Summer school isn’t just for kids

This summer, several teachers in Webster City are taking summer classes to help them prepare for various aspects of the upcoming school year.

Two of these classes concern the kindergarten through fourth grade science curriculum, instructed by FOSS, Full Option Science System, Consultant and Science Specialist Lynne Bleeker.

“Student understanding and enthusiasm of science and school will skyrocket,” Bleeker said. “Their depth of understanding for how the world works will increase dramatically as they get to actually do science and not just read about it.”

According to their website, FOSS is a research-based science curriculum for grades kindergarten through eighth grade at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

“FOSS is also an ongoing research project dedicated to improving the learning and teaching of science,” the website said. “The FOSS Program materials are designed to meet the challenge of providing meaningful science education for all students in diverse American classrooms and to prepare them for life in 21st century.”

The program shows that science is a creative and analytic enterprise as well as a discovery activity.

“The best way for students to appreciate the scientific enterprise, learn important scientific and engineering concepts, and develop the ability to think well is to actively participate in scientific practices through their own investigations and analyses,” the website said. “The FOSS Program was created specifically to provide students and teachers with meaningful experiences through engaging with this active participation in scientific practices.”

Webster City Community School District Curriculum Director Linda Williams thinks very highly of this Program.

“It’s hands-on, experimental,” she said. “Students discover and hypothesize what will happen during labs, and come to school excited to know if they were right. They learn to enjoy science.”

Before teachers roll-out the new curriculum, they had a chance this week to learn more about the Program by reading, watching, trying and doing some of the things that students will be doing this coming school year.

Some of these projects included observing objects with handmade binoculars, studying crayfish, preparing bugs and snails for a racing event, observing frogs and fish, and learning about and building little habitats for caterpillar and other insects.

“Webster City is in for an amazing adventure this year for both students and teachers,” Bleeker said.