How FOSS Works

Header image featuring the FOSS logo in front of a close-up of some leaves in the left half of the image and two students in a classroom on the right

More than a Program, It's a Philosophy.

AAP Revere Awards 2016 Finalist

YouTube video: FOSS Next Generation on

The Full Option Science System™ (FOSS) philosophy is to engage students in science through active learning. Whether you want to generally embrace the vision of A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012) or follow more closely the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with the integration of the Common Core State Standards in ELA and Math, there's a FOSS edition that will support your goals. Each edition shares the same research-based strategies that the FOSS developers at the Lawrence Hall of Science have been refining for more than 25 years.

Every FOSS investigation follows a similar design to provide multiple exposures to science concepts. The design includes these pedagogies:

  • Active investigation, including outdoor experiences
  • Recording in science notebooks to answer the focus question
  • Reading in FOSS Science Resources
  • Assessment to monitor progress and motivate student reflection on learning

In practice, these components are seamlessly integrated into a continuum designed to maximize every student's opportunity to learn. An instructional sequence may move from one pedagogy to another and back again to ensure adequate coverage of a concept.

FOSS for Elementary Schools

FOSS Next Generation Logo

FOSS Next Generation, Grades K–5

This latest edition of FOSS was developed to meet the requirements of the Next Generation Science Standards. This edition offers three modules at each grade level, with specific offerings at each grade. The edition makes more 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. Combined with robust literacy strategies and the latest in learning technologies, FOSS Next Generation is the K–5 program for those wanting to improve the teaching and learning of science by following the NGSS.

FOSS for Middle Schools

FOSS: Full Option Science System logo

FOSS Middle School, Grades 6–8

With FOSS Middle School, students learn science by doing science. They develop a deep, durable understanding of science concepts and principles through authentic investigations, analysis, and reflection. FOSS also promotes excellence in teaching. Teachers receive thorough instructional support, with comprehensive teacher materials that include science content, detailed lesson plans, and tips on material preparations and investigation set-up. The nine FOSS Middle School courses form a three-year science curriculum, three topics a year; or individual 9–12-week courses can be integrated into an existing program.

Previous Editions

Looking for previous editions of the FOSS program? Purchase program components and download resources at the links below.