Issue-Based Science | Developed by SEPUP | Lawrence Hall of Science


If you're familiar with current NGSS work you know the use of phenomena is a big deal. The issues in SEPUP's Issues and Science for California are like anchoring phenomena only with more connections. Not just an event or process that links scientific ideas - it is a big idea that is relevant to students' lives and is anchored in real-world events. These issues connect the why for students, "Why does this matter?"

Issue-oriented science forms the foundation of SEPUP’s curriculum materials and it is the only secondary science program to do so.

Three Dimensional Learning


Learning Pathways

Alignment documents, like those below and featured in the video above, have value during a curriculum review. But no matter how thorough, it is difficult to visualize the connectedness of the three-dimensions in such a format. Enter the Learning Pathway - a tool used by SEPUP during development to be sure the curriculum truly weaves the dimensions together.

The focus of student learning in these instructional materials—both instruction and assessment of learning—is on student performances that integrate all three dimensions.

Grade Level Courses | Designed for California NGSS

Grade 6 | Issues and Science for California

Course Cross-Cutting Concept: Energy and Matter

Students investigate the types and transfer of energy in a variety of systems, from living things to earth processes, including climate and weather systems.

Units in Grade 6

Grade 7 | Issues and Science for California

Course Cross-Cutting Concept: Systems and System Models

Students model and explain the interactions of living and nonliving systems in the environment and use the idea of systems and system models to design artificial body parts. 

Units in Grade 7 

Grade 8 | Issues and Science for California

Course Cross-Cutting Concept: Scale, proportion, and quantity

Students explore and explain phenomena related to objects and interactions at a wide range of scales—from the molecules that comprise genes to the gravitational fields that operate within and beyond the solar system. 

Units in Grade 8

Authentically moving to three-dimensional learning and teaching is a significant shift. We think we’ve put together some pretty compelling evidence to reflect the ability of SEPUP’s programs to do just that. Though only sample evidence for each unit is linked above, we'd be happy to set you up with materials for a more extensive review. 


In 2014, Lab-Aids and SEPUP used the EQuiP rubrics to evaluate our Second Edition middle school programs to see where we were already close and where we needed to improve. Turns out good science is good science and we had a pretty strong existing program that included practices and could be used for the basis of a Next Generation program. Issues and Science is the result of a significant redesign that started with this initial reflective evaluation. 

Program Overview and General Layout


SEPUP make explicit connections to ELA learning in grade-appropriate, substantive ways and provides embedded strategies to help teachers deepen students' conceptual thinking. 


Integrated into the programs the SEPUP assessment system sets up ways to collect evidence on student learning and improve performance. 


An intentionally flexible approach to all program activity types help accomplish our goal that all students achieve scientific literacy. 


Equitable access to learn

Units are student-driven; consistently fostering student questions and making sure that students feel that their questions are leading the learning experience. All units have embedded opportunities for students to demonstrate their understandings and abilities in a variety of ways, including some that don’t rely on English speaking or writing skills.

A complete learning system

Each program component references the others to form a cohesive learning system for teachers and students. 

Professional Development and teacher supports

Build sustainability

Science educators have come to trust Lab-Aids as a valuable resource for engaging and worth-while professional development - whether it's an on-site implementation training, the Summer Academy to develop internal leadership, or a day focused on new standards or best-practice strategies.


Online Portal Trial

The online Portal for Issues and Science for California is available for both Students and Teachers and includes interactive text, LABsent sheets and videos for absent students, and the ability to receive and submit homework. Access to the Teacher Edition and Teacher Resources also includes editable PowerPoints, literacy tools, visual aids, training videos, and an integrated online assessment system. 

Register for a trail access to Portal using the access code you've been provided. Don't have an access code? Let us know and we'll set you up! 


Contact Us

We welcome the opportunity to address any questions, should they arise.