Elementary Science

Live Organisms

The OUSD Science Department centrally supplies live organisms to school sites for the FOSS Life Science kits. Organisms are raised at the SMART Center or purchased in bulk. By doing so, the the total cost per year for the District is reduced by 90%

Goldfish are the only organism not supplied due to transportation issues. They are readily available from local aquarium stores located on the right (~12/$1).



Detailed care information can be found in the Teacher Guides or the FOSSweb pages below:

Click here for an estimated Developmental Timeline for organisms that are time critical.

Returning and Collecting

Teachers are encouraged to maintain their organisms long term as classroom animals. Most of them require minimal care and can be raised in basic containers. If you do not want to keep them, they can be reused in other classrooms later in the year. Call the SMART Center at 510-434-2219 to schedule a drop off.

We are always looking for local sources of land snails and isopods (pill bugs and sow bugs) from backyards and public areas. If you know of a location or can help us collect them, let us know!


Orders for live organisms are placed by the Lead Science Teacher or Principal at the start of each school's life science rotation. Alternatively, schools can grow their own supplies or use remaining Delta Live Organism Coupons.

The live organisms are split into two deliveries based on their usage in the curriculum. Important dates for each trimester are listed here.

Ordering Directions
(Lead Science Teacher and Principals only)

1. Read the order instructions first and tally the number of organisms needed for your entire school.

2. Use the on-line order form to submit your order by the deadline above.

3. Attend the mandatory Live Organism Coordination Meeting. We will briefly review their care and quick tips for distributing them to your staff. Because of the importance of this meeting, you or an alternate teacher must attend for your school to receive the organisms. Location is at the SMART Center, 900 High St.

4. The organisms will be delivered a few days after the meeting to the classroom indicated on the order form. Upon arrival, the organisms must be transferred immediately into appropriate containers found in the FOSS kits. Here is an Initial Care Sheet for helping you get started.

5. Due to their viability and use later in the trimester, some organisms will be delivered on the second date, a few weeks after the other organisms.


Live Organisms & the Classroom

FOSS Policy on Living Organisms
Common Issues and Resources


Pesticide-Free Solutions

Painted Lady Butterflies

Local Host Plant Identification
Educational Science (artificial diet source)
Other Resources


Mulberry Tree Identification & Oakland Locations
Google Map of Tree Locations
How to Hatch Eggs & Use the Artificial Diet
Other Resources

Daphnia(Gammarus substitute)
Care Information

White Cloud Minnow (Guppy substitute)


Feeder Goldfish and Guppies

Mei Lan Aquariums
6625 Foothill Blvd, Oakland
Tues-Sat 10-6  pm

International Aquarium‎
1505 International Blvd, Oakland
Mon-Sun 11-7pm

Connies‎ Tropical Fish
2520 Castro Valley Blvd Castro Valley
Mon-Sun 10-7pm

Mike's Feed & Pets
710 E 14th St, San Leandro
Mon-Sun 10-6pm


Niles Biological
(isopods, milkweed bugs)

Mulberry Farms
(silkworms, mealworms, butterflies)

Blue Ridge Vermiculture

NorCal Seafood
(local crayfish, fall only)
2810 E. 7th Street, Oakland, CA

Louisiana Crayfish
(winter and spring only)