Science Units

Science Units prepare students to meet 21st century standards and workforce expectations. Students are apprenticed to read, write, think, talk, inquire, and reason like scientists as they develop their understanding of the unit’s driving concepts and enhance their literacy proficiency.

All units follow the same three-part structure:

  1. First, students engage in an activation task to uncover their preconceptions about the unit's driving concepts.
  2. Next, students engage in a series of concept development lessons to advance their understanding of the unit's driving concepts. Students read, write, talk, and analyze data. Where appropriate, students engage in laboratories to further conceptual development and to build laboratory skills.
  3. Lastly, students engage in an application lesson in which they apply what they learned to new and real-world settings.
  4. Science Units are designed to be educative for teachers as they shift their teaching to help students meet the challenges of new standards. Science Units include:

    • activities, readings, and laboratory experiences for students to analyze data and develop conceptual understanding;
    • questions and reflection points to foster rich student interactions;
    • guidance on how to differentiate tasks for the variety of learners in today's classrooms;
    • assistance on how to help students engage in the intellectual struggle of learning;
    • opportunities for students to reflect on and monitor their own learning;
    • conceptual stories that provide "look for" points for teachers and administrators; and
    • formative and summative assessments.

    We offer professional development to support teachers and other educators to use and learn from Science Units.

    Matter and Energy in Organisms Purchasable Online

    Grade Level
    6-8

    The overarching concept of this unit is: Organisms obtain matter and energy through photosynthesis and/or consumption. All organisms use matter and energy to live and grow. Students develop their understanding of the overarching concept through five concept-development lessons. In each lesson, students engage in activities designed to develop their understanding of one key idea related to the overarching concept. Students first focus on how plants obtain the matter and energy they need to live and grow, what plants do with the sugars they create, and how plants break down the sugars for energy in plant cells. Then students shift their focus to how animals obtain the matter and energy they need as well as how sugars are broken down to provide energy for animal cells. Throughout the unit, students read, write, and engage in discussions to develop their understanding of matter and energy in organisms. Students consider both photosynthesis and cellular respiration. The unit culminates in a performance task in which students develop a written argument to support the unit's overarching concept. Approximately 23 days of instruction.

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    Matter and Energy in Ecosystems Purchasable Online

    Grade Level
    6-8

    The overarching concept of this unit is: Matter cycles and energy transfers among living and non-living components of a dynamic ecosystem. Students develop their understanding of the overarching concept through five concept-development lessons. In each lesson, students engage in activities designed to develop their understanding of one key idea related to the overarching concept. Students first focus on developing an understanding of ecosystems, and how matter and energy transfer among living and non-living parts of an ecosystem. Then students shift their focus to how carbon is cycled through a system, how energy is transformed across the ecosystem, and the potential impacts of changes within a system. Throughout the unit, students read, write about, and discuss how matter and energy move through an ecosystem. As an optional activity, students construct a mini-ecosystem. The unit culminates in a performance task in which students develop a written argument to support the unit's overarching concept. This unit builds on students' learning from the middle school Matter and Energy in Organisms unit described above. Approximately 29 days of instruction.

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    Matter and Energy in Organisms Free Download

    Grade Level
    HS Biology

    The overarching concept of this unit is: All organisms require the input of matter and energy. Organisms transform the matter and energy into forms unable by cellular processes to grow and develop. Students develop their understanding of the overarching concept through four concept-development lessons. In each lesson, students engage in activities designed to develop their understanding of one key idea related to the overarching concept. Students read texts, write, engage in labs, and engage in discussions with their peers to discuss how matter and energy are transformed into forms useable by cellular processes with and without oxygen. Students first focus on developing an understanding of photosynthesis by concentrating on matter and then energy. Then students shift their focus to cellular respiration and how matter and energy are transformed into forms useable by cellular processes with and without oxygen. The unit culminates in a performance task in which students develop a written argument to support the unit's overarching concept. Approximately 21 days of instruction.

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    Matter and Its Interactions: Predicting Properties and Reaction Outcomes Purchasable Online

    Grade Level
    HS Chemistry

    The overarching concept of this unit is: The structure and interactions of matter at the bulk scale are determined by electrical forces within and between atoms. Students develop their understanding of the overarching concept through three concept-development lessons. In each lesson, students engage in activities designed to develop their understanding of one key idea related to the overarching concept. Students read texts, write, engage in labs, and engage in discussions with their peers to discuss the structure and interactions of matter. Students first focus on developing an understanding of the structure of matter and how the structure of matter determines how it interacts with other matter. Then students shift their focus to using the structure of matter to predict interactions. The unit culminates in a performance task in which students develop a written argument to support the unit’s overarching concept. Approximately 20 days of instruction.

    Purchase this teacher manual for $119.00