The Fundamental Concepts of Science

The fundamental concepts in science provide a framework for the deeper understanding of all scientific knowledge- a structure that facilitates integrated thinking as students draw from the knowledge base of science and see patterns and connections within the subdisciplines of science, and between science and other disciplines. The fundamental concepts are listed and described in the following chart.  



Matter is anything that has mass and occupies space. Matter has particular structural and behavioural characteristics.


Energy comes in many forms, and can change forms. It is required to make things happen (to do work). Work is done when a force causes movement.

Systems and Interactions

 A system is a collection of living and/or non-living things and processes that interact to perform some function. A system includes inputs, outputs, and relationships among system components. Natural and human systems develop in response to, and are limited by, a variety of environmental factors.

Structure and Function

This concept focuses on the interrelationship between the function or use of natural or human-made object and the form that the object takes.

Sustainabilitand Stewardship

Sustainability is the concept of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Stewardship involves understanding that we need to use and care for the natural environment in a responsible way and making the effort to pass on to future generations no less than what we have access to ourselves. Values that are central to responsible stewardship are: using non-renewable resources with care;reusing and recycling what we can; switching to renewable resources where possible.

Change and Continuity

Change is the process of becoming different over time, and can be quantified.

Continuity represents consistency and connectedness within and among systems over time. Interactions within and among systems result in change and variations in consistency.

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