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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

Earth’s Resources | NGSS

Earth’s Resources | NGSS

~20-30 40 to 50 minute class periods

How is a growing human population affecting the availability of natural resources?
Students will explore natural resources such as metals, fossil fuels, and freshwater along with the Earth processes that form them. They also investigate the technologies and trade-offs involved with obtaining these resources.

PE Assessment Example: How has an increase in human population and natural-resource consumption affected Earth? Support your answer with evidence.

Earth's Resources is part of Issues and Science three year middle school program, designed by SEPUP at the Lawrence Hall of Science. This four week unit anchors the lessons around the the socio-science issue: How has an increase in human population and natural resource consumption affected Earth? Investigative phenomena within the 14 activities connect back to the issue and storyline. This unit builds towards and assesses PEs ESS1-4, ESS3-4.


Content in Earth’s Resources | NGSS is organized into 14 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
1. Observing Earth's Resources Investigation Students are introduced to Earth’s natural resources. They observe samples of five resources and rank them from the most to least valuable. The class discusses what makes natural resources valuable, and the concept of renewable vs. nonrenewable resources is introduced.
2. World Resource Consumption Reading Students read about the consumption and distribution of three commonly used natural resources and how rates of consumption have changed with increases in human population.
3. Properties of Natural Resources Laboratory Students are provided with an unidentified mineral (either calcite or quartz). Students design an investigation to test and identify the mineral. They first select which property would be the most useful for identifying the mineral. After collecting data, they compare the data on the unknown mineral to the properties of calcite and quartz in order to identify the mineral.
4. Per Capita Consumption Talking It Over Students rank the consumption of copper, petroleum, and groundwater by eight different countries. They calculate per capita consumption and compare how countries rank on total consumption vs. per capita consumption. Images and information on the use of natural resources in different countries leads to an analysis of impacts on Earth systems.
5. Finding Hidden Resources Modeling Students model the remote sensing technique of seismic reflection. Based on the data gathered from the model, they create and interpret a false-color map to predict the locations that are more likely to contain accumulations of resources. They then consider why resources are unequally distributed around the globe.
6. Extracting Resources from the Earth Laboratory Students model the extraction of copper from the ore malachite. They crush the ore and use acid to dissolve copper from the rock. They discuss how consumption of natural resources impacts Earth’s systems, and apply their scientific understanding to a real-world mining question using evidence and trade-offs.
7. Geological Processes Reading Students read about the geological processes that form petroleum, copper, and freshwater. The idea that resources are limited and not replaceable during human lifetimes is reinforced.
8. Groundwater Formation Laboratory Students explore the filtration of water into, and its extraction out of, earth materials. Students examine samples of sandstone, shale, sand, and clay and describe their properties, including how they interact with water.
9. Modeling Rock Layers Modeling Students model the formation of rock layers of Earth’s crust by dropping game chips into a cylinder. The class compares data and develops the idea that some layers are formed by the ongoing deposition of sediments and that lower layers are usually older than upper layers.
10. Fossils Through Time Investigation Students develop a geological-style personal time scale to order important events in their own lives. Students are introduced to earth’s age as they place important events in Earth’s history into one of four time periods. They compare their ordering with that of modern geologists.
11. Earth’s History Investigation Students place events in geological time periods. They then construct a geologic time scale to fit on a 90-cm strip of paper.
12. Reading Rock Strata Investigation Students examine four drill cores representing a fictitious series of rock layers. They then use the evidence from each drill core to create a stratigraphic column for each locality. Based on the fossils contained within the layers, students determine how the layers in each locality correlate to the layers from the other localities. They are then challenged to use this fossil evidence to construct a timeline showing the relative time spans of each species represented by the fossils.
13. Impact on Earth Systems Reading Students read about four resources and the effects of human use of these resources on Earth. Students use an Anticipation Guide before, during, and after the reading to make predictions based on prior knowledge and then examine how their understandings have changed at the end of the activity. Students construct an argument supported by scientific evidence about the negative affects of human consumption of food, water, copper and petroleum.
14. Making a Decision Talking It Over Students are given a fictional scenario of a community in need of resources for a growing population. They have to choose which resource to mine based on the geology of the land site and the needs of the community. They weight the benefits and trade-offs of mining the land for each of the resources.

Lab-Aids® provides several useful tools to guide you and your students through the Earth's Resources| NGSS unit:

Earth’s Resources | NGSS

Student Book

The Student Book guides students in exploring a socio-science issue and connected phemonena through a series of varied activity types. Activity types use one of twelve different instructional strategies to apply Science and Engineering Practices to specific Disciplinary Core Ideas and Cross Cutting Concepts.

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 teachers identify students' strengths and weaknesses from the beginning of the unit. This allows them to adjust activities when needed so that all students get the best chance to build their knowledge and appreciation of science. At the back of the Student Book there is an Appendix containing additional resources for students, such as science skills, literacy strategies, and media literacy among others.

Earth’s Resources | NGSS

Lab-Aids® Science Lab Notebook

A science notebook 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 designed to support best practice note-booking strategies. It includes three-hole punched pages in a two-column design for Cornell-style notes. GraphAnywhere pages allow students to both write and easily create data-tables and graphs anywhere on the page. The unique “Lab-Log” column serves as a blank canvas for drawings, connections, and self-reflective notes. 160 pages total.pages total.

Complete Equipment Package

Lab-Aids programs include high-quality equipment for each activity. This includes innovative lab-ware to be used throughout the year, specific solutions and materials for unique labs, as well as items needed for card sorts, modeling, role-plays, and projects.

Materials for up to 5 classes of 32 students, mobile storage cart, Online Portal for one teacher includes online subscription to Teacher Edition and Resources, Student Book in English/Spanish (E/S), student sheets (E/S), visual aids (E/S), PowerPoints, online assessment system, LABsent, and supplemental resources)

Teacher Edition and Resources (Printed)

The SEPUP Teacher Edition (TE) guides you through each activity in the Student Book and helps you see the development of concepts within the big picture of the unit. 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 Edition text is broken down into several sections, such as Activity Overview, NGSS Connections and Correlations, Materials and Advanced Prep, Teaching Summary, and Background information to name a few. The Teacher Edition is packaged as a color-printed, loose-leaf binder which allows you to personalize it with highlighting, annotations, rearrangements, and insertions. It provides full support for teaching the program. Additional support resources can also found in the Teacher Resource book.

The Teacher Resource (TR) provides background and suggestions to increase the overall effectiveness of implementing the program across all levels of learners. Some 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 comprehensive instruction on the SEPUP Assessment System. There is also a section containing unit specific resources, such as overviews, unit storyline and phenomena table, NGSS correlations, assessment blueprints, and item banks."

Online Portal for Students

Access to Student online portal for 1 year, which includes: the digital Student Book (Spanish coming soon), additional resources, and LABsent sheets and videos for absent students. Ability to highlight, bookmark and make notes in the Student Book, complete homework and assessments, and communicate with the teacher. Also available as multi-year subscriptions.

Online Portal for Teachers

Access to Teacher online portal for 7 years, which includes: online subscription to the Teacher Edition and Resources, Student Book (Spanish coming soon), LABsent sheets & videos for absent students, Editable PowerPoints for each lesson, and integrated online assessment system. Ability to highlight, bookmark, and make notes in personal Student and Teacher books, create and assign homework and assessments, and communicate with students. Available as multi-year subscriptions. Single Sign-On (SSO) available "