What Is FOSS?
FOSS Components
FOSS K–8 Scope and Sequence
    Middle School
    Grades 5–6
    Grades 3–4
    Grades 1–2
  Correlation to Standards
Research on FOSS and Ongoing Projects
  Science and Literacy
  FOSS for All
  FOSS Staff

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Earth Materials Overview




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.


  • 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.
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