Bill Cline

Science Curriculum Specialist

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 middle and high school provide context for relevant and connected phenomena within the unit. Not just an event or process that links scientific content - it is the big idea that has meaning in 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.

What will students be doing?

Students using Lab-Aids programs quickly come to expect that they will be purposefully active during science. Science and Engineering Practices are a regular part of their week and are the main vehicle for content as students collect data, engage in relevant dialog, and keep notes both on what they've learned and their understanding as it develops.

Three Dimensional Learning


Connecting the three dimensions

Correlation documents, like those below, 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 their middle school development of Issues and Science: Designed for the NGSS to be sure the curriculum truly weaves the dimensions together.


Equitable access to learn

Both middle and high school 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.

Innovations in science education

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Middle School Courses | Kentucky

Finding the evidence

What do you look for when selecting quality instructional materials? How do you arrive at your final top choices? Watch this video to get a sense of what evidence of NGSS design is offered in the SEPUP program and where to find it. 

Look through a typical unit

Take ten minutes to watch an overview of one unit, Energy, from Issues and Science developed by SEPUP. The first five minutes covers the unit's anchoring phenomenon, the unit issue, and a brief visit to each lesson, while the second half takes a deep dive into one activity. This is a great way to quickly see how SEPUP's  NGSS units are structured.