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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

The Chemistry of Materials

The Chemistry of Materials

28-36 (7 weeks)

Students explore the life cycles of a variety of common materials from the acquisition of raw materials through to the end of the product’s useful life. After learning about the basic building blocks of matter, elements, and the periodic table, students model the structures of several common compounds. Moving from the atomic level to the material level, students investigate what conservation of matter means in light of the product life cycle and how this can affect manufacturing decisions.


Content in The Chemistry of Materials is organized into 18 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
12. Evaluating Materials Investigation Students compare aluminum, glass, and plastic in order to choose the best material for a soft drink container.
13. Product Life Cycle Reading Students construct a life cycle diagram after reading about the life cycle of glass, metal, and plastic drink containers.
14. Physical and Chemical Properties of Materials Lab Students test and group 6 different materials based on their chemical and physical properties.
15. Families of Elements Investigation Students group elements based on chemical and physical properties and then analyze families of elements.
16. Elements and the Periodic Table Reading Students read about elements, their combination in compounds, and the development of the Periodic Table.
17. Modeling Molecules Modeling Students use models to explore the concepts of element, molecules, and compounds.
18. Properties of Plastics Lab Students explore the properties of four common plastics to determine how these properties affect their uses of these plastics.
19. Creating New Materials Lab Students observe and compare the properties of reactants and a product they cross-link producing a new polymer.
20. Modeling Polymers Modeling Students study the structure and properties of polymer molecules by making different models of polymers.
21. Polymer Parts Reading Students read about synthetic polymers and the cross-linking process, which changes the chemical structure of a polymer.
22. Environmental Impact of Computers Investigation Students consider the material composition of a computer and its environmental impact by constructing a pie chart or graph.
23. Producing Circuit Boards Lab Students simulate the etching of computer circuit boards and then read about their manufacture and the resulting waste.
24. Diluting the Problem Lab Students explore the dilution method of treating used copper chloride from circuit board production. They then determine the concentration of copper in the waste solution.
25. Conservation of Mass Lab Students conduct two chemical reactions in closed containers in order to compare mass before and after a chemical reaction has taken place. They then compare the change in mass to the same reactions in open containers, and use this data to support the Law of Conservation of Mass.
26. Incinerating the Waste Lab Simulated metal waste is burned. Students then test the smoke and ash for the presence of potential toxic metals.
27. Reclaiming the Metal Lab Students investigate the use of metal replacement reactions to extract copper from the used solution.
28. Another Approach to Metal Reclamation Lab Students precipitate copper compounds from used copper chloride, then decide upon a disposal method for the waste solution.
29. The Green Computer Decision Talking it Over From four proposals, students recommend a computer purchase based on many factors including the environmental impact of the computer chosen.

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

The Chemistry of Materials

Student Book

The Chemistry of Materials 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.

The Chemistry of Materials

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.

The Chemistry of Materials

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.

The Chemistry of Materials

Teacher’s Guide

The Chemistry of Materials 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.

The Chemistry of Materials

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.

The Chemistry of Materials

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.

The Chemistry of Materials

ExamView® Test Generating Software

ExamView® for Issues & Physical 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.

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