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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
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.

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.

Phenological Responses to Environmental Change (Lecture Notes)
Lecture notes for the Phenological Resonses to Environmental Change powerpoint presentation created by Alisa Hove, Brian Haggerty, and Susan Mazer at UC Santa Barbara.
Phenological Responses to Environmental Change (Lecture)
PDF of a powerpoint presentation created by Alisa Hove, Brian Haggerty, and Susan Mazer at UC Santa Barbara on biological significance of phenological schedules, phenological responses to environmental change, phenological mismatches induced by climate change, with examples and potential outcomes. 
 

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