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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

Waves | NGSS

Waves | NGSS

~25 40 to 50 minute class periods

How are waves both helpful and harmful?
Students encounter a variety of technologies that make use of waves. They also investigate the harmful effects of certain waves and methods to mitigate the risks associated with these waves.
PE Assessment Example: Use what you learned from your hands-on investigation to explain why noise is more of a problem for analog vs digital signals, and why digital signals are more reliable to encode and transmit information.

Waves is part of Issues and Science three year middle school program, designed by SEPUP at the Lawrence Hall of Science. This five week unit anchors the lessons around the the socio-science issue: How are waves both helpful and harmful? Investigative phenomena within the 15 activities connect back to the issue and storyline. This unit builds towards and assesses PEs PS4-1, PS4-2, PS4-3.


Content in Waves | NGSS is organized into 15 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
1. 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.
2. Making Sound Waves Investigation Students explore frequency and intensity through the pitch of everyday sounds. They use a long metal spring to model sound waves.
3. The Nature of Sound Reading Students read about the properties of longitudinal waves, such as sound, including wave speed, transmission through media, and how its energy is related to its amplitude.
4. 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.
5. Telephone Model Investigation Students investigate a method of sound transmission through a cord. Using this telephone model, they compare the transmission of sound as analog and digital signals.
6. Analog and Digital Technology Reading Students read about the technology of digital hearing aids that receive sound waves and manipulate them for the user. Assessment of PE MS-PS4-3
7. Another Kind of Wave Investigation Using a long metal spring, students investigate transverse waves. They examine the relationship between frequency and wavelength and revisit amplitude and energy. Assessment of PE MS-PS4-1
8. Wave Reflection Laboratory In this activity, students first investigate the law of reflection by bouncing sound off a wall. They take what they have learned and design an investigation for light rays. Finally, they explore the reflection of light off a curved mirror.
9. Refraction of Light Laboratory Students direct a ray of light through water and trace its path into and out of the water. Then students investigate the special case of total internal reflection.
10. Comparing Colors Laboratory Students explore the nature of light by investigation the colors of the visible spectrum. First they 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.
11. Selective Transmission Laboratory Students learn more about the properties of light by investigating transmission reflection and absorption of waves outside the visible spectrum. Students investigate three thin films that selectively transmit light that is not visible, such as ultraviolet.
12. The Electromagnetic Spectrum Reading Students read about the kinds of electromagnetic energies emitted from the sun that are not visible. The wavelengths, frequencies, and energy levels of light are discussed. The discovery and applications of infrared and ultraviolet are introduced.
13. Where Does the Light Go? Laboratory Students compare the reflection and absorption of sunlight off a dark surface and reflective surface. Then they consider the increased health risks due to the sunlight that is reflected onto the skin and eyes from sand, snow, or water. Assessment of MS-PS4-2.
14. Blocking Out Ultraviolet Laboratory 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 the use of sunscreens.
15. 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:

Waves | 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.

Waves | 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.

Waves | 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

Waves | NGSS

Teacher's 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