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FOSS Introduction and Summary. Michael Bostwick STEM Curriculum Mentor GST BOCES. What is STEM?. The Empire State STEM Learning Network defines STEM as:

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Foss introduction and summary

FOSS Introductionand Summary

Michael Bostwick

STEM Curriculum Mentor


What is stem
What is STEM?

The Empire State STEM Learning Network defines STEM as:

“STEM education” refers to the teaching and learning of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics disciplines, in an integrated, innovative and applied fashion to a level of challenge sufficient for college and workforce readiness.

Why stem

  • 43% of 2010 U.S. high school graduates are ready for college-level math

  • 29% of 2010 U.S. high school students are ready for college-level science

  • 25th out of 30: The U.S. ranking in an international assessment of high school student performance in math


Why stem1

  • “By 2016 the 10 fastest growing occupations in New York State will require STEM Competencies.”


  • “Its time to restore science to its rightful place, and to wield technology’s wonders to meet the demands of a new age.”

    • President Barrack Obama

    • Source:

Inquiry based learning
Inquiry Based Learning

We need to move away from this:

And move more toward this:

Interdependence in the

21st Century

What is your experience
What is your experience?

  • I have very little knowledge about FOSS other than what I’ve heard around the district.

  • I understand the basics and/or have had the opportunity to discuss FOSS with classroom teachers.

  • I have a great understanding of the FOSS program due to extensive experience with FOSS integration and teacher collaboration.


  • FOSS is an acronym that stands for Full Option Science System

  • Created to engage students in exploration and the construction of their own meaning of the world around them.

  • This is a critical aspect of the FOSS Program

Goals of the foss program
Goals of the FOSS Program

  • Scientific Literacy

    • The need for citizens to have at least a foundational understanding of scientific concepts

  • Instructional Efficiency

    • Reflects current research and uses effective instructional methods

  • Systemic Reform

    • FOSS recognizes the need to produce 21st century thinkers with global understanding

Foss instructional pedagogies
FOSS Instructional Pedagogies

  • Inquiry

  • Hands-on Active Learning

  • Multisensory Methods

  • Student-to-Student Interaction

  • Discourse and Reflective Thinking

  • Reading and Research

Foss structure
FOSS Structure

  • FOSS breaks down the curriculum in the following ways:

General activity structure inquiry
General Activity Structure (Inquiry)

  • Engage the students

  • Pose a challenge or question

  • Allow students to explore and construct meaning

  • Discuss findings and explain content

  • Allow for further exploration (if needed)

  • Wrap up with word bank, important science concepts, and further inquiries.

Helpful tips
Helpful Tips

  • Remember to let the student do the work

  • Allow students to create their own understanding of the concept

  • Encourage students to put their learning into words (discourse)

  • Questioning students is helpful in guided learning

  • Try to question students in an open-ended fashion rather than leading them to a yes or no answer

  • Authentic learning takes time and patience – but it’s well worth the investment!

How do you envision integration
How do you envision integration?

  • Take a minute to jot down some ideas that are specific to your area of teaching

Ideas for supporting foss
Ideas for Supporting FOSS

  • In general:

  • Ask a lot of probing questions to promote critical thinking.

  • Require students to use scientific skills: predictions, observations, analysis, classification, inferencing, identifying variables, drawing conclusions

  • What is the evidence that supports your claim?

  • Make students defend their choices such as use of color, sound, choice of book, or physical activity.

  • Finding connections to science whenever possible.

  • Lead instruction/activities with focus questions?


  • Module: Balance and Motion

    • Investigation 1: Balance

      • Part 3:The Pencil Trick

  • Teacher must facilitate and guide the activity rather than “teach the lesson.”

  • Move from a teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered classroom.