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Nature's Notebook Activities
Explore Nature's Notebook materials created by the National Coordinating Office Staff and partners.
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|The Life of Corn||
The following activity can be used as an introduction to the concept of phenology. It demonstrates the life cycle of a corn plant, a plant familiar to many, putting this plant into a new perspective. The Life of Corn highlights the importance of the developmental life-cycle, something which all organisms experience in a predictable manner. The activity increases science literacy by teaching about life-cycle events, encourages people not only to recall experiences outdoors but also to spend more time outdoors and observe things they may not yet have experienced. This activity was adapted from Dandelion Life, presented by NatureBridge. It is adapatable to all grade levels.
USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-014-C
|Making Basic Phenology Observations||
The following activity is meant as an introduction to phenology, the study of recurring plant and animal life cycle stages. Students make scientific observations of plants and record their observations and record them for Nature's Notebook.
USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-011-C
|Volunteer Training Course Phenology Notes Worksheet||
This worksheet can be used in a Master Naturalist or Master Gardener course as an assignment to track phenology throughout the subject areas presented. Students can make notes each week during lectures and presentations about how phenology informs most, or all, of the subjects presented as part of the training course.
Because the form is editable, it can also be used in other volunteer training programs.
|Phenology Word Searches||
These word searches can be used as activities in the classroom or in an informal setting. The first, suitable for younger grades, contains six words to find and corresponding questions. The second has a list of words to find.
|Phenology Monitoring - Site Set up Planning Activity for Students||
This worksheet can be used as an activity in a high school classroom where students will be responsible for planning out the long-term phenology monitoring program to be established at the school or within the community. It includes a series of thought-provoking questions that students can discuss in groups. It will work best in conjuntion with other preliminary Nature's Notebook activities.
Background information on the physical characteristics of a site can be found on the second worksheet called, Guiding tips for site set up and Sugerencias para ubicar su sitio físico - en español
USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-006-C; 2014-006a-C (2014-006-CSP ; 2014-006a-CSP - Spanish)
|Phenology Calendar Activities||
Use this monthly phenology chart to record what species of animals you see, and what species of plants are leafing, flowering and fruiting. Use as a quick reference in addition to what you record in Nature's Notebook. Print it out on large paper and hang it in a classroom or nature center for an annual view of what you might see.
USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-003-C
You will also find listed above a Phenology Calendar Activity developed by our partners at Signs of the Seasons Maine where students can create a month by month calendar of phenological events.
|Phenology and Seasonal Change Study Guide||
This KWL (Know, Want to Know, Learned) Chart can be used prior to introducing a Nature's Notebook monitoring program in a classroom (grades 5-12). This activity elicits critical thinking skills and can be used in context with making weekly observations for a semester or year.
USA-NPN Education Publication Number: 2014-004-C
|Workshop or Classroom Evaluation & Reflection Activities||
These evaluation forms and/or reflection sheet can be used after conducting a classroom, training, or workshop session. Use them to encourage participants to reflect on their experience and think of any unanswered questions they may still have at the end of the session.
The reflective evaluation form provides a space for participants to indicate what could have been done better so educators can continuously improve upon their delivery. The questions provided in likert scale format will allow you to better understand the quality of your presentation.
The Post- and Pre- evaluation form can be used to measure knowledge gain during a short, one time workshop. Ask the participants to first reflect on what they learned during the workshop or class, then ask them to recall what they knew before attending.
Plan to set aside 5-10 minutes at the end of your workshop for presenting one of these evaluation forms.
|Species Phenophase Photo Guide Templates||
Phenophase Photo Guides are species-specific guides that provide a photo reference for each of the life cycle stages on the Nature's Notebook protocols. The National Coordinating Office is slowly working on creating useable guides that will eventually appear on our species profile pages. In the meantime, we invite you to help us by using our templates to create your own Phenophase Photo Guides. If you do make photoguides, please consider sharing them with us by emailing them to email@example.com.
You may also wish to consider using our Phenophase Primer for Training and Education. This Primer includes photographic examples of sample species in each of the Nature's Notebook plant functional groups.
Templates for creating Phenophase Photo Guides
The National Coordinating Office has created Phenophase Photo Guide templates for you to use in your programs. There are editable PowerPoint templates for several of the functional groups we identify in our protocol. You can begin by viewing the Species Profile page and reviewing the details for your species. In the top left corner of the printable datasheet linked from the species page, you will find the corresponding functional group for your species of choice.
The blank templates include the full definitions as described in our protocol. You do not need to edit the definitions (see the image below), simply add photos of your individual example of the species where indicated. You may wish to add your logo at the top of the page. Each of the plant functional group templates can be downloaded from the list at the top of this page.
Please do not re-interpret the phenophase definition and display what you believe to be an abridged version containing the same meaning - it compromises data quality by introducing inconsistency across observers. See the details below for more information.
For some guidelines for creating the Phenophase Photo Guides from these templates, download this PDF document.
At this time these Phenophase Photo Guide templates are designed only for plants. However, if you wish to create Phenophase Photo Guides for the animals you may be observing please be sure to use the exact definitions for each of the phenophases found in our protocols.
A few things to keep in mind when creating your own Phenophase Photo Guides
|Introduction to Journaling & Phenology Observation||
Making observations in nature is a way to connect with your environment. If you enjoy spending time in a garden or natural space, taking some time to record what you observe can be a valuable exercise. Observational records collected through time allow you to remember what you saw, what species visited your space, what the temperature or weather conditions were on a particular date during a particular season, and much more. Ultimately, observations can become a critical addition to a scientific study about how things may be varying or changing through time.
This activity is best suited to learners in Grades 9-12 and adults. The purpose is to familiarize the student with the concept of making accurate and careful observations in nature, as a pre-cursor to participating in the Nature's Notebook citizen science program. The questions contained within this lesson are directly related to the protocols found in Nature's Notebook and suggest the types of things the program asks participants to pay attention to and record for science.
If you are working with younger audiences, you may wish to simplify this activity or provide them with an opportunity to record a subset of these things in a age-appropriate nature journal.
La actividad es disponible en Español tambien:
Observar la naturaleza es una manera de conectarse con el ambiente natural. Cuando disfrutas pasar tiempo en un jardín o espacio natural, puedes observar fenómenos que ocurren a tu alrededor. Los registros de la naturaleza a largo plazo te ayudan a recordar tus experiencias, los animales que viste, cómo era el clima en esos días, y mucho más. Al final, las observaciones se pueden convertir en una importante base para el estudio científico sobre como nuestro mundo va cambiando.
La actividad es designada para estudiantes de 14 a 18 años y adultos. El objetivo es familiarizar el estudiante con el concepto de la toma cuidadosa de observaciones de la naturaleza como fundamento para participar en el programa Nature's Notebook. Las preguntas encontradas en la actividad se relacionan directamente con los protocolos de Nature's Notebook, y introducen los fenómenos naturales de enfoque.
Si usted trabaja con audiencias mas jóvenes, podría quitar algunas preguntas o cambiarlas para otras mas sencillas.
USA-NPN Education Publication Numbers: 2014-005-C; 2014-005a-C; 2014-005b-C (2014-005-CSP; 2014-005a-CSP; 2014-005b-CSP - Spanish)