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Here's what people are saying about LAB-AIDS®. Click each one to read more.

December 2, 2009

For the past 4 years, the East Bay Educational Collaborative, a regional Educational Service Agency specializing in nurturing world class educational practice, has  partnered with the Lab-Aids company in developing and implementing an innovative and equity-bringing Chemistry program, A Natural Approach to Chemistry.

Throughout this time the high school teachers who have participated and who now implement the program in their classrooms are enthusiastic about its importance to students, especially its ability to gain their attention and interest.  One of our specialists – a retired teacher with 30 years of experience teaching Chemistry -- provides teacher training (Professional Development) in partnership with Lab-Aids.  However, she was not, initially, an enthusiast.  But at a dinner I attended at the NSTA Conference in Boston I sat next to her I asked her what caused the change she responded, “The students convinced me.  They get it.  They now understand that Chemistry is all around them, and in them. And want to learn more.”

Lab-Aids has proven to be a valuable and skilled partner in this venture – and has produced a high school chemistry program we feel has no equal.  A Natural Approach to Chemistry has eliminated the need for the traditional and hugely expensive computer lab, it successfully integrates text based chemistry content and concepts with appropriate labs and with a new, ingenious micro-scale computer interactive analytical device (the LabMaster).  Lab-Aids has developed professional development opportunities that work for teachers.  A Natural Approach to Chemistry is an integral and significant component of Rhode Island’s STEM initiative called Physics First Rhode Island, which after 3 years has grown to include 26% of the high school students in the state.

A Natural Approach to Chemistry is a pioneering program -- built as it is around the chemistry within the environment and the human body.  The professional development built around it is interesting and exciting for even the most seasoned teachers.  My experience is that they can now bring difficult chemistry concepts and content to life with their students in ways not possible with traditional texts. 

Jerry Kowalczyk
Former Executive Director


"Science and Sustainability has changed the way I teach - students no longer ask, "when will I ever use this?' because they see the direct connection between science and their world."

Donna Parker, Teacher
Oak Hill (OH) High School


I have observed two fundamental types of change in the teachers I serve. First, they have realized that these "kits" are not elementary; in fact the modules are rich in genuine guided scientific inquiry. The story lines of the revised modules are strong. The SEPUP Modules can go a long way to preparing our students for the Science Washington State Science (WASL. The revised WASL is scenario-based and requires the students write from evidence. That is exactly what the modules promote.

The second change I have noticed in my science staff members who have participated in the field testing is that the literacy elements from the scenarios are being transferred to other units.

Meg Town,
Resource Teacher
Seattle, WA


In a time when education is constantly under fire, SEPUP provides the science teacher with a proven program that can get the job done and still keep the student's interest in science. There is a dramatic change in the atmosphere of my classroom when I get out the SEPUP materials. Students see the relevance and importance of the issues we are examining. There is an excitement as they walk in the room asking, "What are we doing today?"

The SEPUP materials allow me more time and energy to work with students. It is very time-consuming to develop your own activities. SEPUP provides the structure and materials I need to do "good science" on a daily basis. I am able to set up an activity that does hands on science in 15-20 minutes in the morning. I know that the activity works because experienced science teachers around the country have tested it in the field. My time is spent dealing with student learning.

Dick Duquin,
Science Teacher Kenmore, NY


SEPUP represents best practice in science teaching. With direction from the National Science Standards, SEPUP provides environmental contexts that stimulate students to act as science practitioners. The performance assessment rubrics allow students to actively participate in the evaluation of their work. Over the year, students develop a broad range of skills including; lab design and investigation skills, communication of science ideas, and evaluation of evidence and tradeoffs.

The science vehicle is delivered through many disciplines: applied math, social perspectives, reading in the content area, and written expression just to name a few. Thorough lesson plans and pre-sorted lab materials ease the time commitment to a reasonable load for the science teacher to bear. I cannot imagine my teaching career without it!

Liz Nelson, Teacher
Tucson, AZ


"The professional development with master teachers who have taught SEPUP has helped tremendously. Our 7th grade teachers are now familiar with key activities, plus the instructional strategies that are used throughout the program. A follow-up on assessment is helping teachers [use the program] more effectively with students..."

