Structures Of Life – Module Notes and Updates

Module Teaching Notes
Alternative Hydroponic Planter
Make an alternative hydroponic planter. Cut a 2-liter bottle in half. Cut a flat piece of plastic foam (such as a meat tray) to float in the bottle. Cut slits in the foam for the seedlings.
Guidelines for Printing Focus Questions on Labels
Because not all printers are the same, here are instructions on adjusting column margins to get the focus questions to print correctly on labels.
Interactive eBooks on iPad Browsers
In order to have all the links work in the interactive eBooks in the Next Generation K-5 modules in a browser on an iPad, you need to allow pop-ups in the browser.
  • To allow pop-ups on Safari, go to the "Settings" app on the iPad. Locate the Safari settings. Under the General section of the Safari settings, make sure "Block Pop-ups" is off.
  • For other browsers on the iPad, go to "Settings" within the browser, located under the menu in the left corner of the browser. For Chrome, the pop-up blocker settings are under "Content Settings." For Firefox, the settings are under the Settings main window.
  • As an alternative, you can download and use the FOSS eBooks app on an iPad. This page provides more information on obtaining the app.

Owl Pellets

Owl pellets are not included in the module.

You can obtain pellets from Delta Education or from most science supply houses or companies that specialize in owl pellets.

Science Notebook Index Templates
Below are downloadable PDFs of science notebook index templates that can be printed for students to insert into their notebooks. Consider how much room your students will need to write when selecting a template.

Four-page index template. This index has 6 to 8 letters per page. Works well for grades K-2.
Two-page index template. This index has 12 to 14 letter per page. Works well for grades 3-8.
One-page index template. This index has all the letters on one page. Works well for grades 3-8.

For more information on using these index sheets with notebooks, see page 10 of the FOSS Science Notebooks in Grades K-2, page 9 of the FOSS Science Notebooks in Grades 3-6, or page 11 of the FOSS Science Notebooks in Middle School.
Seed Sprouter Tips
If you're having any problems with seeds sprouting, you may want to try these tips.
  1. It is very important to make sure the seed sprouter is clean before using it. A few drops of bleach in the cleaning water will clean off the unwanted materials.
  2. The water used in the seed sprouter must be prepared with the recipe in the FOSS Investigations Guide. Also, the water should be poured over the sprouter as scheduled according to the directions in the Investigations Guide.
  3. Remove any moldy seeds immediately and use the bleach water as directed at that time.
  4. Friday afternoon care is important if the sprouter is to go over a weekend.
Year-long Planning in FOSS

Planning for science instruction may require more thought than for other core subjects as you must take into account considerations that other subject areas do not have such as: materials (and prepping those materials), outdoor considerations, weather, and long-term investigations to name a few.

FOSS has provided some helpful information as you plan for teaching science throughout the year. For general information, please refer to the “Year-long Planning” page on FOSSweb.

For more specific information for your grade level, please refer to the “Teaching FOSS Throughout the Year” document.

Important Module Updates
Alternative Investigation to Meet the Crayfish (Investigation 3)
For those teachers who cannot conduct Investigation 3, “Meet the Crayfish,” with crayfish because you live in a location where you cannot obtain crayfish, or because of severe shellfish allergies in the classroom, we offer the alternative investigation, “Meet the Hissing Cockroach.” Your students’ experiences with these organisms will be just as rich as if they were investigating crayfish. Resources are available in the following locations:
  • Resources by Investigation: individual notebook sheets, teacher masters, assessment masters and multimedia/video links in in the Resources by Investigation under Investigation 3 (Alternative): Meet the Hissing Cockroach.
  • Resources by Type:
    • the full set of notebook sheets and teacher masters for all Structures of Life investigations with the alternative Investigation 3 notebook sheets and teachers masters in place of the original Investigation 3 resources are available in Teacher Resources alongside the original sets.
    • the full text of the investigation is available in the PDF-based Investigations Guide.
    • the full text of the investigation is available as a printable PDF on the Planning Guide and Other State Resources page for states who cannot obtain crayfish.
    • a video on crayfish is available in Streaming Videos for students who wish to learn about this organism.
Assessments have not been altered from the original as the science content between the original and alternative investigations is the same.
Coding Guide Updates for 2021-2022 School Year
The FOSS developers update assessment coding guides every summer to correct errata. Teachers should download the assessment masters and coding guide each school year to make sure they have the must current versions.
Investigations 1 and 2 for Students with Legume Allergies

For students with legume allergies, we recommend the following substitutions for the legumes uses in Investigations 1 and 2.

Seed Search in Investigation 1, Part 1: Substitute the bean pods with some seasonal produce that is small, can be easily opened, and can be shared (and eaten) by pairs of students and added to the tally to the make the line plot. Some suggestions could be:

  • big grapes with seeds
  • small tangerines with seeds
  • small apples with seeds

Seed sprouting and hydroponic growing (Inv. 2): For the seed sprouting investigation, we recommend substituting the bean and pea seeds with radish and bush cucumber seeds. Once the seeds have sprouted, you would use the cucumber sprouts in the hydroponic investigation.