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Phenology is an excellent way to teach science, technology, and math standards such as inquiry, observation, creating relevant questions, making predictions, graphing and analyzing information, problem solving, conducting basic research, and communication of results.

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.

Helpful resources:

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.


Nature's Notebook and the Next Generation Science Standards

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): 

 


 

More Curriculum Ideas

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.

Title Description
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

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 Calendar Activities

Use this monthly phenology chart to record what species of animals you see, and what species of plants are leafing, flowering and fruiting.  Use as a quick reference in addition to what you record in Nature's Notebook. Print it out on large paper and hang it in a classroom or nature center for an annual view of what you might see.  

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-003-C

You will also find listed above a Phenology Calendar Activity developed by our partners at Signs of the Seasons Maine  where students can create a month by month calendar of phenological events. 

Phenology and Seasonal Change Study Guide

This KWL (Know, Want to Know, Learned) Chart can be used prior to introducing a Nature's Notebook monitoring program in a classroom (grades 5-12).  This activity elicits critical thinking skills and can be used in context with making weekly observations for a semester or year. 

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-004-C

 

 

Workshop or Classroom Evaluation & Reflection Activities

These evaluation forms and/or reflection sheet can be used after conducting a classroom, training, or workshop session.  Use them to encourage participants to reflect on their experience and think of any unanswered questions they may still have at the end of the session. 

The reflective evaluation form provides a space for participants to indicate what could have been done better so educators can continuously improve upon their delivery. The questions provided in likert scale format will allow you to better understand the quality of your presentation. 

The Post- and Pre- evaluation form can be used to measure knowledge gain during a short, one time workshop. Ask the participants to first reflect on what they learned during the workshop or class, then ask them to recall what they knew before attending.

Plan to set aside 5-10 minutes at the end of your workshop for presenting one of these evaluation forms.

 

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