Issues and Science is relevant, hands on, fun, organized, challenging, and designed for the middle school brain. My students love the flow and are consistently surprised when their questions are answered as we move through the activities. The routines are established and this leaves more space for creativity in content. I love that each unit has a variety of types of activities, including modeling, design challenges, labs, investigations, problem solving, etc. The content reading activities are spaced in a relevant way when students are ready and need more information. My students keep a Science Notebook for all their materials that are filled with writing, sketches, and lab work. In addition to written work, there is a TON of student talk and problem solving as a team.
Issues and Science is organized! The materials I need to deliver hands-on lessons are right there ready for me. The layout of the Teacher's Edition makes my planning more efficient. I can focus on incorporating my personality into each lesson, because I can trust that the content has been thoroughly researched and field tested in classrooms. Issues and Science is perfectly aligned with NGSS. In addition to the high quality content, the cross cutting concepts are clear and well placed. Looking for patterns not only helps kids with science, but also in their math confidence. Organizing and evaluating data is consistently practiced. My favorite part of the NGSS edition [of Issues and Science] is the emphasis on Science and Engineering Practices. My students love collecting data and then using the knowledge to design a solution to a relevant problem.
My district adopted SALI, the first edition of Issues and Science, in 2007. In using the NGSS edition, my biggest shift is that I can use more time and energy on deepening my understanding of content and adolescent brain research. Since using SEPUP middle school science programs I have become a more well rounded, energetic teacher.