Science Unit Overviews

Unit 2: Structures of Life
The Structures of Life Module consists of four sequential investigations dealing with observable characteristics of organisms. Students observe, compare, categorize, and care for a selection of organisms, and in so doing they learn to identify properties of plants and animals and to sort and group organisms on the basis of observable properties. Students investigate structures of the organisms and learn how some of the structures function in growth and survival.

FOSS EXPECTS STUDENTS TO

  • Develop an attitude of respect for life.
  • Gain experience with organisms, both plants and animals.
  • Observe and compare properties of seeds and fruits.
  • Investigate the effect of water on seeds.
  • Observe, describe, and record properties of germinated seeds.
  • Compare different kinds of germinated seeds.
  • Grow plants hydroponically and observe the life cycle of a bean plant.
  • Observe and record crayfish and land snail structures and behavior.
  • Use knowledge of crayfish and snail life requirements to maintain the organisms in the classroom.
  • Organize data about crayfish territorial behavior.
  • Develop responsibility for the care of organisms.
  • Exercise language, art, social studies, and math skills in the context of life science.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, and organizing.

Ways to Help at Home:
Since Christmas is not far away you might want to consider different books that fit with thi unit as gifts or even consider microscope kits too.

Unit 1:  Earth Materials and Science Notebooking
The Earth Materials Module consists of four sequential investigations dealing with observable characteristics of solid materials from the earth—rocks and minerals. The focus is on taking materials apart to find what they are made of and putting materials together to better understand their properties. The module introduces fundamental concepts in earth science and takes advantage of the students’ intrinsic interest in the subject matter and in the physical world around them.


FOSS EXPECTS STUDENTS TO

  • Develop an interest in earth materials.
  • Gain experiences with rocks and minerals.
  • Understand the process of taking apart and putting together to find out about materials.
  • Use measuring tools to gather data about rocks.
  • Collect and organize data about rocks.
  • Observe, describe, and record properties of minerals.
  • Organize minerals on the basis of the property of hardness.
  • Investigate the effect of vinegar (acid) on a specific mineral, calcite.
  • Use evaporation to investigate rock composition.
  • Learn that rocks are composed of minerals and that minerals cannot be physically separated into other materials.
  • Compare their activities to the work of a geologist.
  • Acquire vocabulary used in earth science.
  • Exercise language and math skills in the context of science.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, and organizing.

Science notebooks contain information about the students’ classroom experiences and are used much as scientists would, before, during, and after all investigations. They are a place where students formulate and record their questions, make predictions, record data, procedures, and results, compose reflections, and communicate findings. Most importantly, notebooks provide a place for students to record new concepts they have learned.