Taking FOSS Outdoors

Visualize taking FOSS outdoors: Students exit the classroom in an orderly fashion, their direction and purpose undeterred by the joyful sounds of other students at recess. With focused enthusiasm, the band of young scientists moves toward the edge of the schoolyard.

After a brief orientation, students disperse and begin searching the tall grass along the chain-link fence. All are independently recording in their science notebooks, and all are on task.

This scenario could be anywhere in the country, with a regular classroom teacher using any of the FOSS modules. Taking FOSS outdoors is a natural extension of the classroom work. FOSS outdoors looks and feels a lot like standard FOSS activities. Many of the routines you use inside the classroom can be implemented outdoors as well. Success, however, does depend on a few specialized skills and specific preparation to maximize outdoor teaching efficiency.

The Taking FOSS Outdoors chapter (K-5 and 6-8) gives you general guidance for taking your students outdoors, including choosing a study site; managing time, space, students, and materials; and general teaching strategies. The FOSS Outdoor Experiences in FOSS Next Generation provides a summary of all outdoor opportunities in K-8. Download our Tick Awareness Letter to send home to families in areas where ticks are an issue.

The Science in the Schoolyard™ video below, from the Boston Schoolyard Initiative, shows teachers and students taking science outdoors. It demonstrates both practical tips for taking your class outdoors and strategies for managing time outside. See the chapter index on the top left of the video for a list of the parts of the video, including what FOSS modules are used as examples.

You can click the frame symbol in the lower right corner to expand the video to full screen.