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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: Phenology Calendar Activity||
Students create a month-by-month phenology calendar on a chalkboard, whiteboard, or large sheets of paper hung up around the room. Created by Signs of the Seasons: A Maine Phenology Project.
|Boys & Girls Club Phenology Activity||
Lesson plan for a phenology activity given at Boys & Girls Clubs in Tucson. Students are introduced to phenology with interactive activities, then use Nature's Notebook to make observations on plants near their clubhouse.
|Herbarium Activity: Skeletons in the Closet - Data set||
Data set for herbarium-based phenology data activity, derived from herbarium specimens collected in California from 1906 to 2009. Created by Susan Mazer, Alisa Hove, and Brian Haggerty at the University of California, Santa Barbara as part of the Phenological Literacy: Understanding Through Science and Stewardship Program (PLUSS).
|Herbarium Activity: Skeletons in the Closet - Step-by-step Guide||
Using a data set derived from herbarium specimens collected in California from 1906-2009, you’ll be guided step-by-step through the processes of organizing, summarizing, visualizing, and analyzing the data using Microsoft Excel. An introduction in the guide provides background on herbaria, the motivations behind the research project, and the structure of the data set. Discussion questions and suggestions for continued learning are included for each section. Created by Susan Mazer, Alisa Hove, and Brian Haggerty at the University of California, Santa Barbara as part of the Phenological Literacy: Understanding Through Science and Stewardship Program (PLUSS).
|Primer on Herbarium-based Phenological Research||
This guide provides an overview on herbaria, how they’re used to study phenology and climate change, and prepares readers to initiate their own herbarium-based phenological research. Created by Susan Mazer, Alisa Hove, and Brian Haggerty at the University of California, Santa Barbara as part of the Phenological Literacy: Understanding Through Science and Stewardship Program (PLUSS).