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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
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). 

Phenology Scavenger Hunt Activity

Participants search phenology gardens or outdoor habitats for seasonally-available plant structures (plant phenophases monitored by the USA National Phenology Network). Once found, participants photograph, illustrate, describe, or collect and curate the plant phenophases.  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).

La actividad es disponible en Español tambien:

- Actividad

Phenology Gardens - Lesson Plan II

These two lesson plans are designed to teach students everything they’ll need to know to observe plant phenology and record data for the USA National Phenology Network. Written for phenology gardens, these activities can be conducted in any outdoor setting.  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).

Phenology Gardens - Lesson Plan I

These two lesson plans are designed to teach students everything they’ll need to know to observe plant phenology and record data for the USA National Phenology Network. Written for phenology gardens, these activities can be conducted in any outdoor setting.  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). 

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