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Resources for Higher Education
Where do I begin?
Technology in education allows for collaboration in new and exciting ways, including remote data collection and analysis, collaborative webspaces and blogging. Developing a monitoring project that meets multiple course objectives will not only create a sustainable program but provide opportunities for cross-course and community collaboration.
Some faculty choose to do a one-time introduction to phenology and using Nature's Notebook. Others choose to create a semester-long project where students make observations, develop hypotheses about what they are seeing on campus, record their observations in Nature's Notebook, and then analyze data at the end of the semester. Doing a project such as this, over multiple years, helps to create a base of observations that faculty and students can use for comparison. We recommend creating a Group for your campus, to which you can add multiple sites, and invite individuals to make and enter observations on their own. You can track who is monitoring, for course credit, by becoming an administrator of the group. Consider partnering with other local non-profits and government agencies to provide multiple monitoring experiences.
Any semester-long implementation of a Nature's Notebook monitoring program can help address the Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education call for transformation. It teaches science and applications, modeling, critical thinking, and promotes learner-centered investigations and inquiry.
It would be wonderful to hear about universities encouraging monitoring in multiple classes, over multiple years, so students entering as freshmen can observe throughout their career at the school and then, as seniors, truly see what their data show and how things have or have not changed.
- Questions on how to get started? Contact our Education Coordinator.
- If you have ideas to share on how you implemented Nature's Notebook, let us know!
More Curriculum Ideas
Biological science courses use phenology monitoring in lab settings to track seasonal changes on campus throughout the semester and over multiple years. Dendrology courses use phenology to teach tree identification. Ecology courses use phenology data to teach statistical analysis and applied concepts such as climate change. Pre-service teacher courses use citizen science and Nature’s Notebook to provide future teachers with ideas about how to incorporate environmental education into their classrooms.
The table below includes links to some examples of how phenological monitoring is being used in higher education. On the link for Sample Nature's Notebook Higher Education Semester-long Program, you can see some recent examples of syllabi created and executed by faculty teaching at the college level.
Don't forget to ask students to explore the data using our online tools. The Visualization Tool allows students to summarize their data and compare it to across geographic locations. The Phenology Observation Portal allows students to download the data via an excel file and work with it to analyze trends through time.
View Nature's Notebook curriculum materials developed for higher education students in the table below.
|Phenophase Photo Guide Activities||
This activity introduces adult audiences to the concept of taking useable photos of phenophases for identification. Use this activity with a group of docents at a Local Phenology Program who may also be able to help collect photos to complete the photo guides.
USA-NPN Curriculum Resource Number: 2018-002-C
|Phenophase Scavenger Hunt Activity - By Michelle Coe||
To acclimate people to looking closely at the plants and animals for observation in Nature's Notebook, use this activity outdoors.
Print out the letters to the word PHENOPHASE on 8 1/2 by 11 paper, one letter per page. On separate pages create descriptions or definitions that start with each of the letters in the word PHENOPHASE. Use brightly colored paper and laminate the cards for use later.
Hide the description cards in the garden or around the site. Retain the letter cards to pass out to the group. Have people work in pairs or in threes. Do not tell them that the word spells PHENOPHASE.
Depending upon the letter selected the team has to seek a card with a definition that matches the letter on their card. Once they locate it they should find and identify the item described and have a conversation about how it is related to phenology and the importance of it to the ecosystem.
Bring everyone back together to debrief the activity after they've found their cards. Have them arrange themselves such that they are spelling out the word PHENOPHASE. Ask each team to share what they found.
This activity was developed by Michelle Coe from the Community and School Garden Program at the University of Arizona.
|Sample agenda for 3-hour field lab using Nature's Notebook at a Local Phenology Program location||
Here is a sample outdoor-only workshop conducted at a Local Phenology Program location. This 3-hour workshop followed a 3-hour classroom session with hands-on activities designed to introduce participants (in this case, Master Naturalists) to Nature's Notebook observing. See the classroom session materials in our workshop archive.
Included here are pre-workshop information and email, the sample agenda, the phenophase scavenger hunt activity, a phenophase photo guide activity, and a final evaluation. For this lab we used the Pre-Post Evaluation form on the Evaluation Activities link.
Materials used for this session, in addition to those included:
|Program Mapping Worksheet||
Need help mapping out your ideas, outcomes, and objectives for your long-term Nature's Notebook monitoring program? Use our Program Mapping Worksheet as a guide.
|USA-NPN Media Release Form||
Hosting an event or workshop and want to share some photos of the event with us? Be sure to complete the USA-NPN Media Release Form with your photo or video subjects. Even if you are asking folks to complete a Media Release Form for your organization, you'll still need to ask them to sign our form as well so we can post smiling faces on our website.
If your event and photos involve youth under the age of 18, be sure to get a parent or guardian's signature on the form.