The FOSS Program has set out to achieve three important goals.
Scientific Literacy FOSS provides all students with science experiences that are appropriate to students’ cognitive development and prior experiences. It provides a foundation for more advanced understanding of core science ideas organized in thoughtfully designed learning progressions in order to prepare students for life in an increasingly complex scientific and technological world.
The FOSS Program design is based on learning progressions that provide students with opportunities to investigate core ideas in science in increasingly complex ways over time. The target goals for FOSS are to help students know and use scientific explanations of the natural world and the designed world; to understand the nature and development of scientific knowledge and technological capabilities; and to participate productively in scientific and engineering practices.
Instructional Efficiency FOSS provides all teachers with a complete, cohesive, flexible, easy-to-use science program that reflects current research on teaching and learning, including student discourse, argumentation, writing to learn, and reflective thinking, as well as teacher use of formative assessment to guide instruction. The FOSS Program uses effective instructional methodologies, including active learning, scientific practices, focus questions to guide inquiry, working in collaborative groups, multisensory strategies, integration of literacy, and making connections to students’ lives, including the outdoors.
Systemic Reform FOSS provides schools and school systems with a program that addresses the community science-achievement standards. The FOSS Program prepares students by helping them acquire the knowledge and thinking capacity appropriate for citizens of the world.
The FOSS Program design makes it appropriate for reform efforts on all scales. It reflects the core ideas to be incorporated into the next-generation science standards. It meets with the approval of science and technology companies working in collaboration with school systems, and it has demonstrated its effectiveness with diverse student and teacher populations in major urban reform efforts. The use of science notebooks and formative-assessment strategies in FOSS redefines the role of science in a school—the way that teachers engage in science teaching with one another as professionals and with students as learners, and the way that students engage in science learning with the teacher and with one another. FOSS takes students and teachers beyond the classroom walls to establish larger communities of learners.