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Working Outside My Comfort Zone, Part 2

Working Outside My Comfort Zone, Part 2

This is the second post in a series of posts about a summer science camp for teachers that I attended. I was really smitten by this next part of the summer science workshop! Phenology! What is phenology?Phenology refers to recurring plant and animal life cycle stages, or phenophases, such as leafing and flowering, maturation of agricultural plants, emergence of insects, and migration of birds. However, I like this simpler description of phenology, it is easily understood as ‘nature’s calendars’. It’s awesome how this hands-on important project-based science work can be done by all ages, all grades, all abilities! I like that we can share this work with our students and they can become Citizen Scientists and lifelong learners-beginning now! No matter where you are in the United States you and your students can join this project. You can learn more about the projects and register here at this link.

Citizen scientists are individual volunteers (students) or networks of volunteers, many of whom may have no specific scientific training,who perform or manage research-related tasks such as observation, measurement, or computation.”


coakes photo Signs of the Seasons is in international project,, and has many educational resources available for classroom use including maps, graphs, writing prompts and data gathering and reporting. One of the most famous projects for us in New England is Journey North about the flights and migration of the Monarch Butterfly. Here is the mission of Journey North, “Journey North engages students in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. K-12 students share their own field observations with classmates across North America. They track the coming of spring through the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, robins, hummingbirds, whooping cranes, gray whales, bald eagles— and other birds and mammals; the budding of plants; changing sunlight; and other natural events. Find migration maps, pictures, standards-based lesson plans, activities and information to help students make local observations and fit them into a global context. Widely considered a best-practices model for education, Journey North is the nation's premiere "citizen science" project for children. The general public is welcome to participate.” http://www.learner.org/jnorth/

What does all this have to do with technology? Our students are budding scientists! They have digital cameras at their disposal and a way to publish, write about and share their observations. Signs of the Seasons, Journey North, the USA National Phenology Network and an immediate project, get ready for Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere are all viable networks for gathering all this student data.You and your students can track monarchs, whooping cranes, hummingbirds, seasonal changes and even plant tulips for spring observations. This is all part of global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change.

You may even have a state run Signs of the Season project office in your area. In Maine, our project is connected to the University of Maine. So, don’t be the last one left indoors as you and your students head back to school, head outdoors and observe!

Resources:
A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to attend a Teachers on The Estuary workshop in Wells, ME at the Wells Estuarine Reserve. Read further if you are looking for science examples to use in your instruction in your classes. This science information is not just about understanding science, but about being a life long learner and steward of our planet.
http://umaine.edu/signs-of-the-seasons/
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/season/fall2011/index.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_science
http://www.usanpn.org/participate/observe
http://www.usanpn.org/
TechLearning post 1 Working outside my Comfort Zone!