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 are like anchoring phenomena only with more connections. Not just an event or process that links scientific content - 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.

Issues and Science | Explore the units

Finding the evidence

While nothing can replace thoughtful Professional Development and trying a new program in the classroom, some work needs to be done to get there. What do you look for when weeding out curriculum options? 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. 

Innovations in science education

17 NGSS units for middle school

Earth's Resources, Third Edition | SEPUP

Earth's Resources is part of SEPUP's Issues and Science three year middle school program. This four week unit anchors the lessons around the socio-science issue: How has an increase in human population and natural resource consumption affected Earth? Investigative phenomena within the lessons connect back to the issue and storyline. This unit builds towards and asseses PE's: ESS1-4 and ESS3-4.

Explore alignment documents

Ecology, Third Edition | SEPUP

Ecology is part of SEPUP's Issues and Science three-year middle school program. This seven week unit anchors the lessons around the socio-science issue: What are the effects of introduced species, and what can be done about them? Investigative phenomena within the lessons connect back to the issue and storyline. This unit builds towards and assesses PEs LS1-6, LS2-1, LS2-2, LS2-3, LS2-4, LS2-5, plus parts of LS1-7.

Explore alignment documents

Energy, Third Edition | SEPUP

Energy is part of SEPUP's Issues and Science three year middle school program. This seven week unit anchors the lessons around the socio-science issue: How can people manipulate energy transfer and transformation to use energy more efficiently? Investigative phenomena within the lessons connect back to the issue and storyline. This unit builds towards and assesses PE's: PS3-3, PS3-4, PS3-5, ETS1-3, ETS1-4.

Explore alignment documents

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. 

Program Overview and General Layout


SEPUP makes 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  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 trial 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.