USA NPN National Phenology Network

Taking the Pulse of Our Planet

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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. 

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 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!

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
Summarizing Observation Records by Participant

The resource walks the user through the creation of a PivotTable to determine which users in a group have submitted data, on what date, for which species. 

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-001-T

Getting Started with Nature's Notebook in the Classroom

This four page document is a guide to getting started with Nature's Notebook in your classroom. It includes tips for planning links to our webpages, directions on how to get started, and PRO TIPS for implementation. 

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-015-C

Habitat Scavenger Hunt

The following lesson can be used as an introduction to the concept of observation. Observations skills are critical to the field of science among other things! Knowing how to pay attention to what’s is going on around you is an important life skill. Taking the time to make observations is beneficial to health and wellness too.  It also introduces the concept of phenology through the observation of plants and animals in a habitat garden. The activity increases science literacy by teaching about observation skills, encourages people to pay attention to their surroundings, to spend more time outdoors and observe things they may not yet have experienced. 

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-013-C

Phenology Bingo

The following activity can be used as an introduction to the concept of phenology. The items on the phenology board are phenomena that participants have observed in nature, perhaps without even knowing their relationship to ecology, science, and climate, or their status as phenological events. Maybe they are fond childhood memories. The activity increases science literacy by teaching about life-cycle events, encouraging people to recall experiences outdoors and spend more time observing things they may not yet have experienced. It can be adapted to any grade level.

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-010-C

Observation Station

The following activity can be used as an introduction to the concept of observation. Observations skills are critical to the field of science, among other things! Knowing how to pay attention to what’s is going on around you is an important life skill. Taking the time to make observations is beneficial to health and wellness too. The activity increases science literacy by teaching about observation skills, encourages people to pay attention to their surroundings, to spend more time outdoors and observe things they may not yet have experienced. It can be adapted for any grade level.

USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-012-C

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