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FOSS Goes Local: State Specific Resources Now Available on FOSSweb

Karen Mendelow Nelson, FOSS Curriculum Specialist
March 10, 2014 | Technology

While you are together with your class investigating the activities in FOSS modules, students will often come up with "I wonder" questions. Of course, teachers wonder things too. What watershed are we in? What is this local tree? Are there composting resources for me as I begin this new schoolyard project? What field trip spots might be a great match for this module? Students begin to make connections and ask questions about what's happening in their local landscape, building upon module explorations, schoolyard experiences, or places that they have visited in their local community.

FOSS is proud to announce that we have collected some of the best online resources available so that you can inquire about your own regional environment during each FOSS module. These links are available on FOSSweb to help support and extend FOSS module content, scout field trip locations, bring outreach opportunities to your school, connect with experts, find local support, and explore outdoor or schoolyard resources.

FOSS supports the development of green schoolyards and enthusiasm for outdoor learning. We set a goal of doing the online research to support teachers by gathering resource links that relate to FOSS module core ideas. To access these resources on FOSSweb, you can either log in to your account, or visit as a guest by selecting your role, state, and applicable grade level(s). Find the module you are using and to go to the "Digital-Only Resources" section at the bottom of the page, then click "Regional Resources."

You can find links to things such as backyard wildlife; state wildlife including mammals, insects, trees and other plants; places to go on field trips; the best places to observe wildlife; local watersheds; astronomy; weather; geology maps; and much more. Outreach programs that visit school sites are also highlighted. Field trips opportunities to local science museums are available by searching the state within nationally based organization home sites. The majority of the resources are supporting the life and earth science modules, but they support physical and space science as well.

Local resource opportunities reflect and reinforce classroom content by engaging students in real world applications, with opportunities to engage in scientific practices such as communicating, writing, and presenting information. Students can take a bit more time to reflect on the connections they have made from classroom information to natural and human-created environments.

Use the FOSS regional online resources for social and hands-on projects. Groups of students may want to share local information about how their questions relate to the science concepts explored in FOSS or perhaps to extend content using data available through state resources, parks, water and natural resource agencies, and community groups.

So as you post your students' "I wonder" questions that come up in class in the "Parking Lot" for later study, encourage students to conduct further research or take a field trip. Let us know at FOSSweb how you make use of the online FOSSweb compendium of state resources. And if you have a resource to add to our database, send it to