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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



32-47 (9 weeks)

Students explore energy transfer and conservation in the context of household energy usage. The activities explore key energy concepts, including the variety of types of energy, energy transfers within and between systems, the energy chains involved when energy is transformed from one type to a more desired type, and the methods used to quantify energy and determine the efficiency of energy transfers.

The focus on energy efficiency and the waste involved in energy transfers leads to the consideration of renewable and non-renewable energy sources and the trade-offs involved in using each source.

Content in Energy is organized into 20 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
53. Home Energy Use Investigation Students compare the features of two homes and how the features affect energy use.
54. Drive a Nail Lab Students explore energy transfer as they drive a nail into a block. The concepts of kinetic and gravitational potential energy are introduced.
55. Roller Coaster Energy Role Play Students further examine energy transfer and the transformation between gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy in the context of roller coasters.
56. Shake the Shot Investigation Students add mechanical energy to a system and measure the temperature change that results from the energy transformation.
57. Conservation of Energy Reading Students read about the Law of the Conservation of Energy, the process of heat transfer during transformations and the principle of energy efficiency.
58. Follow the Energy Investigation Students identify different energy types as they follow energy movement in everyday events.
59. Ice Melting Contest Lab Students explore heat transfer by conduction as they design a method for melting an ice cube as quickly as possible.
60. Ice Preserving Contest Modeling Students design a container to preserve an ice-cube. They follow this up by reading about ice boxes and refrigeration.
61. Mixing Hot and Cool Water Lab Students mix different temperatures and volumes of water in order to analyze the heat transfer that occurs.
62. Quantifying Energy Investigation Students measure temperature differences with a calorimeter and calculate the energy transferred from ice to water during melting.
63. Measuring Calories Lab Students use a calorimeter to measure the stored energy in a nut. They use the data to calculate the calories in the nut.
64. Electricity Generation Reading Students investigate the sources of electricity in the United States. They read about renewable and non-renewable sources and discuss the trade-offs of different electricity generation methods.
65. Electrochemical Batteries Lab Students build a wet cell to explore how different metals react to produce electrical energy. A small motor is used to detect the amount of energy the different reactions produce.
66. Connecting Circuits Investigation Students build simple circuits that transform electrical energy into light, sound, and mechanical energy. They test various materials for conductivity and explore series and parallel circuits.
67. Hot Bulbs Lab Students calculate the efficiency of a flashlight bulb in producing light by measuring how much energy is “wasted” as thermal energy.
68. Photovoltaic Cells Lab Students experiment with photo voltaic cells as they explore the sunlight – electricity energy transformation.
69. Solar Heating Lab Students continue their exploration of solar energy by investigating a model solar heat collector and calculating its efficiency.
70. Collecting Solar Energy Modeling Students build and compare two boxes; one to absorb as much sunlight as possible and the other one to absorb as little sunlight as possible.
71. Household Energy Efficiency Reading Students read about home energy use, ways to improve energy efficiency and methods of conserving energy.
72. Improving Household Efficiency Investigation Students are presented with fictional scenarios of families who want to reduce their home energy cost. Using their knowledge of energy concepts, they conduct an economic analysis and make energy-saving recommendations that meet the needs of the family.

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


Student Book

The Energy 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 Energy 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 & 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.