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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



25-34 (7 weeks)

The Ecology unit begins by focusing on what happens when a new species is introduced into an ecosystem. Students consider this issue as they model ecological relationships within an ecosystem. They simulate the effect of competition, predation, and other factors on population size. Next, they investigate local ecosystems. Students culture and investigate black worms (small aquatic worms) as they differentiate between observation and inference. Students have the opportunity to further develop their research skills by completing a research project on the problems of introduced species.

Content in Ecology is organized into 17 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
72. The Miracle Fish? Talking it Over Students read and discuss what happened after the Nile perch was introduced into Lake Victoria.
73. Introduced Species Project After learning about eight species that have been introduced into the U.S., students begin research to be presented later in the unit (see Activity 88).
74. Observing Organisms Lab Students investigate the behavior of living organisms (black worms).
75. Classifying Animals Investigation Students classify cards containing images and information on different animals.
76. People, Birds, and Bats Investigation Students act as taxonomists as they apply characteristics of five major vertebrate classes to “mystery” organisms. (Includes an optional web-activity on the life cycles of plants and animals, with flower dissection extension.)
77. Ups and Downs Investigation Students graph and interpret population data over time.
78. Coughing Up Clues Lab Students gather information on owl diets and the owl’s place in a food web as they dissect owl pellets.
79. Eating for Energy Reading Students read about the introduction of zebra mussels in the Great Lakes highlighting energy relationships within an ecosystem.
80. Nature’s Recyclers Lab Students investigate the role of decomposers as they isolate and examine nematodes. Extensions explore various food webs.
81. A Producer’s Source of Energy Lab After collecting evidence for plant photosynthesis, students design and conduct an experiment on the role of light in photosynthesis.
82. The Cells of Producers Lab Students view microscope slides of different plant structures and compare photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic cells.
83. A Suitable Habitat Lab Students design an experiment to explore black worms’ response to various substrata. They read about bi-omes, populations, and communities and ecosystems. A web extension explores symbiotic relationships among species.
84. Clam Catch Modeling As a class, students model the interaction of a population of clams and zebra mussels.
85. Is There Room for One More? Reading Students read about the concept of carrying capacity using the example of the zebra mussel.
86. Taking A Look Outside Field Study Students act as ecologists as they investigate the natural world.
87. Too Many Mussels? Talking it Over After reading about different ways to address zebra mussel introduction in the U.S., students discuss the trade-offs of the recommendations.
88. Presenting the Facts Project Student groups present their introduced species research and discuss what, if anything, should be done about the population of their introduced species in the U.S.

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


Student Book

The Ecology 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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.


Teacher’s Guide

The Ecology 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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


ExamView® Test Generating Software

ExamView® for Issues & Life 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.