Learning About the Seasons with GLOBE and the Natural Inquirer

Contributed by Claire Griffith and Vanessa Galbraith, SUNY Fredonia students

Hello! Our names are Claire and Vanessa! We are both childhood education majors at SUNY Fredonia, future educators who can’t wait to start our careers. My name is Vanessa Galbraith. I am a junior and on the Fredonia softball team at Fredonia. My name is Claire Griffith and I am a senior at SUNY Fredonia. I am excited to begin student teaching next semester.

Investi-gator (Northern Research Station)

We chose to focus on the the Natural Inquirer issue Investi-gator (Northern Research Station) to connect with the Elementary GLOBE Seasons module. We both loved learning about the seasons in elementary school and found the Investi-gator articles to be extremely effective by giving useful strategies to help students learn about the seasons. These practice-based strategies are very effective and we plan on using them in our future classrooms.

The Investi-gator centers around upper-level elementary grade science. It allows students to think like real scientists by sharing their research. This resource is a great tool for students and educators in many ways. Each article is set up in the same way and includes meeting the scientist, a glossary, thinking about science, thinking about the environment, introduction, method, findings, discussion, reflection sections, and a FACtivity. Providing these sections not only helps the teacher format the information but allows students to receive the appropriate amount of content and materials to be successful.

page from the Investi-gator activity "Are You Red-dy to Change?"We would use all of the strategies provided in the "Are You Red-dy to Change? Learning What Things Affect Leaf Color" article. This article allows students to learn about the seasons by observing how the color of leaves change over time. The first part of the lesson introduces how to make observations and how important it is for students to gather data through observations. The students will make observations of the color of the leaves on deciduous trees to recognize change throughout the seasons. Students will develop an understanding about when and why leaves change in color.

We would then introduce the content the students needed to learn to understand this process of why and when the color of the leaves change. Some strategies we would implement for students to understand this process include discussion, the FACtivity, and reflection. For example, the discussion includes information such as collecting and studying the data about leaves and air temperature. This method helps scientists estimate when the leaves will change.

One activity that the students will complete that focuses on the leaves changing colors is through the FACtivity. Students are given a piece of paper in four sections. The students will color what the leaves look like on four dates throughout the fall. The activity allows students to see a visual representation of the leaves changing color through time. The students will then discuss the activity with the class and what they discovered through their work.

Elementary GLOBE Seasons Module

Elementary GLOBE has modules for educators with effective resources to help engage students. Each module includes a science-based, fictional storybook and learning activities.

This website also includes a teacher implementation guide that contains an overview of Elementary GLOBE and the different connections to literacy and other areas of curriculum content. It also shows how to use effective science journals, connects content from the scientific inquiry to the elementary curriculum, and explains how the standards align.

Student activity sheet 2 for the Elementary GLOBE activity "All Year Long"The activity we chose to focus on from the Elementary GLOBE Seasons module is called “All Year Long.” This lesson focuses on the concept of using a science journal to record information. Using this literacy strategy of writing is a great way for students to gain comprehension skills. The journal allows students to collect data to make scientific observations. This tool of journaling also lets students construct observational drawings in nature and compare their results in this case throughout the seasons. The intended outcome of this lesson is that the students will have an understanding of seasonal changes in a particular habitat. The students will have learned how to make observations, record data, make connections and share organized information.

GLOBE and Natural Inquirer Connections

These resources are connected by providing educators with high quality content that connects students to nature and their local environments. The resources use similar practice-based strategies, such as interactive activities, personal connections, journals and more, and they offer options to include literacy instruction through reading and writing skills. As you can see, we included a variety of literacy tools throughout our instruction. We both agree that the Natural Inquirer Investigator provided some great resources that we plan to incorporate into our future classrooms. This resource provides an easy-to-use layout that includes everything we need to instruct a successful and engaging lesson.

NGSS Connections: Disciplinary Core Ideas

For the “All Year Long” activity, students describe the seasonal changes in a local habitat by making detailed observations, recording data, comparing, and sharing information with others. From the Elementary GLOBE teacher implementation guide:

  • LS4.D Biodiversity and Humans

Image captions (top to bottom):

  1. The first page from the Investi-gator activity "Are You Red-dy to Change?"
  2. Student activity sheet 2 for the Elementary GLOBE activity "All Year Long"

Acknowledgement: This material is based upon work supported by USDA Forest Service Eastern Region (Agreement no. 20-PA-11090100-026). Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the USDA Forest Service.

This blog post is part of the GLOBE and the Natural Inquirer Crosswalk Project. Other blog posts are available on the U.S. GLOBE Teacher Resources page.

Natural Inquirer issues can be downloaded and classroom sets of many issues can be ordered from their website. Find the complete list of issues available and instructions for ordering on the Natural Inquirer website.

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