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Middle School Curriculum

Back in 1963 when LAB-AIDS® shipped its first kit, we had a vision, to revolutionize the middle school classroom with one of the first inquiry-based approaches to learning science through hands-on activity. More Info

Exploring Space

Exploring Space

15-17 (4 weeks)

In Exploring Space, students investigate the objects that make up the Solar System in the context of issues related to space exploration. They classify space objects based on their characteristics and use models to represent their relative sizes and distances from the Sun. They also learn about technological advances, such as the development of telescope technology, and remote sensing, and their role in discoveries about space. Other activities focus on the Sun, gravity, and the space program.

Content in Exploring Space is organized into 14 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
85. History of Space Exploration Investigation Students are introduced to the history of space exploration and share their knowledge of the solar system.
86. Observing Objects in Space Investigation Students observe photographs to help identify planets and stars.
87. Telescope Technology Reading Students read about the development of the modern telescope. The work of famous astronomers Galileo, Hale, Leavitt, and Hubble are highlighted.
88. Classifying Space Objects Investigation Students learn to identify and classify celestial bodies based on their characteristics.
89. Where in the Solar System Am I? Investigation Students use descriptions of planets’ characteristics to identify four different planets.
90. Drawing the Solar System Modeling Students use a scale to make an accurate drawing of distances to, and diameters of the planets.
91. How Big Are the Planets? Projects Students determine a scale for modeling the size of the planets and then make a physical model that compares the planets.
92. The Nearest Star: the Sun Reading Students read about characteristics of the Sun and its place as a star in the solar system.
93. Picturing Without Seeing Lab Students use measuring probes to make a remote sensing image of an unseen planetary surface.
94. Remote Sensing Investigation Students apply knowledge of remote sensing and planetary characteristics to observe and compare the surfaces of three planets.
95. Universal Gravitation Investigation Students analyze data of gravitational pull between space objects. Mass and distance are related to the force of gravity.
96. The Effects of Gravity Reading Students read a summary about universal gravitation and discuss how gravity is related to weight, weightlessness, and orbiting objects.
97. Exploring Outer Space Role Play Students participate in a role-play that discusses the advantages and disadvantages of piloted and unpiloted space missions.
98. Choosing a Mission Talking it Over Students consider the benefits and trade-offs of four different space exploration proposals and make a recommendation of which one to fund.

LAB-AIDS® provides several useful tools to guide you and your students through the Exploring the Solar System unit:

Exploring Space

Student Book

The Exploring The Solar System soft cover Student Book guides investigations and provides related readings. The Student Book uses a variety of approaches to make science accessible for all students. SEPUP’s integrated literacy strategies help students process new science content, develop their analytical skills, make connections between related concepts, and express their knowledge orally and in writing. <p>The built-in assessment system helps teacher’s identify students’ strengths and weaknesses from the beginning of the course. This allows them to adjust activities when needed so that all students get the best chance to build their knowledge and appreciation of science.

Exploring Space

LAB-AIDS® Science Lab Notebook

The use of a science journal or notebook in SEPUP is strongly recommended. The journal not only models the way scientists work, but it helps to develop and reinforce students’ science learning and literacy skills. <p>The LAB-AIDS® Science Lab Notebook is 112 three-hole punched pages which allow students to store the completed pages in their binder. It has a 2 column design and plenty of room for notes and responses to Analysis Questions. Graph Anywhere allows data tables and graphs to be drawn in a fraction of the usual time. The Science Lab Notebook was designed with “Best Practices” in mind.

Exploring Space

Complete Materials Package

All SEPUP materials packages are designed with teachers, students and environmental considerations in mind. Traditional laboratory style classrooms are not necessary to teach SEPUP. <p>Materials packages include most of the items needed for the activities. They support multiple classes – typically up to five classes of 32 students (160 total students) – before consumables need to be replaced. It’s important to note that materials are consumed at various rates; therefore, it will not be necessary to replace all consumable items every year. Exclusive to SEPUP programs are the molded tray liners that keep everything in place and easy to locate – even in a hurry.

Exploring Space

Teacher Guide

The Exploring The Solar System Teacher’s Guide takes you through each activity in the Student Book and helps you see the development of concepts within the big picture of the units and the course you are teaching. It helps you set up the equipment from the kit, organize the classroom, conduct activities, and manage practical details, all of which enhance students’ learning environment. <p>The Teacher’s Guide is packaged as a series of loose-leaf binders that you can personalize with annotations, rearrangements, and insertions. The Teacher’s Guide provides full support for teaching the program. Additional support resources can also found in the Teacher’s Guide.

Exploring Space

Teacher Resource

The Teacher Resource provides background and suggestions to increase the overall effectiveness of implementing the program across all levels of learners. Sections include: SEPUP’s Approach to Teaching and Learning, Differentiation Strategies for Diverse Learners, Literacy Strategies for Supporting Reading Comprehension and for Enhancing Students’ Writing and finally Comprehensive instruction on the SEPUP Assessment System.

Exploring Space

Books Online

Individual, classroom or district licenses can be purchased for access to our student books on-line. It features editable Word documents for each set of Activity Assessment Questions which allows students to e-mail their finished work back to the teacher. Microsoft Word® Tools provide strong support for diverse learners. The Spelling and Grammar Checker uses red and green underline squiggles representing spelling (red) and grammar (green) errors alerting students to potential errors. The thesaurus helps to refine writing as well as expose students to new vocabulary words. Students with poor spelling skills often have difficulty using a dictionary. This feature provides an instant definition for a highlighted word, eliminating the task of dictionary look-up. Students can also use the Thesaurus to find the synonyms of words. <p> All pages were created using Adobe Acrobat Reader. A great feature of the Adobe program is “The Read Aloud Function”. The program audibly reads the text, allowing the student to follow the reading on the page. You can speed up or slow down the program based on the student’s ability. This helps all students increase their vocabulary.

Exploring Space

ExamView® Test Generating Software

ExamView® for Issues & Earth Science makes it easier for educators to use your content to assess, track, and analyze student performance. Comprised of the Test Generator, Test Manager, and Test Player, ExamView® is the industry standard for paper, Internet, and LAN‐based question and test development. <p> Test Generator Educators can create assessments, quizzes, study guides, and worksheets using multiple question formats, pictures, tables, graphs, charts, and other multimedia elements. Works exclusively with eInstruction’s CPS™ student response systems for real‐time results. <p> Test Manager Educators collect results and generate comprehension reports in minutes. Test Manager also manages class rosters and automatically collects performance data from the school network to analyze student results and identify areas of concern. <p> Test Player Gives students the ability to take tests and view study guides over the school network. ExamView® adds even more benefits to your content. <p> QuickTest Wizard New tests can be created in a matter of minutes with easy step‐by‐step navigation. Simply select the question banks and the number of questions and ExamView® does the rest. <p> Style Gallery ExamView® tests can be easily formatted to match state or national standardized tests. Simply choose a layout based on predefined formats (e.g., TAKS, FCAT, GED, GMAT, NCLEX, etc.) and print a comprehensive answer sheet. <p> Multiple Question Formats ExamView® supports 14 question formats. An ExamView® question can contain pictures, graphs, charts, tables, and other multimedia elements. You can create dynamic questions (algorithms) for any subject area which allow infinite customization of a question using mathematical definitions.