K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12


Full Option Science System (FOSS) –

Elementary & Middle School

www.delta-education.com & www.fossweb.com


Evidence of Effectiveness:


According to educational research studies, hands-on and inquiry-based science programs are more effective than traditional lecture-based approaches still used in 80% of the nation’s classrooms.  Students exposed to inquiry-based programs perform better and demonstrate a more positive attitude toward science than those in a traditional, textbook-based classroom.  (Making the Case for Teaching Science Using a Hands-On, Inquiry-Based Approach, Bayer Corporation, 1999.) 


·         Shymansky et al. (1990) combined 81 research studies (a process called meta-analysis) contrasting the performance of students in hands-on, activity-based programs with that of students in traditional textbook-based classrooms.  Primary grade children exposed to hands-on instruction displayed a positive effect size of 1.4 standard deviations in science achievement.  Particularly noteworthy was the extra achievement gain demonstrated by the students of those teachers who had taken inservice training on the new curricula. 


·         Wise (1996) ran a similar study on middle and high school science education experiments.  He found 140 published comparisons between traditional teaching and alternative instruction (inquiry oriented approaches).  The inquiry instructional strategies average thirteen percentile points higher in achievement measures over traditional text and lecture modes of instruction. 


·         In a 1996 study of science achievement versus amount of hands-on experience in the classroom, Stohr-Hunt analyzed data collected from 24,599 eighth-grade students (1,052 schools).  She was looking for an answer to this question, “do students who engage in hands-on activities frequently, (defined as daily or once a week), score higher on tests of science achievement than those students who engage in hands-on activities infrequently…?”  She found that the frequency of hands-on experience was strongly related to science achievement and reported significantly higher achievement scores for students with more exposure to hands-on learning.  (Stohr-Hunt, 1996). 


Some anecdotal information suggests that FOSS may influence scores on standardized math tests.  Well-designed studies on this topic are just beginning.  One such study is presented below.


Dade County Florida


The study examined the 1996 Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) science test results of third and fifth grade students in Region III schools using the FOSS Science Kits in comparison to other Region III schools that did not use the kits.  The table below displays the 1996 SAT results for the two groups of students.  An examination of the table reveals that third and fifth grade students in schools using FOSS Science Kits outperformed other students in science.  In addition, FOSS students also achieved higher scores in Reading Comprehension, Mathematics Computation, and Mathematics Applications. 







Schools Using

FOSS Science Kits (n = 2,420)

Schools Not Using

FOSS Science Kits (n = 4,145)


Grade 3


Grade 5


Grade 3


Grade 5










































Franklin-Leach, L. S. (1992).  Hands-on Science Curriculum Helps Female Pupils.  Research study, Texas Tech, Lubbock, Texas.


73 female and 63 males in five fifth grade classes were involved in a 14-week study.  Treatment classes experienced FOSS modules.  Both the males and females in the treatment group scored significantly higher on a battery of assessment devices: CTBS, content achievement measures, problem solving tasks, and attitude measures.


Program Description:


FOSS is a carefully planned, flexible, and modular approach to science instruction and assessment for K-8 students.  Its modular design provides versatility so that it can be used in many difference school settings. 


FOSS Elementary Program


FOSS elementary modules are organized under four topic headings called strands: Life Science, Physical Science, Earth Science, and Scientific Reasoning and Technology.  There are five (5) modules for Kindergarten, six (6) modules for grades one and two, eight (8) modules for grades three and four, and eight modules for grades five and six, for a total of 27 modules.  Modules that span two grade levels provide flexibility for teachers and curriculum planners, making FOSS adaptable to just about every science framework, guide, or program.


NOTE:  FOSS has made changes to the program for grades 3 through 6:


1.       FOSS Science Stories:  New student books written to be an integral part of FOSS science modules for grades 3-6.  These books are designed to extend or reinforce the science concepts introduced in the classroom.  FOSS Science stories are designed to help strengthen the science, reading, and language arts connection. 


2.       Revised Teacher Guide:  Includes several new teacher resources, such as Science stories and website folios, to help extend the hands-on learning.


3.       New Assessments:  The new assessments, found in the Teacher Guide, help the teacher continually monitor student progress throughout each investigation and again at the end of the module.   Formative assessments are embedded in each part of the investigations, providing teachers with constant feedback.  Summative assessments provide a comprehensive, overall measure of the learning outcome at the end of the module.

