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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Students are introduced to the mineral portion of the planet on which they live. They investigate several kinds of rocks and begin to understand the properties of rocks. Students rub rocks, wash rocks, sort rocks, and describe rocks. They also begin to organize a class rock collection. • Rocks have a variety of properties including color, hardness, shape, and size.
• Rocks can be sorted by their properties.
• Rocks are all around us.
• Rocks are the solid material of the earth.
• Observe several kinds of rocks.
• Compare properties of different rocks.
• Sort rocks in different ways.
• Observe rocks interacting with each other and with water.

Students investigate a river rock mixture of earth materials of different sizes. They separate the rocks, using a series of three screens to identify five sizes of rocks: large pebbles, small pebbles, large gravel, small gravel, and sand. They add water to a vial of sand to discover silt and clay. • Rocks can be categorized by size.
• Screens and water can be used to sort the sizes of earth materials.
• Five sizes of rocks, from smallest to largest are clay, silt, sand, gravel, and pebbles.
• Observe properties of pebbles, gravel, sand, silt, and clay particles.
• Separate and group river rocks based on particle size by using screens.
• Separate and observe sand and silt in water.
• Observe the properties of clay particles when dry and when wet.

Students learn how people use earth materials to construct objects. They make rubbings from sandpaper, sculptures from sand, decorative jewelry from clay, and bricks from clay soil. They go on a schoolyard field trip to look for places where earth materials occur naturally and where people have incorporated earth materials into building materials. • Earth materials are natural resources.
• The properties of different earth materials make each suitable for specific uses.
• Earth materials can be used in a variety of constructions.
• Observe and compare different grades of sandpaper.
• Observe how a matrix binds sand particles in a sand sculpture.
• Observe the properties of clay that make it useful in creating jewelry or beads.
• Observe and compare how earth materials are used in human constructions.
• Observe how the properties of clay are used to make bricks.

Students put together and take apart soils. They are introduced to humus as an ingredient in soil. Homemade and local soils are compared, using techniques introduced in Investigation 2. • Soil is a mixture of earth materials.
• Soils vary from place to place.
• Soils have properties of color and texture.
• Soils differ in their abilities to support plants.
• Soils can be composed of humus and different amounts and sizes of rocks.
• Observe the ingredients that combine to make soil.
• Separate and sort the ingredients in soil.
• Observe and record the results of shaking soil and water in a vial.
• Compare soil samples from different locations.
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