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Hands-on interactive activities (outdoor/indoor)

Whether you’re leading a one-time educational activity, or you’re developing a year-round science-based curriculum with recurring monitoring activities, you’ll find several valuable resources on this page.

Suitable for elementary classrooms to college labs to interpretive programs at national parks, these phenology-based educational activities can be implemented for just about any age and experience level.

Each resource is written for activity leaders, is easy to modify to accommodate additional educational topics, and includes the necessary materials to run the activity.



Interactive games and activities for any audience


Flight of the Pollinators (1.5MB)

Experience the importance of plant phenology from a pollinator’s perspective! Adaptable for other perspectives too (herbivores, frugivores, granivores, plant pathogens).
*Recorded data can be contributed to the national scientific effort to detect the effects of climate change on plants and animals (USA National Phenology Network).


Ethnophenology (1MB)

Experience plant phenology from the perspective of traditional medicine! Participants learn to search for seasonally-available plant structures (e.g., leaves, flowers, fruits) needed to treat common and historically-relevant health ailments.
*Recorded data can be contributed to the national scientific effort to detect the effects of climate change on plants and animals (USA National Phenology Network).


Phenology Relay Race (735KB)

This fun activity gets students working together and running while reinforcing their knowledge of plant phenology and monitoring protocols for the USA National Phenology Network.


Pulse of the Planet

All ages program   |   Aligned for 4th grade audiences

Developed in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, this 45-minute program will give you the tools to share phenology with all ages. Or download the program that's tailored for 4th grade students. Through hands on activities and real-life examples, “Pulse of the Planet,” demonstrates the relevance of phenology in our changing world.  This presentation can be given inside or outside with slight adjustments.


Standards-aligned lesson plans (aimed at 5th grade, adaptable for others)


        Lesson Plan I       |       Lesson Plan II

These two lesson plans are designed to teach students everything they’ll need to know to observe plant phenology and record data for the USA National Phenology Network. Written for phenology gardens, these activities can be conducted in any outdoor setting. Lesson Plan I engages students in using their senses to make and record observations about the environment. Students then adopt plants for future activities. Lesson Plan II engages students in observing plant phenology, culminating in recording phenological observations from their adopted plants for the USA National Phenology Network. This second lesson plan can then be repeated frequently for phenological monitoring, with additional activities (above and below) taking place afterward.


Basic observational skills for young scientists


Phenology Scavenger Hunt Activity

Participants search phenology gardens or outdoor habitats for seasonally-available plant structures (plant phenophases monitored by the USA National Phenology Network). Once found, participants photograph, illustrate, describe, or collect and curate the plant phenophases. 


Secret Observations Game

This activity highlights the importance of careful observation and scientific communication. In a fun and somewhat suspenseful setting, students provide descriptions of hidden objects to their peers, who then work to identify the object based only on that description.