Draft Curriculum in Development
This material is being developed in partnership with teachers and students in New York City, San Francisco, and Cape Cod... THANK YOU!
Please also check out SERP's 18 published SciGen units currently available!
All organisms, whether single celled or multicellular, need to cope with certain fundamental challenges. A story about self-replicating robots, a comic about yeast cells in bread dough, and an activity with live yeast cells producing carbon dioxide gas introduce students to life at its most basic level: the cell.
Friends discuss the benefits of teamwork vs. individual performance in different sports. This team metaphor kicks off a unit on multicellularity. A brief look at cell specialization, and at the hierarchical organization of cells into tissues, organs, organ systems, and organisms introduces students to the human body as an amazing cooperative community of trillions of cells.
Student Activities — previous beta version (2016)
A group of friends discover that the booth they set up serves as a good metaphor for a cell model. Students explore the form and function of different kinds of cells through interactive activities and a quick lesson in drawing, which they use to record what they see under a microscope.
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The Great Rift Valley in east Africa is home to many saltwater lakes and also the famously pink Lesser Flamingo. But there is now only one lake, Lake Natron in Tanzania, that is a suitable breeding ground for this species. In this unit, students explore the difficult choices communities face as they decide whether to build a factory at Lake Natron. A similar factory was built years ago at nearby Lake Magadi in Kenya and students learn about the effect it had on the flamingos at that salt lake.
Three friends who head to the beach to watch a friend surf start discussing waves and come to realize that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye with waves! This unit introduces basic waves properties and helps students learn to distinguish between the many types of waves they encounter daily. Students explore how the energy of a wave can travel through a medium, and also learn that certain waves (EM, or electromagnetic) don't need a medium to travel!
From a friendly disagreement over which is more dense, a slice of cake or a brownie square, this unit orients students to the the property of density. Calculations of density are included with examples using regular shapes that are relatively easy to measure, but also irregular shapes that can be measured using displacement. The story of Archimedes' "Eureka!" moment in the bathtub is featured in the unit. By using displacements and calculations students determine the purity of a clay-type substance that may have been "contaminated" with a similar looking dough-like substance.