FOSS incorporates Universal Design for Learning (UDL) research-based approaches and strategies in the instructional design to ensure each and every student has access to science and engineering learning experiences. It’s important to review and support these guiding principles:
All students come to school with language and a wealth of knowledge and experiences that can be tapped into to enrich the learning experience for everyone.
All students benefit from actively investigating scientific phenomena and engaging in the engineering design process.
All students are capable of constructing meaning through collaborative social interactions.
Refer to the Access and Equity Chapter for a discussion on the ways FOSS inherently engages all students—collaborative structures, multiple representation of ideas and ways to express understanding, and active learning both inside and outside the classroom. The chapter also identifies specific strategies for supporting vulnerable student populations who may be struggling in science. Districts have also found that engaging teachers and staff in professional learning around culturally relevant pedagogy supports a positive learning environment for everyone.
Use the planning guide about meeting the needs of all students is essential. Use the Access and Equity Chapter as a starting point for teachers to plan for differentiation. The Science-Centered Language Development Chapter also provides approaches and strategies for specifically addressing the needs of English Language Development learners. Many schools are now using FOSS as the core of their English Language development program. Language development happens most effectively when students are engaged and motivated to learn. The science and engineering practices are language intensive and provide both challenges and opportunities for language development. ELD standards provide ways for teachers to accelerate student learning in science, literacy, and language acquisition. For ways to support teachers in crafting science language objectives and science lessons that address your state’s ELD standards, refer to the Planning Guide and Other State Resources tab on FOSSweb.
As an administrator, it’s important to listen to the concerns of teachers, families, and students and to work towards providing holistic solutions that take into account and validate the culture and language of every student, and the belief that all students can learn and engage in meaningful science investigations and engineering design challenges.