Emma Pesis, Brad Street
Applied Science, Environmental Science, Life Science, Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Lower Primary, Upper Primary, Middle School, High School
  • ClimeTime
  • Engineering
  • Explore
  • Investigation
  • NGSS
  • Nebraska Department of Education
  • Next Generation Science Standards
  • Observation
  • Phenomena
  • Reflect
  • climetime
  • ne-science
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    Education Standards

    Phenomenal Investigations Activity

    Phenomenal Investigations Activity


    An adaptable exploratory and reflective activity that works with all ages and uses the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS*), Asking Question and Defining Problems Practice and one of several possible Crosscutting Concepts to explore students’ awareness, prior knowledge and cultural experiences related to a phenomenon or Disciplinary Core Idea .

    Decide on Focus: Review the NGSS section at the end of this document. What is the phenomenon or core idea you want your students to focus on during this activity? Which crosscutting concept will best help think about it?

    Teacher Walk-About: Consider the following questions as you walk your schoolyard:

    • What can you find that relates to your focus?
    • Where do you want to do this activity?
    • What boundaries will you want to establish?
    • What distractions could be a concern?  (e.g. recess times and play equipment)
    • What safety concerns will you need to address? (e.g. adjacent to traffic)
    • How much time do you need to plan to get to and from the site?

    Decide on Process: There are a variety of options for how you approach the observation time with your students (depending on their age, grade level and language proficiency). After reading through the lesson, consider:

    • Do you want your students to record notes on the student field sheet?
    • Do you want students to write their observations solo or work with a partner?
    • Have students answer one question at a time or skip around as connections are made?
    • How do you want to follow up on this activity back in the classroom?  See the ideas on Page 3.