Classroom Phenology: Using the Environment as a Source of Data and Observations
In this semester-long activity, students will record daily temperatures, precipitation amounts, observations of weather patterns, shadow length of a set object, and other observations. Students will also do a season-long weekly observation of a schoolyard tree. Students will maintain a classroom phenology binder as a class, and create individual nature journals for their own observations. The data students collect will be used for various extension activities in math and science. For example, students will compare their data through graphing and calculations with the data found in the Weatherguide calendar. Students will also use this data to support science texts about seasons, phases of the moon, and weather phenomena in urban Minnesota.
1. Students will observe and become aware of their natural world through quantitative measurements and qualitative descriptions.
2. Students will organize their data in tables, graphs, and paragraphs.
3. Students will analyze their data by comparing it to averages on the Weatherguide calendar.
1. Observing the natural world through science. In particular, observing weather patterns, plant life cycles, and sun/moon cycles.
2. Using the scientific method.
3. Becoming familiar and comfortable within nature.
Context for Use
Necessary equipment includes a "weather station" that is undisturbed and has a thermometer and rain gauge (or graduated cylinder). Other resources include the Weatherguide calendar from the Freshwater Society and Kare 11, a binder for keeping phenology notes, and nature journals for the students.
Resource Type: Activities:Field Activity, Classroom Activity
Special Interest: Field-Based Teaching and Learning
Grade Level: Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Enhancing your Teaching:Teaching in the Field, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Atmospheric Science, Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Weather
Description and Teaching Materials
In addition to the quantitative measurements of the natural world, students will also do a qualitative study through observing the phenology of a schoolyard tree. Their observations of the tree, and other Earth Science unit topics, will be recorded in their personal nature journals.
Teaching Notes and Tips
3. I. A. Understanding science is a tool for investigating the natural world.