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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.