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FOSS Science Curriculum

FOSS Science Curriculum


For two years, our middle school science program has been partnering with Lawrence Hall of Science (Cal Berkeley) and their 

FOSS (Full Option Science Program) science curriculum.  FOSS is an internationally known science curriculum for K-8 that uses 

leading research and current best practices to develop science teaching kits.  We currently use their science curriculum in all of our 



They have selected St. Finn Barr middle school as a partner in their research and development of the next generation of middle school 



What this means for SFB:

We are collaborating on some amazing education research!  Our students are exposed to leading edge education research and the 

educators themselves (who, by the way, are top notch scientists).  


The team will return to SFB this fall as they work with our 8th grade class on the 2nd edition of the Chemical Interactions program.  


If you have any questions or would like more information, please reach out to our Science Director - Mrs. Christine Bertko 


1st Grade:

Students are exploring liquid, one of the states of matter.  They are exploring the properties of six different unknown fluids as 

they roll them in bottles down ramps.  This is a part of a first grade FOSS physics unit.


2nd Grade:

The second graders are in the middle of a geology unit on weathering and are investigating the focus question - 

What happens when rocks rub together?


Using magnifying lens, they examine an assortment of rocks, compare and contrast them and then rub them together to 

create sand.  


3rd Grade:

Students have been investigating seeds and are now engineering solutions to the focus question - 

How do seeds disperse away from the parent plant?  

After studying the variety of dispersal methods (examples: animals, wind water, projectile) the students are given the task of 

designing their own dispersal method.  Using a variety of materials, students construct the structure around the seed and test it 

outside with buckets of water, their own sweatshirts, wind and air.


4th Grade:

The focus question - How does energy transfer in a food web?, guides the students as they investigate energy systems on 

FOSSWeb.  The students research an ecosystem (for example, Mono Lake) and create food webs with the local organisms.


5th Grade:

Fifth graders are dissecting owl pellets and learning a bit of comparative anatomy as they analyze the diets of these raptors.  

Carefully removing feathers and fur from the pellets, the students comparing their findings with bone charts of birds, shrews, 

moles and voles to identify the owl's prey.  


Note:  The pellets are regurgitated remains of the undigested fur, feather and bones of owl prey. Because the owl does not 

have teeth, only a very powerful beak, they swallow large parts of these animals and later regurgitate the non-digestible parts 

of the animal.  These pellets are obtained from a biological supply house that packages and sterilizes them for research use.