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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

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 7, Ecology Unit

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 7, Ecology Unit


In this unit, students will explore ecology: the study of the relationships between organisms, including humans, and the environment. What are the relationships between an organism and its environment? What effect do humans have on these relationships?

Content in SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 7, Ecology Unit is organized into 15 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
44. The Miracle Fish Talking it Over The issue of introduced (or non-native) species is used to develop an understandingof key ecological concepts. Students work in small groups to read the story of the introduction of Nile perch into Lake Victoria, Africa. The class discusses the question of whether this fish should have been introduced into the lake.
45. Introduced Species Project In a series of short articles, students read about eight species introduced into the United States. Students then work in small groups to research one of these introduced species. This structured research project helps students gather information about the introduced species, the consequences of its introduction, and its potential future impact. Students present the issues surrounding their introduced species in Activity 58, “Presenting the Facts.”
46. Dichotomous Key Investigation The teacher reviews the arthropod phylum and explains the use of a dichotomous key. Students examine four arthropod specimens and use a dichotomous key to make general identifications.
47. Watching Worms Laboratory Students investigate the concept of a habitat as they work with redworms. This is an introductory lab that allows for basic exploration. The activity develops the idea that ecological information is gathered through study.
48. Sustainability of Ecosystems Reading Students read about the role of biodiversity in the sustainability of ecosystems. Eight major biomes are presented, and food chains and food webs are formally introduced.
49. Taking a Look Outside Field Study Observation of real organisms in their natural environment is at the core of ecological study. Students are introduced to the concept of field study as they take their study of ecology outdoors. Students act as ecologists as they study the natural world.
50. Coughing Up Clues Laboratory Students investigate the diet of owls as they attempt to reconstruct a skeleton from bones. Students extract bones from an owl pellet, sort them, and then use the bones to try to reconstruct an animal skeleton(s). In so doing, students begin to gather the type of qualitative information used to develop food webs. They also gather quantitative information that helps scientists investigate the amount of food needed to sustain an organism and to realize that energy is lost at each step in a food web.
51. Eating for Energy Reading The situation of the zebra mussel in the Great Lakes is used as an example in a reading to highlight the energy relationships within an ecosystem. Students identify producers and consumers and discuss their roles within an ecosystem.
52. Energy Flow Through Living Systems Investigation Working with a set of cards representing one of four different ecosystems, students create food chains, food webs, and energy pyramids.
53. Nature’s Recyclers Laboratory Students use their knowledge of food webs and roles of species within an ecosystem to more closely study a soil ecosystem. They isolate nematodes and use microscopes to observe them. The role of decomposers in all ecosystems is emphasized.
54. Cycling of Matter Laboratory The class establishes three different compost bins to observe the decay of biomass. They discuss the cycling of matter within living systems.
55. Producer’s Source of Energy Laboratory Students now know that plants produce the food that fuels the rest of life on Earth. But how do producers produce food? Students collect evidence for photosynthesis by examining the aquatic plant, Elodea. They first perform an investigation to observe the uptake of carbon dioxide by the plant, as one indicator that photosynthesis is taking place. Students then design an experiment to investigate the role of light in photosynthesis.
56. The Cells of Producers Laboratory How are producers such as plants adapted to carry out photosynthesis? Students make microscope slides of different plant parts. By comparing photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic plant cells, students discover that chloroplasts are associated with photosynthesis. Students are also asked to identify the distinctive features of plant cells, as compared to animal cells.
57. Too Many Mussels Talking it Over Students read about the various options for addressing the introduction of zebra mussels in the United States. They decide what approach or combination of approaches they think is best and discuss the trade-offs of their decision.
58. Presenting the Facts Project In this culminating activity of the unit, students teach each other about the introduced species that they have been studying throughout the unit. Using Activity 57, “Too Many Mussels?” as a model, each student group conducts a class discussion of what, if anything, can and should be done about the population of their introduced species in the United States. The class then discusses the characteristics of an introduced species that make it likely to proliferate in a given ecosystem.

A full suite of course tools is available for teachers, as follows:

Student Edition

The Student Edition guides investigations and provides related readings. It 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.

eStudent Edition

Availible in both download and online access platforms.

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 7, Ecology Unit

Teacher Edition

The SEPUP Core Curriculum Teacher’s Edition takes you through each activity in the Student Edition 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 Edition is packaged as a series of loose-leaf binders that you can personalize with annotations, rearrangements, and insertions. The Teacher’s Edition provides full support for teaching the program. Additional support resources can also found in the Teacher’s Edition.

Complete Material 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.

Online and Technology Tools

These include the Exam View suite of assessment tools and more than 100 web links for each of the three SEPUP 6-8 courses, to be used for basic instruction and enrichment.

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 7, Ecology Unit Item # Price Quantity