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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



30-44 (8 weeks)

Students study the chemistry of water and solutions as they investigate water quality issues in the fictional community of Willow Grove. They begin by investigating biological and chemical risks in drinking water, and then explore chemical pollution in depth. Through their investigations, students learn about water’s properties as a solvent, and the properties of acids and bases, and the movement of contaminants through the water cycle. They interpret water quality reports, perform water quality tests, and conduct the most common steps in municipal water treatment.

Content in Water is organized into 23 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
30. Can You Taste the Difference? Investigation Students taste and discuss three water samples (tap, distilled, bottled “spring”) as an introduction to drinking water choices.
31. Willow Grove’s Troubled Waters Reading The scenario of the town and its questioned water supply is introduced.
32. Mapping Death Investigation Students simulate John Snow’s approach of mapping deaths due to the London Cholera outbreak.
33. John Snow and the Search for Evidence Talking it Over Students analyze information collected by John Snow that led to his conclusion that the source of the cholera outbreak was contaminated water.
34. Water Pollution Reading Students read about the biological and chemical types and sources of water contamination.
35. Mystery Liquids Lab Students investigate various properties of water versus alcohol (solution in water): smell, melting and boiling points (and evaporability), miscibility with oil, density, and cohesion (surface tension and capillary action).
36. Making Water and Alcohol Molecules Modeling Students use a modeling kit to build and compare water and ethanol.
37. What Dissolves? Lab Students investigate the solubility of several substances in water, exploring saturation and mixtures vs solutions by visual observations and by filtering.
38. Dissolving Duel Lab Students design an inquiry to compare the solubilities of substances in water and alcohol.
39. Contaminants and the Water Cycle Modeling Students roll a number cube to determine where in the water cycle they travel, decide what form the water is in, how it gets from place to place, and the types of contaminants it may pickup.
40. Parts per Million Investigation Students serially dilute food coloring to develop the concepts of parts per million (and parts per billion) for measuring water contaminants.
41. Testing Water Quality Lab Students test simulated water samples for pollutants and make recommendations about whether the water can be used.
42. Water Purification Lab Students investigate the use of filters and other methods to purify water.
43. Municipal Water Treatment Reading Students read about, diagram, and discuss how a water treatment plant works.
44. Willow Grove’s Water Quality Report Talking it Over Students read a report on Willow Grove’s Water Quality similar to actual water quality reports of water districts.
45. Precipitating Specific Contaminants Lab Students investigate the use of chemicals to precipitate or flocculate contaminants in industrial waste water.
46. Investigating Solutions of Acids and Bases Lab Students explore the use of (three) pH indicators and test the three water samples from Willow Grove.
47. Acids, Bases, and the pH Scale Reading Students read about the measurement and significance of pH and about acids and bases in our lives.
48. Mixing an Acid and a Base Lab Students neutralize an acid with a base and explore the use of equations to describe reactions.
49. A Model for Acid-Base Neutralization Modeling Students explore a particle model to explain neutralization.
50. The Chemistry of Acids and Bases Reading Students read about the difference between ionic and covalent bonds, the dissolving of ionic and covalent compounds, and the reaction between an acid and a base.
51. Testing and Treating Waste water Lab Students test and design a treatment for waste water before it is discharged to the environment.
52. Decisions about Willow Grove’s Water Talking it Over Students decide whether the three water sources they have tested are suit-able for proposed uses. They make recommendations about whether Carla’s neighborhood should join the Willow Grove Water District or continue to use well water, drink bottled or tap water, and any ways to improve water safety in Willow Grove.

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


Student Book

The Water 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 Water 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.