Welcome Outdoor Field Scientists! There are many different kinds of Scientists in the world, but they all use some of the same basic skills. There is no specific order they must be practiced, but all good field scientists:
Student Scientists Will:
- Ask Questions
- Make Connections
- Discover Science Mysteries
- Make Explanations Based on Evidence
Student Scientists Will:
- Increase curiosity by directly engaging with the natural world.
- Learn that descriptive observations are distinct from statements of opinion or identification.
- Make observations, ask questions, and relate findings to past experiences.
- Communicate their observations by recording their findings in a field journal.
Let's Get Started!
Watch these student scientists use their observation skills in the great outdoors!
Check out these examples of what your journal page could look like!
Procedure (20-30 mins):
1) Head outside! Maybe you want to go on a hike, walk to a nearby park, or just hang out in your own yard. You may want to invite a friend or family member to join. Be sure and ask permission if you’re leaving your home, and be sure to bring a mask if you’re meeting up with other student scientists!
2) Choose a leaf that you are interested in observing more closely.
3) What do you notice? Take one minute to make observations (mentally, or out loud if you have a partner) using your senses. Use your magnifying glass to really observe the details.
4) In your journal, draw an accurate picture of your leaf. Include notes on measurements (length, width, etc). Take about ten minutes to add as many details as you can. (Do not taste your leaf.)
5) Write at least three notes about any details that might not be included in your drawing: texture, color, smell, sounds, etc.
6) What does it remind you of? Write down at least two things your leaf reminds you of (the whole leaf or certain parts of it). Maybe it looks/feels like something you’ve seen/felt before? Maybe you’re reminded of something you know about this type of leaf?
7) What do I wonder about this leaf? Write down at least two questions you have about this leaf after making these careful observations.
8) Quiz yourself. Once you’re done, mix your leaf in with several other similar leaves. Then, see if you can find your leaf.
9) Share with Others. If possible, share your journal entries with another person. Bonus! Repeat #8 with them. See if they can find your leaf based on your journal entries alone.
10) