The University of St. Thomas


Evert, Beth Ann

Evert, Beth Ann

The Foss Scientific Thinking Processes Applied to Music
Beth A. Evert

The subject of this study was the Full Option Science System (FOSS) Scientific Thinking Processes and how science processing applies to teaching music in a science-based school. After reviewing these processes and their roots, this study showed how the teaching and learning of music parallels the teaching and learning of science in the school by addressing the questions, “How is the Full Option Science System (FOSS), which is based in Piagetian developmental theory, applicable to the teaching and learning of music?” Considering that FOSS is a “pattern seeking enterprise that follows from our ability to think” (Lowery, 1989), how does the study of music use these pattern-seeking skills not only to develop a student’s ability to think, but also to feel and integrate the goals of teaching the whole child?

FOSS imposes the skills defined as the ability to pattern. These skills run in stages parallel to those of Piaget: 1) accidental representation, 2) resemblance sorting, 3) consistent sorting and 4) exhaustive sorting, 5) multiple members sorting, 6) horizontal repatterning and 7) hierarchical repatterning.

The process, or the active parts of science, are also progressive and are organized into seven categories: observing, communicating, comparing, organizing relating, inferring, and applying. The FOSS Program has designed these processes along developmental stages and has matched the content that students can effectively learn well within each of these stages. Each scientific thinking stage is complete within itself, yet it is preparing the student for the next stage. This cycle of investigation is called the scientific learning process and is apparent in all developmental stages in ways appropriate to the stage.

Because these patterning skills are inherent in music, through the body of the paper I show their application in the FOSS lesson plans and present parallel plans for music. Additional plans were developed to illustrate the progressive nature of the scientific thinking process.

Principal Advisor
Teresa L. Edwards