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.

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Title Description
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

Observation Station

The following activity 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. 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. It can be adapted for any grade level.

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-012-C

The Life of Corn

The following activity can be used as an introduction to the concept of phenology. It demonstrates the life cycle of a corn plant, a plant familiar to many, putting this plant into a new perspective. The Life of Corn highlights the importance of the developmental life-cycle, something which all organisms experience in a predictable manner. The activity increases science literacy by teaching about life-cycle events, encourages people not only to recall experiences outdoors but also to spend more time outdoors and observe things they may not yet have experienced. This activity was adapted from Dandelion Life, presented by NatureBridge.  It is adapatable to all grade levels.

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-014-C

Making Basic Phenology Observations

The following activity is meant as an introduction to phenology, the study of recurring plant and animal life cycle stages. Students make scientific observations of plants and record their observations and record them for Nature's Notebook.

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-011-C

Volunteer Training Course Phenology Notes Worksheet

**Editable

This worksheet can be used in a Master Naturalist or Master Gardener course as an assignment to track phenology throughout the subject areas presented.  Students can make notes each week during lectures and presentations about how phenology informs most, or all, of the subjects presented as part of the training course. 

Because the form is editable, it can also be used in other volunteer training programs.  

Phenology Word Searches

These word searches can be used as activities in the classroom or in an informal setting.  The first, suitable for younger grades, contains six words to find and corresponding questions.  The second has a list of words to find. 

Phenology Monitoring - Site Set up Planning Activity for Students

This worksheet can be used as an activity in a high school classroom where students will be responsible for planning out the long-term phenology monitoring program to be established at the school or within the community.  It includes a series of thought-provoking questions that students can discuss in groups.  It will work best in conjuntion with other preliminary Nature's Notebook activities.

Background information on the physical characteristics of a site can be found on the second worksheet called, Guiding tips for site set up and Sugerencias para ubicar su sitio físico - en español

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-006-C; 2014-006a-C (2014-006-CSP ; 2014-006a-CSP - Spanish)

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