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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

Ecology | NGSS

Ecology | NGSS

~35 40-50 Minute Class Periods

What are the effects of introduced species, and what can be done about them?
Introduced species can cause disruptions to ecosystems. Students explore these potential impacts through the use of models and by analyzing and interpreting data on introduced species. Finally, they consider potential solutions for controlling invasive species.
PE Assessment Example: “What effect can certain introduced species have on an environment? What, if anything, can or should be done to control these species?”

Ecology is part of Issues and Science three year middle school program, designed by SEPUP at the Lawrence Hall of Science. This seven week unit anchors the lessons around the the socio-science issue: What are the effects of introduced species, and what can be done about them?. Investigative phenomena within the 16 activities connect back to the issue and storyline. This unit builds towards and assesses PEs LS1-6, LS2-1, LS2-2, LS2-3, LS2-4, LS2-5, plus parts of LS1-7.


Content in Ecology | NGSS is organized into 16 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
1. The Miracle Fish? Talking it Over Students read and discuss what happened after the Nile perch was introduced into Lake Victoria.
2. Introduced Species Project After learning about eight species that have been introduced into the United States; students begin research to be presented later in the unit (Activity 16).
3. Data Transects Investigation Students use a model of a transect to compare organisms found in two different physical environments located in a prairie.
4. Taking a Look Outside Investigation Students explore patterns in their local environment by using the transect method learned in the previous activity.
5. A Suitable Habitat Laboratory Students plan and conduct a laboratory investigation to explore blackworms’ responses to different habitats.
6. Ups and Downs Investigation Students graph and interpret population data over time.
7. Coughing Up Clues Laboratory Students gather information on owl diets and the owl’s place in a food web as students dissect owl pellets.
8. Eating for Matter and Energy Reading Students read the text on food webs and the flow of energy through them. They create a model to explain the dissipation of energy from one level to the next.
9. Population Growth Laboratory Students use microscopes to compare populations of Paramecium that have been growing in environments with different amounts of food.
10. Interactions in Ecosystems Investigation Students interpret data from graphs and match them to ecological scenarios describing patterns of interaction that affect population sizes.
11. Cycling of Matter Laboratory Students investigate the role of decomposers while isolating and examining nematodes in soil samples. Students study decomposition in a small classroom compost container.
12. Modeling the Introduction of a New Species Modeling Students work in groups to model a food web using a set of organism cards. They are then given an additional card representing an introduced species and must revise their models.
13. Abiotic Implants on Ecosystems Investigations Students investigate a model of large- scale ecosystem disruption by arranging cards showing the effects of a large forest fire.
14. Effects of an Introduced Species Investigation Students use a Web-based graphing tool to graph and analyze a large data set on zebra mussels and their effects on several ecosystem components.
15. Too Many Mussels Talking it Over Students evaluate control options to address the problems caused by zebra mussels for humans and ecosystems.
16. Introduced Species Project Student groups present their introduced species research. The class discusses the characteristics of an introduced species that make it likely to proliferate in a given ecosystem.

Lab-Aids® provides several useful tools to guide you and your students through the Ecology unit:

Ecology | 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.

Ecology | 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.

Ecology | NGSS

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)

Ecology | NGSS

Teacher Edition and Resources

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