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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 8, Ecosystems Unit

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 8, Ecosystems Unit


In what ways do organisms depend on environmental factors, such as temperature? How do organisms in an environment interact? And how do scientists collect information to answer these questions? In this unit, student will investigate the interaction of organisms within an ecosystem, as well as the relationships between organisms and the physical environment.

Content in SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 8, Ecosystems Unit is organized into 13 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
1. A Whooping Crane Population Talking it Over The abiotic and biotic components of an environment are introduced. Students work in small groups to read about the Aransas–Wood Buffalo whooping crane flock and factors affecting its population size. The class discusses the role of water in environments
2. Observing Brine Shrimp Laboratory Students investigate the hatching of brine shrimp in the laboratory. This is an introductory lab that allows for basic exploration. The activity reinforces the idea that one way ecological information is gathered is through observation. A science-classroom safety agreement is introduced for students and parents or guardians to sign.
3. Ecosystem Relationships Reading Students are introduced to a variety of ecological relationships they will study in the unit. Three food webs are provided as examples of the types of feeding relationships found in ecosystems.
4. Texas Ecosystems Project Seven ecological regions of Texas are introduced through a series of short summaries. Student pairs research a region of Texas and use the information they collect to create a food web that represents an ecosystem in that region.
5. Stream Sampling Field Study A field trip to a stream allows students to act as ecologists and gather data on stream health. They measure the number and range of benthic macroinvertebrates to assess water quality.
6. People and Ocean Ecosystems Reading A reading about the Gulf of Mexico describes people’s dependence on ocean ecosystems and explores how human activities affect these systems. Runoff, artificial reefs, and oil drilling are addressed.
7. Nutrient Effects on Aquatic Ecosystems Laboratory Students add different levels of phosphates and nitrates to the stream water collected in Activity 5, “Stream Sampling.” They observe the results over a 10-day period.
8. Population Ups and Downs Investigation Students graph and compare whooping crane population data. The class discusses some of the potential difficulties in collecting ecological data, and how the data could help predict short- and long-term population size.
9. Abiotic Factors and Brine Shrimp Laboratory Student groups design an investigation on the effect of an abiotic factor, such as light or temperature, on the hatching rate of brine shrimp eggs. They present the results of their investigation to the class.
10. Clam Competition and Population Size Modeling Students build their understanding of population fluctuation and the factors that affect it by modeling what happens to a population of clams. Some students role-play plankton that sweep by other students role-playing the clams in a clam bed. The size of the clam population over time is recorded. Students then extend the model to observe the effect of competition when a population of mussels is introduced.
11. Is There Room for One More? Reading Students are introduced to the term carrying capacity in an interactive reading. Students also critique a hypothetical experiment that attempts to explain a change in carrying capacity.
12. Fishing for More Biotic Factors Computer Simulation Students work with a computer simulation to investigate the effects of biotic factors on a population of tuna fish. They explore what happens to the population size as predation, food availability, and incidence of disease change.
13. Water Flows Talking it Over Students explore how humans affect abiotic factors, such as the availability of water. As they discuss the impact on populations of organisms they consider other concerns about the water flow in the Brazos River of Texas.

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

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 8, Ecosystems Unit

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 8, Ecosystems 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 8, Ecosystems Unit Item # Price Quantity