At Our Lady of Guadalupe, our Science curriculum is provided by FOSS (Full Option Science System), a research-based science curriculum for grades K-8 developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley. FOSS has evolved from a philosophy of teaching and learning that has guided the development of successful active-learning science curricula for more than 40 years. The FOSS Program bridges research and practice by providing tools and strategies to engage students in enduring experiences that lead help every student not only to better understand science, but to also develop an ability to think scientifically. This core three-dimensional curriculum integrates active investigation and multisensory learning, an approach proven effective for all learners regardless of prior knowledge, language, or background.
Science is a creative and analytic enterprise, made active by our human capacity to think. Scientific knowledge advances when scientists observe phenomena, think about how they relate to what is known, test their ideas in logical ways, and generate explanations that integrate the new information into understanding of the natural and designed worlds. Engineers apply that understanding to solve real-world problems. Thus, the scientific enterprise is both what we know (content knowledge) and how we come to know it (science practices). Science is a discovery activity, a process for producing new knowledge.
The best way for students to appreciate the scientific enterprise, learn important scientific and engineering concepts, and develop the ability to think well is to actively participate in scientific practices through their own investigations and analyses. Thus, the OLG science curriculum is not a passive one. Instead, it challenges students to actively participate in the world around them and gather evidence to explain real-world phenomena. Lessons include investigation experiences that build an understanding of science and engineering concepts and practices. Concrete texts and background are used for further exploration of STEM concepts through reading, writing, integrated technology, and outdoor exploration. Students don’t simply ask “Why?” They ask “What’s next?”