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Fun with "Five Minute Phenology"

written by: JenniferB•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 6/8/2009

The study of phenology, or the science dealing with relationships between climate and periodic biological phenomena, offers a fun and engaging ongoing activity for your students.

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    What is phenoogy?

    The study of phenology, or the science dealing with relationships between climate and periodic biological phenomena, offers a fun and engaging ongoing activity for your students. Whether you teach 1st grade or 12th grade, phenology is a fun and exciting way for your students to develop an eye for nature, weather and biology.

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    The Plan

    In observing phenological phenomena, students simply have to learn how to look. Many students are oblivious to the world around them, and a study of phenology offers a strategy for teaching them how to see the changing annual climate around them. It is best to begin a phenology unit at the beginning of the year. Whether you live in Florida or California, the next nine months will offer an unlimited opportunity for weather change and observation.During the first few weeks of school is the perfect time to begin a Phenology Unit. This unit can carry on throughout the entire school year as it takes only a few minutes each day.

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    Materials:

    Large Wall CalendarPersonal notebook (I per student)Five minutes per day

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    Step 1.

    During the first week of school, take your class outside (weather permitting) and guide them in recording observations about the local environement. Encourage them to write down what they observe about the temperature, local flora, wind and sounds (birds, insects, etc.). These are the foundational observations that will build a set of phenological observations.

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    Step 2.

    Require that each student record observations about the climate and environment around them at least three times per week (the amount may vary depending on age). Observations are to be completed in their backyards, on the way to school and in the schoolyard. The goal of this activity is to get your students to observe the world around them.

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    Step 3.

    At the beginning of each class, begin with “five minute phenology". Ask students to share their observations about temperature, precipitation, and other general ecological observations. Record observations on a large calendar and once you have been carrying out the phenological activity for more than one year, you can discuss comparisons of each day among other years.