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Teachers study FOSS Science in summer school
On a beautiful summer day, most of the Cherry Creek School District’s 3,600 teachers had begun their summer break. But, Rebecca Buell, second grade teacher from Fox Hollow Elementary, was earning extra credit in science.
Buell was one of about 500 elementary school teachers who extended their school year to learn how to teach FOSS (Full Option Science System), which integrates science with reading, writing and math.
“It’ll really feel like science to the kids,” Buell said. “Instead of just reading and doing one experiment, everything about this is ‘doing’.”
FOSS began as a pilot program at Polton and Ponderosa Elementary schools last year and preliminary results saw large jumps in achievement and positive changes in the way teachers approached science instruction. The program engages students with hands-on instruction resulting in multi-sensory learning, reflective thinking, and how to work together.
“Kids are so concrete when it comes to science,” Amy Jaynes, second grade teacher from Cherry Hills Village Elementary, said. “This teaches them to be good thinkers and levels the playing field for all kinds of learners.”
Other learning outcomes include:
 Analyze and interpret a variety of data …
 Develop and communicate an evidence based scientific explanation …
 Evaluate reasoning and conclusions …
 Gather, analyze, and interpret data …
 Share evidence-based conclusions and an understanding …
 Use a variety of media to collect and analyze data …
 Use evidence to develop a scientific explanation …
When school resumes in August, students in kindergarten through 5th grade will begin with the study of Physical Science. By the 2013-2014 school year, the program will expand to include Earth and Life sciences.  The district will continue to use current curriculum while FOSS is phased in.
The implementation of FOSS is part of the district’s goal to implement a rigorous and focused program of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in every school by 2012-13 in conjunction with the opening of the Institute of Science and Technology at the Overland/Prairie campus in August.
The program also aligns with the new state science content standards which determine what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.
Posted 6/28/2011 1:10 PM
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