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.

Image credit:
Brian Powell

Nature's Notebook Activities

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

Title Description
2015 UArizona Insect Festival Booth Materials

This tabling event was designed for the 2015 Arizona Insect Festival. The materials and activities included utilized the concept of life cycles to engage participants in making observations on insects. 

Species Research Worksheet

Use this worksheet to help guide students in researching chosen species for observation.  It can be used when beginning the implementation of the Nature's Notebook walk at the school or Phenology Trail in your community. Students can each select their own species they'd like to learn more about, or they can be assigned based upon what is available and how the instructor would like to involve the students in the project plan and establishment. 

Questions on the worksheet include those supplemental to the individual plant details and phenophase definitions for each, as established in the Nature's Notebook monitoring protocols. 

USA-NPN Education Resource: 2015-001-C

6 Week Nature's Notebook Program Implementation Guide and Jr. Phenologist Certification Program

This step-by-step lesson plan outlines a 6 week long monitoring program, appropriate for classrooms, summer camps and after school programs.  To begin, be sure to visit the resources for Nature's Notebook that describe how to set up a group monitoring site on our Start a Local Project Page.  Students have the option of becoming a Certified Junior Phenologist at the end of the course, depending upon the quality of their participation. The Junior Phenologist program requires that participating students under the age of 18 make at least 6 consistent and consecutive observations for Nature's Notebook, including entering the observation data from the plants and animals they observe into our National Phenology Database.

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2015-003-C



Nature's Notebook How To Course

Take this online course to help you get started with observing in Nature's Notebook. This can be an excellent addition to getting your classroom started with monitoring. After navigating through the course you can review your work via the outline tab on the right. However, your answers are not saved in the system.  If you'd like to take the quiz multiple times, simply refresh your browser link at the end of your session.

Sponsored by the US Geological Survey, this course is hosted on an external link. 

Deparment of the Interior Employees may find the course in DOI Learn, course number USGS-USANPN-001-OLT.

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2015-001-OC

Geocaching and Phenology

Nature's Notebook and geocaching can be a fun activity. Students can geolocate their plants at the established site and list the coordinates in the comments section when adding plants to the Nature's Notebook datasheet. Use this field datasheet when setting up your site outside. Includes a space to record the latitude and longitude, Plant name and description, and location descriptions. 

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2015-002-C

Data download and visualization for your Nature's Notebook group

This 2 page guide describes the ways that you can download your group's data, and the USA-NPN tools available to you to make graphs of your data to share with your group members. 

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2015-002-T

Summarizing Observation Records by Participant

The resource walks the user through the creation of a PivotTable to determine which users in a group have submitted data, on what date, for which species. 

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-001-T

Getting Started with Nature's Notebook in the Classroom

Nature's Notebook should be implemented in classrooms where teachers plan to make consistent observations with their students for at least a semester. We recommend that you only choose to do Nature's Notebook if you are able to collect data at your school for a two years or longer. Thus, you are the Local Phenology Project leader who is helping us collect data for the National Phenology Database. 

This four page document is a guide to getting started with Nature's Notebook in your classroom. It includes tips for planning links to our webpages, directions on how to get started, and PRO TIPS for implementation. It is designed to help you navigate the information on the Nature's Notebook and USA-NPN websites. 

Working with students under 13? In accordance with internet safety laws we do not allow youth to create accounts in Nature's Notebook if they are under the age of 13. If your group is 13 or younger, consider having a leader be responsible for creating and maintaining a Nature's Notebook account for the classroom and plan on utilizing our Simple Datasheets for the students. The leader can follow the official Nature's Notebook species definitions, make one entry for the classroom and still lead students in phenology observation. 

Some groups choose to create classroom accounts to be used by groups of students who may be sharing technology like iPads or tablets, using our mobile apps. If you have several general classroom email accounts, instructors can use those to create accounts in Nature's Notebook and the students can utilize the apps on the tablets to make observations.

If you are only seeking to take students out one time to make observations, consider utlizing our phenology activities in the curriculum section instead of creating an observation site in Nature's Notebook

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-015-C

Habitat Scavenger Hunt

The following lesson can be used as an introduction to the concept of observation. Observations skills are critical to the field of science among other things! Knowing how to pay attention to what’s is going on around you is an important life skill. Taking the time to make observations is beneficial to health and wellness too.  It also introduces the concept of phenology through the observation of plants and animals in a habitat garden. The activity increases science literacy by teaching about observation skills, encourages people to pay attention to their surroundings, to spend more time outdoors and observe things they may not yet have experienced. 

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-013-C

Phenology Bingo

The following activity can be used as an introduction to the concept of phenology. The items on the phenology board are phenomena that participants have observed in nature, perhaps without even knowing their relationship to ecology, science, and climate, or their status as phenological events. Maybe they are fond childhood memories. The activity increases science literacy by teaching about life-cycle events, encouraging people to recall experiences outdoors and spend more time observing things they may not yet have experienced. It can be adapted to any grade level.

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-010-C