Middle School Courses | California

Issue-oriented science forms the foundation of Issues and Science for California and it is the only secondary science program to do so. These big ideas make the content relevant to students' lives and are anchored in real-world events. They connect the why for students, "Why does this matter?"


EdReports Review

Issues and Science was developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science in response to the need for high quality, three dimensional, phenomena driven curriculum. It has earned the second-highest overall scores from EdReports for middle school science curriculum.

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


Connecting the three dimensions

During the development process SEPUP created the Learning Pathway to help visualize the connectedness of the three-dimensions under a Performance Expectation (PE). 

The Learning Pathway shows the specific dimensions and ELA standards students will use as they work towards the Performance Expectation at the top. Usually two to four of these (each with their own PE) are bundled into one unit. 


Correlations for California NGSS

This document shows how Issues and Science for California, developed by SEPUP, aligns with the California Preferred Integrated Model for the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core documents. Issues and Science for California was officially adopted in November 2018 by the California State Board of Education.

Grade Level Courses | Designed for California

Course design

Issues and Science for California is a comprehensive middle school science curriculum. It is unique in that it is not a textbook, but rather a full system with several components that seamlessly work together. Equipment, digital and remote resources, teacher materials, and student materials are all wrapped up in this high quality science instruction. 

Watch the video to see the program overview. 

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

Look through a typical unit

Take ten minutes to watch an overview of one unit, Energy, from the 6th grade program Issues and Science for California, 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 California NGSS units are structured.

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, previews of the entire Issues and Science for California curricula are available on the Portal. 

Remote Learning Support

Engaging in Argument from Evidence

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 are designed so that students may 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. 

High School Courses | California

SEPUP Science and Global Issues: Biology

Cell Biology

EDC Earth Science

Hydrosphere: Water in Earth's Systems
Atmosphere and Climate
Earth's Place in the Universe
Plate Tectonics
The Rock Cycle
Earth Resources

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.

Teachers PD

Professional learning is a critical component of any new instructional material implementation, perhaps now more than ever. Lab-Aids® works build internal leadership and long-term sustainability of the program. This professional development additionally supports a deepened understanding of the new standards and how they strive to serve all students. 

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Susan Paulsen

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Want to see a Lab-Aids® specialist get really excited? Ask to see our evidence of NGSS design in our middle and high school programs.