Learning Progressions

Bridging Research Into Practice

The carefully designed sequence of experiences in FOSS buildsunderstanding of the core ideas of science. Each module or course is composed of multiple investigations. The modules or courses for each edition are truly connected and build upon one another across each strand and each grade, progressively moving students toward the big ideas of science. This learning progression is reflected in the recommended scope and sequence for each edition of the program.

FOSS Next Generation Elementary Module Sequences
  Physical Science Earth Science Life Science
  Matter Energy and
Rocks and
5 Mixtures and Solutions     Earth and Sun Living Systems
4   Energy   Soils, Rocks, and Landforms Environments
3 Motion and Matter Water and
  Structures of Life
2 Solids and Liquids     Pebbles, Sand,
and Silt
Insects and Plants
1   Sound and Light Air and Weather   Plants and
K Materials and Motion Trees and Weather   Animals Two by

Conceptual Flow by Investigation

FOSS investigations are so much more than a collection of labs bundled together and labeled "inquiry" as some other commercially available programs do. Each investigation has multiple parts that provide an intentional sequence of experiences. Teachers are provided with a conceptual flow diagram that details the discrete pieces of understanding that students will gain as they progress through each part.

This example conceptual flow diagram is from Investigation 1: Forces in the FOSS Next Generation Motion and Matter module for grade 3.

The conceptual flow for this investigation starts with an introduction to the force of magnetism. Students explore the interactions of magnets and find that magnets can interact in two different ways, depending on how the magnets are oriented—sometimes they attract, but if you flip one of the magnets over, they repel. Students also develop a model for how magnets work. They use their models to explain how magnets can interact at a distance (without touching), and how magnets can counteract gravity to make a paper clip float in air.

In Part 2, students focus on science practices, conducting an investigation to collect data to reveal a pattern and make a prediction. Students test the distance at which a paper clip snaps to a magnet, using one magnet and three magnets, then use the data to predict what will happen when two magnets are used.

In Part 3, students build on the concrete experiences of the force between magnets to think about other pushes and pulls that make things move or stay in one place. They continue thinking about balanced and unbalanced forces by pushing on chairs, and explaining why a book might stay in one place on a table when you put it there, rather than just falling to the ground. Students begin to describe forces, indicating their direction and relative strength.

FOSS Next Generation Motion & Matter Investigations Guide, page 81