Nature’s Notebook

Connecting People with Nature to Benefit Our Changing Planet

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Educators around the country are developing materials to use with Nature's Notebook.

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Brian Powell

Nature's Notebook Activities

Explore Nature's Notebook materials created by the National Coordinating Office Staff and partners.

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Title Description
Phenophase Photo Guide Activities

This activity introduces adult audiences to the concept of taking useable photos of phenophases for identification. Use this activity with a group of docents at a Local Phenology Program who may also be able to help collect photos to complete the photo guides.

USA-NPN Curriculum Resource Number: 2018-002-C

Phenophase Scavenger Hunt Activity - By Michelle Coe

To acclimate people to looking closely at the plants and animals for observation in Nature's Notebook, use this activity outdoors.

Print out the letters to the word PHENOPHASE on 8 1/2 by 11 paper, one letter per page. On separate pages create descriptions or definitions that start with each of the letters in the word PHENOPHASE. Use brightly colored paper and laminate the cards for use later.

Hide the description cards in the garden or around the site. Retain the letter cards to pass out to the group. Have people work in pairs or in threes. Do not tell them that the word spells PHENOPHASE.

Depending upon the letter selected the team has to seek a card with a definition that matches the letter on their card. Once they locate it they should find and identify the item described and have a conversation about how it is related to phenology and the importance of it to the ecosystem.

Bring everyone back together to debrief the activity after they've found their cards. Have them arrange themselves such that they are spelling out the word PHENOPHASE. Ask each team to share what they found.

This activity was developed by Michelle Coe from the Community and School Garden Program at the University of Arizona.

 

Sample agenda for 3-hour field lab using Nature's Notebook at a Local Phenology Program location

Here is a sample outdoor-only workshop conducted at a Local Phenology Program location. This 3-hour workshop followed a 3-hour classroom session with hands-on activities designed to introduce participants (in this case, Master Naturalists) to Nature's Notebook observing. See the classroom session materials in our workshop archive.

Included here are pre-workshop information and email, the sample agenda, the phenophase scavenger hunt activity, a phenophase photo guide activity, and a final evaluation. For this lab we used the Pre-Post Evaluation form on the Evaluation Activities link.

Materials used for this session, in addition to those included:

  • A map of the location indicating plants marked for observation
  • Phenophase photo guides for the species marked for observation
  • Paper datasheets for the species marked for observation
  • Clipboards and pencils (for those using paper data sheets)
2017 UArizona Insect Festival Tabling Materials

At the 2017 University of Arizona Insect festival the Nature's Notebook Education team presented several activities having to do with insect phenology. 

Three excellent resources we used were the books:

  • Insectigations- 40 Hands-on Activities to explore the insect world by Cindy Blobaum
  • Take-Along Guide: Caterpillars, Bugs, and Butterflies by Mel Boring
  • The Life-cycles of Butterflies: From egg to maturity, a visual guide to 23 common garden butterflies by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards

The files above are scanned pages from each of those books. Activites described below:

1. We purchased crickets at a local exotic pet store (and after the event donated them to a critter keeper who feeds crickets to his pets). We created the Insect Amplifier (as shown in example #1a above) and asked the students to count the chirps to determine the ambient temperture (as described on example #1 above). They were asked to record their data on a sheet at the table and as the day got warmer, the chirps became more abundant. We talked about the timing of their chirps, what chirps are used for, and how it is related to the surrounding environment. When during the year do crickets chirp?

2. We collected several tomato hornworms and queen butterflies from the garden, in various stages, and had magnifying glasses on hand for students to look at each up close. We also had print outs of life cycles of these species from the Life-cycles of butterflies book referenced above

3. We used our simple data sheets and students were able to go outside to a marked plant and collect observations using Nature's Notebook. If they returned their data sheet to us with correct answers, they were given a Nature's Notebook pencil. 

4. We had a phenology bingo game available for students where they could review the phenological events present on the bingo card and put a stamp next to the ones they had experienced. #3 above includes a sample of the bingo card and the full Phenology Bingo lesson can be found on our website, here

5. We created a series of What am I cards and used them as a matching game. #4 above includes a sample of two of the cards. On the reverse side is a photo of the plant with the common and scientific name below. Students can either guess what the answer to the question is or use them as a matching game to match the picture to the definition. 

Program Mapping Worksheet

Need help mapping out your ideas, outcomes, and objectives for your long-term Nature's Notebook monitoring program? Use our Program Mapping Worksheet as a guide.

USA-NPN Media Release Form

Hosting an event or workshop and want to share some photos of the event with us? Be sure to complete the USA-NPN Media Release Form with your photo or video subjects. Even if you are asking folks to complete a Media Release Form for your organization, you'll still need to ask them to sign our form as well so we can post smiling faces on our website. 

If your event and photos involve youth under the age of 18, be sure to get a parent or guardian's signature on the form. 

Nature's Notebook Lesson Plan Template and Example

Create your own lesson for K-12 or Higher Education. Utilize the 5E Lesson Planning methodology to enhance student learning. Above you will find a link to an NCO lesson plan as well as a template you can use to create your own activity. Use Nature's Notebook as a framework for your lesson. 

USA-NPN Poster Template

If you need to present a professional poster about Nature's Notebook, you can use this template designed by our NCO staff for your work. 

Phenology Walk or Trail Proposal Form

This Proposal Form may be useful when developing a Walk or Trail for a Group site at a K-12 school. It provides a place to document what you will do and is sharable with school stakeholders who may be interested in the program. 

Use this Planning Guide with the Local Phenology Program Planning Guide

Nature's Notebook Program Planning Activity

Before you begin your program planning activity, read through our guidance document to get some ideas for developing program goals and outcomes. 

The Program Planning Worksheet helps you to begin planning a long-term phenology monitoring program using Nature's Notebook in the field. A "program" is a series of activities designed to help you achieve a set of outcomes. You can include ideas for short (1 year or less), medium (1-3 years), or long (3-5 years or more) goals and desired outcomes. 

You should use this worksheet to help think through a relevant science or management question that your program will help to answer. 

What are the resources you have and what do you need to obtain in order to do the activities you'd like to do? How are you going to share this information with your community and involve as many people in the process to make it sustainable? 

Use either the Program Mapping Worksheet or the Logic Model Worksheet to help you further articulate your objectives. Then, utilize the Action Planning Worksheet to make a plan for achieving your short-term outcomes.

We also offer this planning document in Spanish if you are working with Spanish audiences. 

USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2017-003-C; 2014-007-CSP

 

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