Earth and Space Science SES4U


This course develops students’ understanding of Earth and its place in the universe. Students will investigate the properties of and forces in the universe and solar system and analyse techniques scientists use to generate knowledge about them. Students will closely examine the materials of Earth, its internal and surficial processes, and its geological history, and will learn how Earth’s systems interact and how they have changed over time. Throughout the course, students will learn how these forces, processes, and materials affect their daily lives. The course draws on biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics in its consideration of geological and astronomical processes that can be observed directly or inferred from other evidence.

SKU: SES4U Category:

The SES4U Earth and Space Science course is intended for Grade 12 students seeking to expand their understanding of Earth’s history, the universe, and the impact of geological activities on society. This course emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to scientific exploration and seeks to prepare students for university programs related to geology, astronomy, environmental science, and physics.

Course Overview

Students will explore topics such as the formation and evolution of Earth, the solar system, the physical properties of planets and stars, and the interactions between the lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere. This course is structured to provide a deep understanding of Earth’s processes and their broader implications for life and human activity.


Students must have successfully completed any Grade 11 University Preparation science course.

Key Learning Objectives

  • Understand the principles of geology and how Earth’s processes impact the environment and human society.
  • Analyze the physical properties of celestial objects and the structure of the universe.
  • Explore the effects of the lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere on Earth’s systems and life.
  • Investigate the role of science and technology in addressing environmental issues.

Scientific inveStigAtion SkillS And cAreer explorAtion

  • Demonstrate scientific investigation skills (related to both inquiry and research) in the four areas of skills (initiating and planning, performing and recording, analysing and interpreting, and communicating);
  • Identify and describe careers and Canadian contributions related to the fields of science under study.


AStronomy (Science of the univerSe)

  • Analyse the development of technologies that have contributed to our understanding of the universe, and evaluate the impact of milestones in astronomical theory or knowledge on the scientific community;
  • Investigate and analyse the properties of the universe, particularly the evolution and properties of stars, in both qualitative and quantitative terms;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe, the principal characteristics of its components, and techniques used to study those components.


plAnetAry Science (Science of the SolAr SyStem)

  • Analyse political, economic, and environmental issues related to the exploration and study of the solar system, and how technology used in space exploration can be used in other areas of endeavour;
  • Investigate features of and interactions between bodies in the solar system, and the impact of these features and interactions on the existence of life;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the internal (geological) processes and external (cosmic) influences operating on bodies in the solar system.


recording eArth’S geologicAl hiStory

  • Analyse, with reference to geological records, the relationship between climate, geology, and life on Earth, and evaluate contributions to our understanding of changes in Earth systems over geological time;
  • Investigate geological evidence of major changes that have occurred during Earth’s history, and of the various processes that have contributed to these changes;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how changes to Earth’s surface have been recorded and preserved throughout geological time and how they contribute to our knowledge of Earth’s history.


eArth mAteriAlS

  • Analyse technologies used to explore for and extract Earth materials, and assess the economic and environmental impact of the exploitation of such materials;
  • Investigate the properties of minerals and characteristics of rocks, including those in their local area;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the properties of minerals and the formation and characteristics of rocks.


geologicAl proceSSeS

  • Analyse technological developments that have increased our knowledge of geological processes and structures, and how this knowledge assists in monitoring and managing these processes and structures;
  • Investigate, through the use of models and analysis of information gathered from various sources, the nature of internal and surficial Earth processes, and the ways in which these processes can be quantified;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the processes at work within Earth and on its surface, and the role of these processes in shaping Earth’s surface.

Course Details

Course CodeSES4U
Course TypeAcademic
FormatUniversity Preparation
Course TitleSpace & Astronomy
GradeGrade 12
Credit Value1.0

Outline of Course Content

UnitTitleTime and Sequence
1Planetary Science26 hours
2Astronomy26 hours
3Recording Earth’s Geological History26 hours
4Geological Processes and Earth Materials26 hours
Final Assessment6 hours
Total110 hours