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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.
|Signs of the Seasons: Festival Dates||
Students visit the local library or a historical collection to look through source materials (newspapers, magazines, photo collections, etc.) to find dates and/or photos of annual festivals related to phenology (apple festivals, lilac festivals, maple sugar festivals, etc.). Created by Signs of the Seasons: A Maine Phenology Program.
|Signs of the Seasons: Phenology Snapshots||
Students compare phenology of the current season with historical phenology changes by comparing dated historical photos with present-day photos of the same locations. Created by Signs of the Seasons: A Maine Phenlogy Program.
|Signs of the Seasons: Bird Feeder Notebook||
Watch a feeder as a group/class and keep records of what you see. Compare your notebook with historical records for the same species in your area, if you can find any. Created by Signs of the Seasons: A Maine Phenology Program.
|Signs of the Seasons: Species Life Cycles||
Use the Signs of the Seasons life cycle calendar activity to draw two species that depend on one another for food, pollination, reproduction, or habitat (such as the monarch caterpillar and common milkweed). Created by Signs of the Seasons: A Maine Phenology Program.
|Signs of the Seasons: Plant and Animal Life Cycle Drawings||
Instead of the traditional circle-shaped life cycle drawings that you see in many books, have your group/class use their species observations to help them draw a life cycle for one or more of their SOS species that is stretched out in a line and matched to the dates on a calendar year (estimate, based on guidebook information, if you didn’t observe all phenophases). Created by Signs of the Seasons: A Maine Phenology Program.