Carol Tempel, Math, Science and Technology Coordinator
Charleston (SC) County Public Schools

My name is Kelly Roche, and I have been teaching 17 years.  The last four or five years I have been teaching Earth Science.  Using the SEPUP lab-aids kit has by far made this past year my happiest and most successful!!!  Everything is provided for you and your students.  I have never seen so many students who are so truly excited about science!!  In past years, students would copy terms, theories, models, etc. from the board and have to memorize it all.  The lab-aids SEPUP kit does not require any memorization or defining.  The kit truly makes them think and actually doing the activities drives the concepts home!  A wonderful example that I really loved was how the concept of a longshore current was used in the unit on erosion and deposition.  In years past I would not have discussed the concept until I reached the unit on oceanography.

     I was worried when I saw Amy Kezman at the GSTS convention because I was so far behind on the pacing guide.  All of the Lab-aids reps assured me I was going to be okay.  Also I expressed that I was not supplementing the kit with any other materials, as other teachers were through worksheets and other materials.  The icing on an already wonderful year was that I had the highest science scores in the school!!  Miller has approx. 850 students with 6 science teachers; 2 earth, 2 life, and 2 physical science teachers)

     One last thought, the first thing I began teaching the students was "Developing Communication Skills"  (I blew it up and have it on a poster)  Referring to the poster on how to communicate with your peers correctly.   I personally feel this is a BIG life skill and I did encourage the students to "speak the language" when they wanted to share, challenge, give feedback and of course disagree properly!

     Thank you, thank you for a wonder year.  I am excited about next year and accomplishing even more with the lab-aids Issues and Earth Science.  One last thing, several of my students nominated me for a local award through a TV station called "My Teacher is Tops".  And yes I totally attribute the nomination to the lab-aids SEPUP kit!  The students said I made science fun and exciting, but it was Lab-aids all the way!!

"I use S&S for my honors environmental class and IEY for my inclusion environmental class." As I began to use your materials I realized this was the curriculum I had been trying to create on my own - using your curriculum has fueled my vision as an educator."

Doug Goodwin, Teacher
Chicago (IL) Public Schools

"In my 26 years of teaching, I have seen students change in many ways. These days, if it has nothing to do with them, they don't want to learn it. SEPUP is relevant to the lives of my students and they love it."

Debby Rogers, Teacher
Walnut Ridge (AR) Public Schools

SEPUP works. In our pre-service science teacher training program at Buffalo State College, we use SEPUP activities to show students how science should be taught: in an interactive, inquiry-oriented manner which stresses active student involvement. In my visits to many middle school classrooms over the years, I have also seen how SEPUP can adapt to a variety of teaching styles and modes of classroom management. The extensive national field-testing of all SEPUP courses and modules builds validity and reliability into the final product."

Dr. Robert E. Horvat,
Professor Emeritus
Buffalo State College
Buffalo, NY

I teach SEPUP because it packages "good science" in a manageable, hands-on program. In SEPUP, students are hooked with a high interest issue and then investigate the science surrounding it. The process of science is learned by actually doing science. Students make decisions about the issue based on the evidence they have acquired.

Is SEPUP effective? Repeatedly I hear parents comment, "My child never liked science before this year," or "We always know what is going on in science because we discuss it at dinner." A measure of effectiveness is student engagement. SEPUP not only engages students but also requires them to think critically, a skill that will remain with students throughout their lives.

Donna Markey, Teacher
Vista, CA

The program puts the student in the role of being the scientist. They are led in a direction but, in the end, the students feel they got there on their own. Just the way the module was set up, kids ended up showing other kids their results. They saw their results as real and would argue from them. Kids who didn't get the expected results would repeat their procedures without prompting. Often, they found they made a procedural error or they didn't look close enough. Throughout the module they became comfortable with the language of chemistry. Without teaching formulas, they are ready for the next step. They rarely learned a science term without seeing or experiencing it themselves. With Solutions and Pollution, the incoming seventh graders started the year with real science. This set the tone for the entire year.

Jenny Shibayama,
Seattle, WA

Jeanette Bartley, University of Chicago

District-wide performance (% students scoring proficient or better) on the Illinois State Achievement Test (ISAT) has increased from 47.6 in 2003 to 60.6 in 2006, a 13 point jump.

Dr. Stan Hill, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Approximately 50% of the Winston-Salem teachers were using SEPUP materials in their classrooms. According to the midpoint review of the district Urban Systemic Initiative (USI) program, the SEPUP students outperformed their non-SEPUP peers by an average of four points. 

