FOSS® at HOme

FOSS at Home
FOSS® at Home
The FOSS (Full Option Science System™) program offers a number
of ways to get parents involved in their child’s science education.
Included here are short descriptions of several ways to bridge from
classroom to home.
Letter to Parents. The letter to parents can be sent home at the start
of a new science module. The letter describes what children will
be learning and ways that parents can enrich the science-learning
FOSS Science Stories. FOSS Science Stories is a series of original books
developed to accompany and enrich the FOSS modules. The books
include a variety of articles written in a number of styles, including
narrative tales, expository articles, technical readings, and historical
Here are some suggestions for using FOSS Science Stories at home.
Cut here and paste onto school letterhead before making copies.
Dear Parents,
Human beings make their homes at the surface of the
planet we know as Earth. The shapes that decorate Earth’s
surface include a variety of landforms, including mountains
and valleys, canyons and ridges, volcanoes, basins, hills,
sand dunes, and moraines. Each landform is the result of
one or more processes that create and change Earth’s
In the FOSS Landforms Module students begin to look
at ways to represent the features of Earth’s surface at smaller
scales. First, they work in three dimensions by creating
desktop models of their schoolyard. They learn to transfer
the features in their models to a two-dimensional map.
Along the way, they learn that symbols can represent
landforms, structures, and other features of an area.
They continue their study of the landforms by
investigating the effects of water running over Earth’s surface. The Grand Canyon is the focus of
their investigations as they set up a model plateau in a stream table. As they observe the effects
of water running over solid earth materials, they learn new landforms and vocabulary, including
canyons, deltas, erosion, and deposition. They design and set up investigations to study how
changes made by people affect the processes of erosion, deposition, and stream flow.
You can extend your child’s experiences in the classroom in a number of ways. Take trips to
nearby parks that feature landforms common to your region. Watch the erosion and deposition
that take place during and after a rainstorm. Visit your local library and check out books that
include information about the local landscape. Have your child help you plan the route and
destination for your next family vacation, keeping in mind the interesting and unusual landforms
you could encounter along the road.
Watch for Home/School Connection sheets that I will be sending home from time to time. On
them you will find suggestions for activities you can do at home with the whole family to extend
and enrich the investigations we will be undertaking in our classroom. If you have any questions
or comments, call or come in and visit our class.
We’re looking forward to weeks of exciting investigations into the features of Earth’s
FOSS Landforms Module
© The Regents of the University of California
Can be duplicated for classroom or workshop use.
Investigation 1: Schoolyard Models
No. 1—Teacher Sheet
No. 1—Teacher Sheet
• Expository and Historical/Biographical Readings. The
expository and historical/biographical readings provide
excellent opportunities for students and parents to discuss
the science content students are learning in the module.
Specific articles include Maps and How They Are Made, Shapes
of the Earth, and The Story of Mount Shasta.
• “Questions to Explore.” Students can read the article in
class and then answer the “Questions to Explore” at home
in their science notebooks. You might consider this strategy
after students read Rivers and Controlling the Flow or Real
People in the Grand Canyon.
• After the Story. See the Science Stories folio in the Teacher
Guide for suggestions on how to extend the stories at home.
For example, after students read National Parks, you might
have students research any parks in your area in the library
or on the Internet. If possible, you might also take a field
trip to one or more of the parks.
Watch television newscasts, read newspapers or magazines, and/or browse the Internet
for information about landforms and the natural or human-caused processes that create or
change landforms. Some ideas might include floods, hurricanes and storm surges,
earthquakes, landslides, and dams.
Record in the space below the following information about the news story:
• The details of the event.
• The kinds of landforms that were affected by the event.
• How the event changed or created the landform(s).
• Where the event occurred. Look up the location on a map so you can point it out to
someone else.
• If possible, include a copy of the newspaper or magazine article.
FOSS Landforms Module
© The Regents of the University of California
Can be duplicated for classroom or workshop use.
Home/School Connection
No. 36—Student Sheet
No. 36—Student Sheet
Jessie’s group decided they wanted to make a map of their schoolyard on a larger sheet of
paper. The largest sheet of paper they could use was a square measuring 100 cm on a side.
They used a trundle wheel to measure the lengths of the school boundaries. The following
sketch shows their measurements.
Game Field
500 m
500 m
250 m
Student Sheets. Throughout the module, students complete various
recording and response sheets. Students should bring the sheets and/
or their science notebooks home for families to review and discuss.