4.       New Equipment Kits:  Repackaged to provide quick and easy access to the investigation materials. 


5.       New Teacher Videos:  FOSS Teacher Preparation Videos provide instructional support to save preparation time for teachers.  The video introduces the module and demonstrates how to set up the equipment for each investigation.  The new videos include more information on pedagogy and more footage of real classrooms using the FOSS modules. 


6.       The new FOSS website connects students, teachers, and parents with new resources.  Each module has an interactive site where students and families can exercise their science skills with instructional games and interactive simulations.  The site also provides links to other resources to explore subjects in greater depth. 


FOSS Middle School Program


FOSS for middle schools is a general science curriculum for students and their teachers in grades 6-8.  The curriculum is organized into topical courses that require 9 to 12 weeks to teach.  Three courses are offered under each of three strands:


Life Science


·         Diversity of Life

·         Human Brain and Senses

·         Populations and Ecosystems


Physical Science and Technology


·         Electronics

·         Chemistry

·         Force and Motion


Earth and Space Science


·         Planetary Science

·         Earth Science

·         Weather and Water


The FOSS program has set out to achieve two important goals.  These are:


·         Scientific Literacy:  To provide all students with science experiences that are appropriate to their cognitive stages of development, and to serve as a foundation for more advanced ideas that prepare them for life in an increasingly complex scientific and technological world.


·         Instructional Efficiency:  To provide all teachers with a complete, flexible, easy-to-use science program that reflects current research on learning and the latest instructional methodologies.


Correlation to Nevada State Standards


A correlation of the program to Nevada State Standards has been completed.  A copy may be received by contacting the program vendor.


Teacher Support:


Each elementary FOSS module has its own teacher guide, which consists of a module overview, a set of activity folios, duplication masters for the student sheets, assessments, FACT=s, and equipment inventory sheets.  For middle schools, the teacher guide includes science background, detailed lesson plans, assessments, and resource lists.


A teacher preparation video contained in each module is another Ateacher friendly@ component of the FOSS Program.  The video is an introduction to the module, and shows a FOSS staff person or experienced teacher demonstrating how to set up the equipment for each activity, in addition to brief excursions into real classrooms to see the FOSS module in use.


The cost factor incurred in purchasing the instructional modules entitles the purchasers to FOSS training.


Equipment Requirements:


Every module revolves around an equipment kit, each of which is designed to serve a class of up to 32 students at one time.  There is a minimum of everyday-type consumable materials; replacements can be ordered in packages or as line items.


In addition, for the middle school program, each equipment kits includes a multimedia CD-Rom, which may be used as an interactive instruction tool for use as a whole class demonstration tool, as well as individual or small group. A lab notebook is provided, which contain organizers and student sheets, which can be photocopied for flexible use. A resource book is provided, which contains images, data, and readings. 




·         Price of equipment kits range from $349.00 - $649.00

·        Shipping and handling is added to all orders (9%)


For Information Contact:


Delta Education

Dean Taylor, Regional Manager

8928 Carefree Avenue

Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Phone: (800) 338-5270 x180

Voice: (928) 527-8717


Current Location in Nevada:


Carson City School District                     

Utilized District-wide                               

Contact: James Parry, Superintendent       

Phone: (775) 885-6310


Clark County School District                   

Utilized District-wide                               

Contact: Linda Gregg                              

Phone: (702) 799-1997                            


Esmeralda County School District

Dyer Elementary

Dyer, NV 89010


Goldfield Elementary

Goldfield, NV 89013


Silver Peak Elementary

Silver Peak, NV 89047


Contact: Don Francom, Superintendent

Phone: (775) 485-6382


Eureka County School District

Crescent Valley Elementary

Crescent Valley, NV 89821

Contact: Andrea Trow, Principal

Phone: (775) 468-2101


Humboldt County School District

McDermitt Combined

P.O. Box 98

McDermitt, NV 89421

Contact:  John Moddrell

Phone:  (775) 532-8761


Lincoln County School District

Pioche Elementary

P.O. Box 30

Pioche, NV 89043

Contact:  Randal Allen

Phone:  (775) 962-5832


Nye County School District

Tonopah Elementary

P.O. Box 553

Tonopah, NV 89049

Contact:  Brent McBride

Phone:  (775) 482-6644


Washoe County School District

Booth Elementary

1450 Stewart Street

Reno, NV 89502

Contact:  Patricia Bernard

Phone:  (775) 333-5140


White Pine School District

Utilized at all K-6 schools since August 1995.

Contact: Mark Shellinger, Superintendent

Phone: (775) 289-4851