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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



11–15 (3 weeks)

The unit begins with students exploring the intensity of common sounds. By exploring the decibel scale, they come to recognize the astounding range of human hearing. The concepts of frequency and wavelength, wave types, and transmission through different media are applied to sound waves. Individual fictitious profiles and their corresponding audiology graphs are analyzed for the level of risk for noise-induced hearing loss. Then students develop a plan to reduce the risk of noise-induced hearing loss in their everyday life. When students explore electromagnetic waves, they consider the increased health risks of cataracts and skin cancers due to ultraviolet wave exposure for individuals with different exposure and risk factor profiles. They investigate the varying energy levels of electromagnetic waves and explore selective transmission, reflection, and absorption. To apply these ideas to everyday life, they model how ultraviolet light is reflected off of surfaces such as sand, sun, or snow. They design and conduct an experiment to compare the ability of sunscreen to absorb or reflect ultraviolet waves. Then students revisit the profiles previously presented in the unit and analyze the profiles for risk of negative health effects of cataracts and skin cancer due to ultraviolet exposure. Finally, they create a personal plan to protect themselves from unnecessary risk due to ultraviolet exposure.

Content in Waves is organized into 11 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
89. It‘s a Noisy World Investigation This activity introduces sound intensity and the decibel scale. Students examine cards that represent the relative intensity of various sounds and learn that an increase of 10 dB is equivalent to a 10­ fold increase in sound intensity.
90. The Frequency of Sound Lab Students make a pendulum to create a wave in yarn attached to the bottom of the pendulum. By varying the length of the pendulum, students change the frequency of the wave. They measure the wavelength associated with each frequency.
91. Longitudinal and Transverse Waves Lab Using a long metal spring, students investigate transverse and longitudinal waves. They investigate such properties of the waves as wavelength and amplitude.
92. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Investigation Students are introduced to the concept of noise induced hearing loss. They analyze fictitious profiles and develop a list of strategies to reduce the risk of noise induced hearing loss.
93. The Nature of Waves Reading Students read about the properties of two major kinds of waves, sound and light. The nature of these waves, the role of media in their propagation, and their speed in various media are described.
94. Comparing Colors Lab Students explore of light by investigating the colors of the visible spectrum. Students first observe how a diffraction grating splits white light into its component colors. Then they investigate the frequency of the different colors of white light through the use of a phosphorescent material.
95. Selective Transmission Lab Students learn more about the proper ties of light by investigating transmission, absorption, and reflection of waves outside the visible spectrum. Students investigate how three thin films, which all transmit visible light, selectively transmit waves that are not visible, such as ultraviolet.
96. The Electromagnetic Spectrum Reading Students read about the kinds of electromagnetic energies emitted from the sun that are not visible. They refer to their knowledge of frequency, wavelength, and energy levels to learn about the discovery and applications of infrared energy and ultraviolet.
97. Reflection and Absorption Lab Students compare the reflection and absorption of sunlight off a dark surface and reflective surface. Then they consider the increased health risks due to sunlight that is reflected onto the skin and eyes from sand, snow, or water.
98. Blocking Out Ultraviolet Lab Students design an experiment that compares the effects of sunblock lotion and moisturizing lotion for their ability to transmit, reflect or absorb ultraviolet. They relate the results to the sun’s effects on human health and actual use of sunscreens.
99. Personal Protection Plan Talking it Over Students analyze a series of fictitious profiles to determine the relative risk of cataracts and skin cancer for each case. After analyzing these narratives, each student determines his or her own relative exposure risk from ultraviolet, and then creates a personal protection plan.

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


Student Book

The Waves 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 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 Waves 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 On-line

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.