For example, student sheet number 10, Stream-Table Map, is a good
opportunity for students to explain and review with parents how the
slope of the land affects erosion and deposition.
Home/School Connections. Home/School Connections are activities
developed specifically for the whole family to enjoy at home. For
example, in Investigation 3 (student sheet number 36), students look
at television newscasts, the Internet, and newspapers and magazines
for news about landforms and the processes that create and change
them. They prepare a report that includes the details of the event,
where it happened, what types of landforms were described, and how
the landforms were created or changed by natural or human-caused
Interdisciplinary Extensions. Each investigation has suggestions for
art, language, math, social studies, and science extensions. These are
good family activities. For example, after Investigation 1 students
can create a more permanent model of their schoolyard or local area.
They can use clay or papier-mâché and paint the model, including a
key. They might also do the Math Problem of the Week at home.
FOSSweb ( FOSSweb is an interactive website
where families can find instructional activities and interactive
simulations specifically designed for each FOSS module. School
250 m
Think about the size of paper they have to draw their map.
In order for Jessie to fit the whole schoolyard on this sheet of paper, how many meters
should each centimeter equal on the map? Show your work.
FOSS Landforms Module
© The Regents of the University of California
Can be duplicated for classroom or workshop use.
Problem of the Week
No. 29—Student Sheet
No. 29—Student Sheet
NOTE: All student sheets, including
the Letter to Parents, Home/School
Connection, and Math Problem of
the Week, are available in FOSS
Teacher Guides and online at They are also
available in Spanish. See For
Parents and Teachers: Home/
School Connection on page 4 of this
NOTE: Pages 3 and 4 of this folio can be photocopied and sent home
for parents to read. Those pages provide information on the resources
for students and their families on FOSSweb.
full option science system
FOSS at Home
The FOSS program maintains a resource-rich website for students and
their families and friends. To explore the resources available for the
Landforms Module, first enter in your browser. The FOSS website requires plug-ins for your browser. We recommend
that you click the “Test Your Browser” link at the bottom of the home
page before you begin to ensure your computer has the minimum
Click the grades 3–6 icon to get a menu that links to each of the 3–6
modules. There you can choose Landforms and travel to a wealth of
information and activities specific to this module.
In the Landforms Module, you’ll find two activities: Aerial
Photography and Jigsaw Puzzle. You can introduce these activities
after students have completed Investigation 5, Bird’s-Eye View. In
Aerial Photography, children view an animation about how aerial
photographs are produced. You might ask,
• What landforms and other features could we observe in the aerial
Explain that scientists who use aerial photographs often use stereo
pairs—two aerial photos of almost the same area that can be
overlapped. Each photo contains a portion of the same land area.
Scientists use stereo glasses to view the overlapped area in three
dimensions. Variations on stereo photography are used today, and
computer technology has provided some new techniques to create
the 3-D effect. Review the information on the introductory screen.
Then click on the airplane to move to the animation.
In Jigsaw Puzzle, children assemble a puzzle of aerial photos
for the landforms they have studied in this module: Mt. Shasta,
Grand Canyon, and Death Valley. Review the information on the
introductory screen. Click anywhere on the screen to move to the
activity. Show children how to choose a level and landform. The
higher levels require them to overlap the images. Show how to click
and drag the images to the selected location and how to use the ?
The Movies section includes sequences of rafting rapids along the
Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, a volcanic eruption in Hawaii,
and NASA videos about the global positioning system (GPS).
In the Pictures section, you can view images of many landforms and
water features, for example, the Mississippi River delta and the Great
The Websites section includes links to sites that can extend and enrich
children’s experiences with the Landforms Module.
In the Vocabulary section, you will find the glossary words and
definitions used in the Landforms Module. They are provided in
English and Spanish.
This section includes an annotated list of books, videos, and software
recommended for the Landforms Module. You should be able to find
many of these titles at your local library.
The For Parents and Teachers section includes the Home/School
Connection that describes ways for families to do science together.
For example, in Investigation 4, students find a highway map for
the city, county, or region where they live. They search the map for
labeled landforms and for symbols identifying types of landforms.
They review the Landform Inventory sheets and identify and label on
the maps the landforms they have on their inventories. They
then plan a trip with their family to visit a landform they
haven’t seen before. Look in this section for other resources
included in a downloadable PDF file, including a general letter
introducing the module, student projects, and math problems
that relate to the science investigations.
Copyright The Regents of the University of California
full option science system