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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, The Universe Unit

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 8, The Universe Unit


How far away are stars? How bright are they? What has been found out in space? In this unit students will explore the depths of the universe. Students will learn about different astronomical objects and their sizes, distances from Earth, and composition. By examining the movement of galaxies, students will gather evidence about the history of the universe.

Content in SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 8, The Universe Unit is organized into 9 activities, as follows:

Activity Title Activity Type Activity Overview
77. What Is Out There? Investigation Students investigate astronomical objects, including stars, nebulae, and galaxies, that make up the universe. They explore the size and distance of these objects from Earth and are introduced to the astronomical unit (AU) and the light-year (ly).
78. Modeling the Milky Way Modeling Students model the Milky Way using everyday household materials. In the process of developing the model, students see the problems involved in scaling the Galaxy. Students discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using visual and physical models to describe the Milky Way.
79. Investigating Starlight Laboratory Students use a spectroscope to examine the emission spectra given off by gases commonly found in stars. Students learn to identify elements from the patterns of light the elements show in the spectroscope.
80. Star Classification Laboratory This activity introduces the concept of luminosity and its relationship to the temperature of a star. Students plot data for stars on a graph of luminosity vs. temperature and look for trends. They explore how the Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) diagram shows different classifications of stars, such as main sequence, red giant, supergiant, and white dwarf.
81. Life Cycle of a Star Investigation This activity builds on the concept of star classification and develops the concept of star “life cycle.” Students learn about each of a star’s stages, from its first nuclear reaction to what happens when the nuclear fuel is exhausted. A star’s classification changes as it moves through stages, and its path can be predicted based on its mass.
82. Remote Sensing Laboratory Students consider how to measure the distance to things that are hard to see or are far away. They measure the distance to the surface of a section of a concealed surface. They use the data they collected to create a graph of the profile of the surface. Then they use the complete set of class data to create a false-color elevation map. They relate the measuring technique to ways to explore outer space.
83. Measuring the Universe Measuring This activity introduces the methods and units used to measure distances in the universe, such as parallax and Cepheid variable. Students read about astronomical units, light-years, and parsecs that astronomers established for space measurements. They are introduced to the important cosmological idea that measuring out from space is equivalent to looking back in time. Students learn that what is at the edge of the observable universe provides evidence of the Big Bang.
84. The Dynamic Universe Investigation Students explore the concept of an evolving universe through the evidence of redshift. They are first introduced to the concept of Doppler effect with sound and apply that understanding to the phenomena of light. Students plot the location of galaxies in relation to the Milky Way and discover that the galaxies are moving away from each other. This provides evidence for an expanding universe.
85. Future Research Investigation In this activity, students select a proposed research project to fund based on the validity of the study and on economics. The three research projects seek to identify dark matter, which is one of the outstanding cosmological mysteries that might explain the motion of objects in the universe.

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

SEPUP Texas Edition, Science Grade 8, The Universe 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, The Universe 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, The Universe Unit Item # Price Quantity