9-12 Active Series

Reviewer's Guide

Doug Slatten

HS Manager at Activate

I believe project-based learning is the best way engage students in high school science. One major shift in three-dimensional learning is making science not just about facts. Students learn to connect what they learn to important things in the world. In Activate Learning's high school Active Series, phenomena are the starting point. Students start by engaging with phenomena at the beginning of the chapter, then explore through hands-on investigation and learn to explain them. Students continue to return to the phenomena and apply their understanding to a real-world problem (the Chapter Challenge).

See The Active Series On The Activate Learning Digital Platform

Navigate The Active Series:

Our LMS Integration:

Unit Design

The Chapter Challenge:

Project-based learning is essential to the design and approach of Active Physics. Each unit is anchored by a Chapter Challenge — inventing a safety device for a vehicle, production a sound and light show, or creating a sport to be played on the moon. The Chapter Challenge is the foundation of the “what,” ”how” and “why” of the instructional design, and engages students in an active role in practicing and demonstrating their learning in science and engineering. This approach has all the advantages of project-based learning.

The Chapter Challenge Ties It All Together:

  • Ties phenomena back to a real- world problem
  • Driving Questions
  • Storylines
  • Three dimensional learning
  • Engineering Design Cycle
  • Links science and engineering to the local community

Active Physics Student Project:

Examples of the Chapter Challenge

Active Physics Chapter 1: Driving the Roads

Active Chemistry Chapter 1: Movie Special Effects

EarthComm Chapter 1: Plate Tectonics

Lesson Design

Lessons are designed with an expanded 5E model of the learning cycle (Expanding the 5E Model, Eisenkraft). This means that teachers use phenomena to engage students and elicit prior knowledge. Students explore phenomena with hands-on investigation, learning to make careful observations and design experimental procedures. Teachers help students explain what they’ve observed through discourse and modeling, and they elaborate and extend their understanding by applying it to real- world problems in the Chapter Challenge.

Examples of the phases of the 7E Instructional Model, Active Physics Teacher’s Edition, page xxxv

Instructional Design Explained

Active Physics Teacher’s Edition, page xxxiv

Active Chemistry Teacher’s Edition, page xxxiv

EarthComm Teacher’s Edition, page xii

Example Lessons

Active Physics Chapter 1, Section 1 Reaction Time: Responding to Road Hazards
Active Chemistry Chapter 1, Section 1 Elements and Compounds
EarthComm Chapter 1, Section 1 Where are the Volcanoes and Earthquakes?

Meeting Needs Of All Learners

Accommodations & Augmentations: Differentiated Instruction & ELL Support

Every section of every chapter in the Activate Learning program is accompanied by an extensive review of accommodation and augmentation strategies and ELL support.

Examples from the Teacher’s Edition

Active Physics Chapter 1, Section 1: Reaction Time: Responding to Road Hazards

Active Chemistry Chapter 1, Section 1: Elements and Compounds 

EarthComm Chapter 1, Section 1: Where are the Volcanoes and Earthquakes?

Equity and engagement

Through the Chapter Challenge, the Activate Learning program honors the diversity of students by allowing them to creatively bring their culture into the classroom in the context of real-world examples, for example, through sports, entertainment, and habitats. Students are welcomed and encouraged to bring their real selves and their real interests into the world of science and engineering.

Cooperative Learning

EarthComm Teacher’s Edition, page xxv

Implement The Active Series In Your Community


The entire Activate Learning program is modular, meaning that while each chapter is a tightly integrated bundle, chapters can be taught in any sequence that makes sense in your context. With the ability to print individual chapter modules, Activate Learning can even support sequences that draw from different courses. For example, you can integrate Active Chemistry and Active Physics. An example of such a scope and sequence is the Active Physical Science program.


Some districts have taken customization a step further, adapting the Chapter Challenge to their local context. Think of local partners who might be interested in cooperating with students on real-world problems similar to the Chapter Challenge.


For adoptions in 2021, schools will be able to use PocketLabs devices with our HS programs, giving students a whole new way to analyze, share, and compare data. PocketLabs can connect to any device using while using the Activate Learning Digital platform.


We make hands-on learning easy with materials in lesson bags, materials lists, and lab setup videos.


Active Series teachers get ongoing support from a curriculum specialist, tech support from our tech team, and invitations to Activate's ongoing webinar series.

Thanks For Reviewing Our Active Series

For more information email us at info@activatelearning.com.