Features of the FOSS program
There are a number of features that distinguish the FOSS program. These include:
- Research-based and nationally field-tested. FOSS was developed through a rich collaboration of scientists, educational researchers, curriculum developers, assessment specialists, teachers, administrators, community members, and parents. FOSS combines proven teaching strategies with field-tested materials to promote scientific literacy and student achievement.
- Classroom-tested. FOSS is the result of academic research on learning interwoven with practical experiences in classrooms. FOSS helps all educators teach and manage inquiry-based science. The carefully designed instructional sequences and thoroughly tested equipment provide support for teachers with different experience levels in science.
- Students learn science by doing science. FOSS engages students in inquiry. Students construct an understanding of science concepts through their own investigations and analyses, using laboratory equipment, student readings, and interactive technology. Students exercise logical thinking and decision-making skills appropriate to their age level.
- Integrated reading, writing, and mathematics. FOSS helps develop basic skills within the context of learning science through student readings, science journals, student projects, and the use of mathematics to quantify and communicate results of investigations and experiments.
- Assessment system. The FOSS assessment system uses a number of formative and summative strategies to help teachers and students monitor their progress and measure their ability to apply the concepts they have learned. The system includes teacher observations, student sheets, response sheets, student self-assessments, and end-of-module and summative exams. The FOSS assessment system is an ongoing research project at Lawrence Hall of Science.
Interactive technology. FOSS developers, working with a multimedia design team, have developed a series of interactive activities on CD-ROM and on-line for use by students K–8 at home and at school. The interactive technology is an essential component of the middle school courses.
- Program support. Teachers of FOSS receive comprehensive teacher guides, teacher preparation videos, resources on CD-ROM and on-line, a national consultant network, and the FOSS Newsletter. The original developers of FOSS are available through the FOSS Project at Lawrence Hall of Science to support educators and to extend the national consultant network for ongoing professional development. LHS works closely with Delta Education, the FOSS publisher, to maintain high-quality materials and support.
The development of FOSS has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the University of California at Berkeley, and Delta Education, the FOSS publisher/partner.