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Middle School Grade Level (6-8)

Tasks for the middle school grade levels have two components.

  1. Phase I, Learning Experiences, is a suggested series of TEKS-based lessons and performances to be used in large groups, in small groups, and/or individually. Phase I allows students to work with advanced content and processes through a discipline-based research model. Phase I is developmental and formative.
  2. In Phase II, Independent Research, students utilize and extend their learning from Phase I to develop a product. The product provides students with opportunities to synthesize learning, apply knowledge to a novel situation, and provide an advanced, high-quality demonstration of the student’s knowledge and skills.

In order for students to have the necessary support to complete their projects, users are encouraged to support student completion of the learning experiences and independent research as described in each of the task descriptions. Two or more students may collaborate in Phase I and/or Phase II. When there is collaboration, each student’s individual learning must be documented.

7E Model

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is redesigning the TPSP tasks to reflect a 7E framework. Currently, approximately half of the TPSP tasks have been restructured to reflect a 7E instructional framework. These tasks have been included on this website for download via the link that appears just below the original TPSP task download button.

The 7E model is an extension of the original 5E model developed by a team of educators at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study to maximize student engagement in learning. The seven “Es” of the model are as follows:

  • Elicit—Access and ascertain prior knowledge and understanding
    • Teacher can frame “What do you think?” questions.
  • Engage—Generate enthusiasm and stimulate interest and thinking
    • Teacher can surprise students, get students thinking, or raise questions through compelling demonstrations or presentations.
  • Explore—Provide opportunities to observe, record data, design experiments, interpret results, organize findings
    • Teacher can frame questions, suggest approaches, provide feedback, and assess understanding.
  • Explain—Introduce models, laws, and theories
    • Teacher can guide students toward generalizations and provide terminology and questions that help students explain their explorations.
  • Elaborate—Provide opportunities to apply knowledge to new domains
    • Teacher can introduce new variables and pose new questions/scenarios in which students practice transfer of knowledge.
  • Evaluate—Provide formative and summative assessment opportunities, including self-reflection
    • Teacher can conduct ongoing assessment of student learning through all phases.
  • Extend—Provide additional challenges that allow students to apply knowledge
    • Teachers can provide new contexts for application of knowledge that allow students to go one step further.1

For those TPSP tasks adapted to the 7E format, Phase I Learning Experiences provide suggested activities aligned with Elicit, Engage, Explore, and Explain. Phase II Research Process provides suggested activities to Elaborate, Explain, Evaluate, and Extend. While 7E tasks will always begin with Elicit and Engage and end with Evaluate and Extend, the sequence of Explore, Explain, and Elaborate can vary, often with recurrences of Explore and Explain throughout the task.

1For more information on the 7E model, see Eisencraft, A. (2003). Expanding the 5E model. The Science Teacher, 70(6), pp. 56–59. Retrieved from


[+] Expand All Task Descriptions

Culture Shock

Grade 6

Grade 6 Social Studies Task: Culture Shock

In this task, students explore a different country. Students become familiar with the culture, geography, and landmarks that are significant in that country. Read More

Download Task: Culture Shock Download Task (PDF) Download 7E Version of Task (PDF)

Tell a Tale of a Trail

Grade 7

Grade 7 Social Studies Task: Tell a Tale of a Trail

Students will choose a Texas historical trail and research the physical and historical impacts of the trail. Read More

Download Task: Tell a Tale of a Trail Download Task (PDF) Download 7E Version of Task (PDF)

Figure It Out!

Grade 8

Grade 8 Mathematics Task: Figure It Out!

This task allows students to explore the uses of statistics in everyday life and to develop survey research skills. Read More

Download Task: Figure It Out! Download Task (PDF) Download 7E Version of Task (PDF)

Analyzing Awesome Authors

Grade 8

Grade 8 English Language Arts and Reading Task: Analyzing Awesome Authors

In this task, students study an author and his/her influences, motivations, and experiences. Read More

Download Task: Analyzing Awesome Authors Download Task (PDF) Download 7E Version of Task (PDF)

Challenging the System

Grade 8

Grade 8 Science Task: Challenging the System

This task allows students to explore living and non-living systems and the roles those systems play in the environment and society. Read More

Download Task: Challenging the System Download Task (PDF) Download 7E Version of Task (PDF)

Time Travel

Grade 8

Grade 8 English Language Arts and Reading Task: Time Travel

This task allows students to explore an historical event through a piece of literature. Read More

Download Task: Time Travel Download Task (PDF) Download 7E Version of Task (PDF)

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