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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 K-4 Classroom Teachers

Phenology and Nature’s Notebook can also be used to teach subjects other than science.  Phenology can also support the following standards:

  • 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 phenology monitoring program to your classroom is easy if your project is well planned. Consider involving other like-minded teachers and staff 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. 

 


 

Curriculum Ideas

There are many hands-on citizen science programs available for phenology monitoring, and some are perfectly suited for K-4 audiences.  Visit our partners’ websites for ideas about how to incorporate phenology education in the classroom.

More Curriculum Ideas

View Nature's Notebook curriculum materials developed for these grade levels in the table below.

Title Description
Phenology Walk or Trail Proposal Form

This Proposal Form may be useful when developing a Walk or Trail for a Group site at a K-12 school. It provides a place to document what you will do and is sharable with school stakeholders who may be interested in the program. 

Use this Planning Guide with the Local Phenology Program Planning Guide

Nature's Notebook Program Planning Activity

Before you begin your program planning activity, read through our guidance document to get some ideas for developing program goals and outcomes. 

The Program Planning Worksheet helps you to begin planning a long-term phenology monitoring program using Nature's Notebook in the field. A "program" is a series of activities designed to help you achieve a set of outcomes. You can include ideas for short (1 year or less), medium (1-3 years), or long (3-5 years or more) goals and desired outcomes. 

You should use this worksheet to help think through a relevant science or management question that your program will help to answer. 

What are the resources you have and what do you need to obtain in order to do the activities you'd like to do? How are you going to share this information with your community and involve as many people in the process to make it sustainable? 

Use either the Program Mapping Worksheet or the Logic Model Worksheet to help you further articulate your objectives. Then, utilize the Action Planning Worksheet to make a plan for achieving your short-term outcomes.

We also offer this planning document in Spanish if you are working with Spanish audiences. 

USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2017-003-C; 2014-007-CSP

 

Needs Assessment Worksheet

Needs assessments are an important element of developing a site-based long-term phenology monitoring program. Thinking through the reasons you wish to utilize Nature’s Notebook for natural resource management, scientific, or educational purposes will help you to develop something sustainable. Even better would be to identify researchers, land managers, educators, or outreach providers in your community to collaborate on a monitoring program. If you are a researcher or land manager, reach out to educators who can help you recruit and train people to collect the data you need to answer your questions and make better decisions. If you are an educator, find a researcher or land manager who may find data you collect with your participants of value. 

For more information about the process and to share your form with the National Coordinating Staff, visit the Needs Assessment webpage

USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2017-002-C

Short Introductory Slide Decks

This series of introductory slide decks can be edited for your use in Nature's Notebook workshops or other presentations. 

Voice-over videos of the slide decks can be found here

USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2016-001-W

2016 UArizona Insect Festival Tabling Materials

This activity was set up on two 6 foot tables. We utilized four stereo microscopes (dissecting microscopes; a 10x and a 30x lens on a turret) across one table. On each microscope we displayed a life cycle stage of the giant swallowtail butterfly (Papilio cresphontes): a few eggs on a citrus leaf, a live caterpillar in a petri dish with a leaf, an empty chrysalis, and a pinned adult butterfly. We also included a butterfly habitat with several live adult butterflies - a swallowtail and a few queen butterflies, and a milkweed in bloom for a nectar resource. Additionally, we had samples of citrus plants and a variety of P. cresphontes instars available for display. 

The worksheet for the microscope was designed for students to record what they observed through the scope, either by drawing it or circling the life cycle stage that they viewed. 

The second datasheet was for older students who were interested in reading the caterpillar phenophase definitions and circling the details exhibited by the captive caterpillars. 

We also provided information about Nature's Notebook, the local Tucson Phenology Trail and sites, displayed information for teachers, including curriculum materials, and had a sign up sheet for more information. 

The event was from 11 am until 4 pm. There were about 250 youth who visited our table with their parents. The average age for the visitors was 3-5 years of age, although there were elementary age youth as well (grades 1-4). To a lesser degree there were middle school age youth (grades 5-6).  

 

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