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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
How to use the Observation Deck's Phenology Calendars

Learn how to customize your own Phenology Calendars that appear on your Observation Deck. These calanders visually represent data you have collected and allow you to compare up to three species' phenophases at a time. They can be saved as a file, or set to automatically load each time you come to your Observation Deck.

USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2016-004-T

Guiding tips for setting up an outdoor Nature's Notebook site

This tip sheet can be referenced when setting up a new Nature's Notebook observation site in the outdoors. The content is from the monitoring guidelines established by the USA-NPN, and can also be found on the Our Reports Page in the How to Observe Handbook (EE-2013-001) Resource. The content begins on page 7, Section 2a. Choose a Site through page 14, Section 2b. Choose Plant and Animal Species

USA-NPN Education Resource Number: 2014-006a-C; 2014-006a-CSP - Spanish

Phenology Activity Book for Children

This activity book is designed for youth ages 4-12.  It includes a variety of activites related to the study of phenology, or life cycle events of plants and animals, which can be used on their own or together. An answer key is provided as a seperate file.

Simple phenophase definitons and datasheets for use when NOT entering data in Nature's Notebook

Are you an educator seeking to work with younger audiences who may not be able to use our standard suite of phenophases and their full definitions? Maybe you'd like to develop interpretive signs at your park and just want to describe briefly the phases which can be observed if participating in Nature's Notebook

These simple phenophase defintions and datasheets can be used for educational activities to help beginner participants understand the phenophases for each species in Nature's Notebook.  

These are NOT meant to be substituted for our standard phenophase definition sheets and field datasheets for the collection of observations. The full phenophase definitions were designed to standardize the way data are collected by observers participating in our nation-wide program. Changing the wording and content leaves too much room for different interpretations of what is meant to be observed when participating in Nature's Notebook, thus compromising the consistency and quality of the data in our database. Researchers who use the data want to be confident that information collected in Maine or Florida or Oregon is as similar as possible, and the only way to make that happen is to ensure everyone is starting from the same place in terms of the phenophase definitions. For more information about how and why the standardized phenophases in Nature's Notebook were developed, please read our reports in the USA-NPN Technical Series entitled, "USA-NPN Phenology Protocols" and the "Plant and Animal Phenophase Definitions."

Thus, if you are using paper datasheets in the field and fully participating in Nature's Notebook, please refer to the datasheets and phenophase definition sheets linked from the profile page of each species in our searchable Plants and Animals Species List.

2015 UArizona Insect Festival Booth Materials

This tabling event was designed for the 2015 Arizona Insect Festival. The materials and activities included utilized the concept of life cycles to engage participants in making observations on insects. 

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