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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 Phenophase Photo Guide Templates||
Phenophase Photo Guides are species-specific guides that provide a photo reference for each of the life cycle stages on the Nature's Notebook protocols. The National Coordinating Office is slowly working on creating useable guides that will eventually appear on our species profile pages. In the meantime, we invite you to help us by using our templates to create your own Phenophase Photo Guides. If you do make photoguides, please consider sharing them with us by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also wish to consider using our Phenophase Primer for Training and Education. This Primer includes photographic examples of sample species in each of the Nature's Notebook plant functional groups.
Templates for creating Phenophase Photo Guides
The National Coordinating Office has created Phenophase Photo Guide templates for you to use in your programs. There are editable PowerPoint templates for several of the functional groups we identify in our protocol. You can begin by viewing the Species Profile page and reviewing the details for your species. In the top left corner of the printable datasheet linked from the species page, you will find the corresponding functional group for your species of choice.
The blank templates include the full definitions as described in our protocol. You do not need to edit the definitions (see the image below), simply add photos of your individual example of the species where indicated. You may wish to add your logo at the top of the page. Each of the plant functional group templates can be downloaded from the list at the top of this page.
Please do not re-interpret the phenophase definition and display what you believe to be an abridged version containing the same meaning - it compromises data quality by introducing inconsistency across observers. See the details below for more information.
For some guidelines for creating the Phenophase Photo Guides from these templates, download this PDF document.
At this time these Phenophase Photo Guide templates are designed only for plants. However, if you wish to create Phenophase Photo Guides for the animals you may be observing please be sure to use the exact definitions for each of the phenophases found in our protocols.
A few things to keep in mind when creating your own Phenophase Photo Guides
|Nature's Notebook Observation Guide - Join a Group||
This info sheet can be handed out participants in any setting. It describes phenology, Nature's Notebook and how to join your Partner Group. It is an editable document that allows the Local Phenology Leader the space to change the text to reflect the name of the Group their participants should join.
USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2013-001-C (2013-001-CSP - Spanish)
|Signs of the Seasons: Phenology Calendar Exchange||
Monitor Signs of the Seasons plants or animals on your school grounds or in a local park, and compare your observations with those of a school or youth program in another region of Maine. Created by Signs of the Seasons: A Maine Phenlogy Program.
|Signs of the Seasons: Monarch-Milkweed Ecology Graphing||
Students learn to graph a small dataset about the timing of monarchs and milkweed appearance in Maine. The exercise involves graphing comparisons between groups, making predictions, and thinking about variability, an important concept in statistics and data literacy. Created by Signs of the Seasons: A Maine Phenology Program.
|Signs of the Seasons: Mapping and Graphing Your Observations||
Using dandelions, since they are numerous and easy to identify, students learn basic mapping and graphing skills, and practice making sense of the phenology data they have collected. Created by Signs of the Seasons: A Maine Phenology Program.