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Resources for 5-8 Grade Classroom Teachers
Phenology and Nature’s Notebook can also be used to teach subjects other than science.
Phenology can be used to teach:
- English and Language Arts such as reading comprehension, writing, speaking and listening
- Social Studies such as American History, World History, Cultural Studies, and Geography
- Healthy Living and Physical Education
- Foreign and Native Languages including communication, culture, and comparative studies
- Arts such as music, theater, and visual arts
Where do I begin?
Adding a phenological monitoring program to your classroom is easy as long as your project is well-planned. Consider involving other like-minded teachers and staff in your project to make it a meaningful, multi-year experience. Nature's Notebook is designed to be a multi-year program, for students to experience seasonal changes throughout the academic year. If you are only interested in and able to take students outside one time to make observations, you might consider another wonderful citizen science project instead.
If you can commit to establishing a site at your school for at least 2 years, take a look at our Nature's Notebook Planning Resources to help you get started.
We suggest setting up a group for your school where individual students can each make and enter observations. Plan to take students outside to make observations once a week, building the other activites and topics you are teaching around phenology monitoring. Continuing your project for multiple years creates a local record of what is happening and students in subsequent years can learn from what students in prior years recorded.
Can you take a field trip to a local nature center, wildlife refuge, zoo, botanical garden, museum where they may be monitoring phenology? Check with the local educators to see if they have other curriculum ideas and resources for monitoring phenology at their locations as well.
- Getting Started with Nature's Notebook in the Classroom
- Classroom Phenology Project Planning Worksheet (available as word doc)
- Lesson Planning Worksheet (availible as a word doc)
- Questions on how to get started? Contact our Education Coordinator.
- Jr. Phenologist Certification Program
- Have ideas or activities to share? Send them to us and we'll share them for you!
If you can't commit to a long-term monitoring program at your school, consider instead using some of our phenology activities and lesson plans to supplement your student learning. Search the table below for activities appropriate for middle school learners.
A long-term, Nature's Notebook phenology monitoring program in the classroom can help address the following Next Generation Science Standards Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI):
The table below contains lesson plans and ideas for implementing Nature’s Notebook in Grades 5-8.
View Nature's Notebook curriculum materials developed for 5th-8th grades in the table below.
|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 implementation an curriculum plan outlines a 6-week long monitoring program, appropriate for classrooms, summer camps and after school programs. It is a curriculum package that ties together a series of activities with the student-outcome of collecting observations for Nature's Notebook.
Before you 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
|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