Professor Larry Lowery (1932–2016)

Larry Malone, Co-Director of FOSS, Lawrence Hall of Science
March 02, 2017 | In Memoriam

With great sorrow the FOSS family announces the passing (Thursday, December 15, 2016) of Dr. Larry Lowery, the original principal investigator (PI) for the Full Option Science System project, funded by The National Science Foundation. In 1989, when Linda De Lucchi and I, co-founders of the FOSS program, were wrestling with the design and plan of action for our newly funded project, we approached Dr. Lowery to join the project to act as its PI and academic leader. At the time Larry was professor of Education in the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Education. At this time in his career he had already acted as PI for the Family Math and EQUALS programs at the Lawrence Hall of Science. His interest in cognitive science and learning theory and generous commitment of time made him an obvious candidate to assume the academic leadership of the fledging FOSS project. What many people outside the particular micro-industry of science curriculum development don't understand is that the work is a concentrated team effort. Curriculum development in practice is a long, continuous conversation about the multitude of variables that conspire to produce a coherent instructional product. Larry brought two elements to that conversation: the concept that the program we were attempting to develop required a serious and focused intellectual commitment on the part of both students and teachers, and evidence of learning (assessment) should be incorporated into the design of the instructional product. Larry inserted these two pivotal ideas into the DNA of the FOSS development team.

And even after retiring from the Graduate School of Education and as PI of the FOSS project in the late 1990s, Larry continued to represent the FOSS Program specifically, and effective science instruction generally in multitudes of invited addresses and presentations at professional organizations and educational institutions around the country and internationally (China, Japan, Czech Republic, Finland). We considered him our FOSS ambassador at-large, and he directly affected the practice of thousands of educators. We remain indebted to Larry for his legacy contribution to the development of the vision that continues to guide our ongoing success.

All those who knew Larry as science education guru, author of a small library of children's science books, amateur magic enthusiast (he was always ready with a deck of cards), or the tireless advocate for Big Little Books, recognized him for a his radiant smile and his readiness to play nice with others. I represent the entire FOSS staff, the extended FOSS family of consultants, and the entire Delta Education staff, when I acknowledge Larry as a thoughtful, inspirational colleague and most of all I will remember him fondly as a good friend. Rest in peace, my friend, job well done.

Larry's professional awards and recognitions bear testament to his remarkable influence. Among others, he received the 1975–76 Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California at Berkeley; the 1983 Outstanding Teacher Education Program from the California Council for the Education of Teachers; the 1992 Outstanding Science Educator of the Year from the Association for the Education of Teachers of Science; the Distinguished Career in Science Award from the National Science Teachers Association; and the Outstanding Teacher Education Program for Elementary Science award from the California State Department of Education.

Anyone wishing to recognize Larry's life and work is invited to make a contribution to the Lawrence Lowery Scholarship Program. Scholarship awardees (preservice science teachers) will be supported to attend the National Science Teachers Association National Conference staged each spring.

Below is a list of FOSS Newsletter articles written by Dr. Lowery throughout his tenure as PI of the FOSS project. These provide a snapshot of the extent and complexity of that ongoing conversation we had during the formative decade of the FOSS project. All of these articles are available online, via the Newsletter Archive (as PDFs) or via the FOSS Newsletter blog.

Dr. Lowery's FOSS Newsletter Articles

Photo #1 Photo #2 Photo #3 Photo #4 Photo #5

From top to bottom: 1) Dr. Lowery conducting an inservice workshop with teachers; 2) Dr. Lowery in an early FOSS Teacher Preparation Video; 3) Dr. Lowery in Japan with Larry and Linda (FOSS co-directors) and Japanese hosts; 4) Dr. Lowery with young Dylan at NSTA Convention; 5) Dr. Lowery with Alan Gould discussing issues of planetary science.