb on when brightness is below a certain percentage.

A key change in the biology portion of the Grade 9 science curriculum is:

Students will have an opportunity to learn about the many factors that contribute to ecosystem sustainability, including soil health, air and water quality, biodiversity, and succession. 

The Greenhouse Sense & Control Kit provides experiments that encourage students to gain hands-on experience in each of these topics. Students can design, build, program, and study their very own greenhouse.

In our experience with the Greenhouse Sense & Control Kit, we decided to design an environment for a Ring of Fire Pepper Plant. We had to research conditions that would be essential for the plant to grow. This included factors such as relative humidity, temperature, soil moisture, hours of sunlight, and how much water it needs each week. The Greenhouse Sense & Control kit provides the materials for students to design the greenhouse for the plants’ needs. Through code, you can program a fan, grow light, and irrigation system to provide the optimal conditions for your plant. This teaches students how changes due to soil, water, air, and temperature in an ecosystem can affect a plant’s growth in good and bad ways. The activities provided by this kit allow students to learn about ecosystem sustainability firsthand and in real-time.


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  • A big thanks for all the help and support you provided – I want to take some time to say a big thanks for all the help and support you provided me to select the best equipment in order to make the best possible use of the funds available. It is really exceptional that you happily connected with me multiple times even during the weekend and was always motivated to help. Please accept my big thanks for this.

    Gurpreet Sidhu | Physics Instructor | University College of North | The Pas, MB

  • Wireless Spectrometer Big Hit With Students – PASCO’s wireless spectrometer has been utilized very well by our earth science and physical science teachers. It’s an excellent piece of equipment and we have very much enjoyed its addition to enriching our classroom. It definitely brings students to a higher level of understanding wave interaction at a molecular level.

    Matt Tumbach | Secondary Instructional Technology Leader | Tommy Douglas Collegiate | Saskatoon, SK

  • Excellent Smart Cart – I thought the cart was excellent. The quick sampling rate for force will be very useful for momentum and collision labs we do. I’m recommending we include this in our order for next school year.

    Reed Jeffrey | Science Department Head | Upper Canada College | Toronto ON

  • Your lab equipment is of the highest quality and technical support is always there to help. During the 25 years we have used a wide array of lab equipment including computer interfacing. Your Pasco line has a high profile in our lab and will continue to do so far into the future.

    Bob Chin | Lab Technician | Kwantlen Polytechnic University | Surrey, BC

  • Datalogging Activities are Cross-Curricular

    Throughout the province of Nova Scotia, PASCO’s probeware technology has been merged with the rollout of the new P-6 curriculum. We chose a number of sensors for use with our project-based activities. Both the functionality and mobility of PASCO’s dataloggers enable students to collect authentic, real-world data, test their hypotheses and build knowledge.

    Mark Richards | Technology Integration Consultant | Annapolis Valley R.S.B. | Nova Scotia

  • We have a large number of PASCO wireless spectrometers and love how they have improved the learning experience for our students.

    Shawn McFadden | Technical Specialist | Ryerson University | Toronto, Ontario

  • During distance learning due to COVID-19 school shut down, I was given a short window to collect what I could from my classroom to teach online. The PASCO wireless sensors and Smart Carts were my top priority to collect to implement distance learning. By sharing experimental data with students via SPARKVue, the sensors were pivotal in creating an online experience that still allowed students to grow with their lab skills. It was easy to record videos of the data collection and share the data with my students. They did a phenomenal job examining and interpreting the data.


    Michelle Brosseau | Physics Teacher | Ursuline College Chatham | Chatham, Ontario

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