The FOSS K–8 program was developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley, under four separate National Science Foundation grants (1988 1991, 1996, 2004). The program was originally developed and trial tested in urban and suburban San Francisco Bay Area school districts and field-tested and implemented nationally in ten sites. Twenty-six modules were developed for K-6, and nine courses for middle school. The FOSS K-6 program went through a major revision in 2000 and was then adopted in Texas. The program went through a minor revision in 2005. A California-specific edition (K-5) was adopted in 2007.
The latest elementary edition (Next Generation) consists of 18 modules developed to meet the requirements of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The FOSS Next Generation edition makes explicit to teachers and students the connections to science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, disciplinary core ideas, and Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Math.
The FOSS program was developed in an atmosphere of urgent need for systemic reform of science education and represents the best interpretation of what a contemporary science program should provide for elementary students. FOSS provides a general exposure to many aspects of the natural world in ways that are cognitively appropriate for children and in an environment that encourages creative and complex thinking in a dynamic social structure.