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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.

Image credit:
Lili Gama

Resources for 9-12 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. 

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. 

Use Nature's Notebook observations to teach many science topics and prepare students for higher education by exploring critical thinking, careers, research, and scientific inquiry. Have students monitor a set of plants for a semester, or a year. Ask them to generate their own hypotheses, based on evidence of what they've seen, about seasonal and climatic change.  If you and the students can continue monitoring for multiple years, ask students to return to the Nature's Notebook data, via visualization tools or excel download, and synthesize what they've seen and learned over the course of their high school career.  We encourage people to create groups for monitoring at your school or campus, to which many participants can contribute their own observations.  

Consider reaching out to community agencies and organizations and asking them to also monitor phenology. Many local and state government agencies have staff that will help with outreach projects and engage high school students in career choices.  Even better if the theme can be phenology!

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 high 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 9-12.  Implementing phenology monitoring and Nature’s Notebook at the high school level allows students to engage with the content in an experiential way, provides opportunities to do community based projects through partnerships with local organizations, understand the implications of climate change, and engage with scientists performing data analysis.

 

View Nature's Notebook curriculum materials developed for 9th-12th grades in the table below.

Title Description
Climate Drivers of Phenology (Project EDDIE) - adaptation focused on Part A and B

This adaptation explores the questions: Based on observations of bumblebee phenology, are bumblebees in the western United States behaving differently from 2011 to 2019? What climate variables may help explain bumblebee activity?

The many uses of your Nature's Notebook data

This set of slides was used in our webinar, The many uses of your Nature's Notebook data, on February 23, 2021. The video recording is available at https://youtu.be/OEIhGA5umEM. 

The presentation covers a diversity of ways that Nature's Notebook are being used by scientists, natural resource managers, educators, the media. These slides may be used to communicate the value of the data submitted to Nature's Notebook

Visualization Tool Step By Step Instructions

Use this guide to help walk you through the steps for using the visualization tool. 

Visualization Tool Step By Step Instructions

Use this guide to help walk you through the steps for using the visualization tool. 

Exploring Phenology Data in the Classroom: Plant Phenology Data and Citizen Science

This activity was designed by Jessica Savage (at University of Minnesota) and Erin O'Connell (at the University of Minnesota), with input from Blake Steiner (University of Arizona, School of Natural Resources) and Claire O'Neill (Earthwise Aware). It guides students through the use of the USA-NPN Visualization Tool to summarize phenology data.

Activity learning outcomes:

  1. Develop and test hypotheses about the relationship between phenology and climatic conditions using the NPN visualization tools that develop graphs and models.
  2. Examine what phenological data can tell us about climate change
  3. Analyze data from a large, long-term data set on phenology

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