Wendy M. Jackson, Ph.D., CCT Project Director, DePaul University

In 2009, CPS began a concerted effort to strengthen the quality of science education at the middle school level by ensuring that science teachers have the necessary credentials, access to high quality instructional materials, and sustained, coherent professional development on those materials. The district expanded its scope and sequence to include SEPUP at 6th grade in addition to 7th and 8th grade. A cadre of professional development leaders, drawn from among the most effective middle grade science teachers in the district, was created by the district and supported by LAB-AIDS. One result of this concerted effort was a jump in state test scores for middle grade science by 5.6 points, the largest gain for any grade and subject. 

Linda C. Smith, Yorktown (IN) Middle School

Pre-test, post-test results for hte Genetics unit. Of the 93 students, all made less than 60%, but one student who makea  70% on the pre-test. in the post-test, the majority of students showed at least 40% grown and many had over 50%.

Heather Maciejewski, Native American Magnet School, Buffalo (NY) Public Schools

In 2008, 86% of her students passed the New York State Regents Living Environment Exam (a comprehensive, end-of-course test). In 2009, her students' pass rates were 94%, and in 2010, 100% of her students passed the exam, a 14% jump in two years. For comparison purposes, the average district pass rates vary between 55-60%.

To Whom it May Concern,

My name is Jill Greenfield and I am a 6th grade science teacher in the Achievement First network. This year, we are in the process of updating our science curriculum network-wide to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the new gold standard for K-12 science instruction. As part of this shift, we have chosen to use SEPUP for our instructional materials. I have used SEPUP materials to plan units and to teach daily lessons since August 2014.

SEPUP has been an excellent choice for our network because it aligns closely to the NGSS and provides for rigorous instruction. SEPUP units not only focus on the content and core ideas that are called for by the NGSS, but also give students opportunities to develop science and engineering skills. Students build independence in the lab as they build content knowledge. Since the bulk of the thinking and cognitive work is done by students, SEPUP activities are rigorous and result in a deep understanding and retention of the material.

The SEPUP materials themselves are easy for both new and experienced teachers to implement. The progression of the lessons and the activities are explained clearly and questions to ask as well as exemplar responses are included in the materials. The student materials are engaging and include a materials list, the procedure, if applicable, and almost always a segment of text, helping to push literacy in science classes. I have found that the process of planning lessons from SEPUP activities to be easy and streamlined. Additionally, the support from SEPUP facilitators that is available to teachers is excellent; they have done a great job helping me and my team of teachers understand the framing and progression of the unit and how each activity builds towards the big ideas in the unit. They have also given us a chance to see how to facilitate the activities by engaging in the activities with us; this experience prior to teaching the activities has been invaluable.

SEPUP units have been very enjoyable for me to teach and very engaging for students. Lessons focus on hands-on activities that students are enthusiastic about and that are also content-driven and facilitate important skill building such as group work. Each unit is also framed around a current topic or issue that is interesting and relevant to students. I have enjoyed teaching units that continually cycle back through the most important ideas; by building on these ideas over time, students develop a deeper understanding of the content and this also leads to many opportunities for cumulative review. SEPUP has been a great experience both for me and for my students.

I recommend SEPUP units without reservation to other NYC schools looking for excellent instructional materials.


Jill Greenfield

Achievement First East New York Middle School

A thank you email note was sent to Mrs. Teresa Null a 7th Grade Science Teacher and Science Department Chair at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy from a former student. The email speaks to how experiencing science makes a difference in students lives. 


From: Dara Burris  
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2015 9:08 PM
To: Null, Teresa
Subject: Thank You


Dear Mrs. Null,


You were my 7th grade science teacher in 2002. Because I was switching schools, I was only in your class first semester. But what a difference you made in one semester!  I loved your cholera outbreak class activity. It planted the seed which grew into pursuing a career in public health. I'm now an epidemiologist in Colorado. Epidemiology is a field few have heard of. Because of you, I was fortunate enough to have learned about it at a young age. Thank you for being such an inspiring teacher and helping me find my path in life. I owe you an enormous amount of thanks.

Thank you!


Elena Cox, Ph.D. from Texas A&M University sent this email to Dr. Manos Chaniotakis, co-author of A Natural Approach to Chemisty.

The SEPUP Program is fabulous is a very engaging, hands-on curriculum with all activities included. The connection to real life problems piques students' curiosity immediately at the start of each unit. We no longer hear students say "Why are we learning this?" They know they are building background knowledge in order to solve the unit's issue.  SEPUP is a wonderful investment!! All of my staff in middle school and the Biology teacher in the high school are thrilled!!!
Penny Parmelee
Science Curriculum Coach
Hartford Public Schools
Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy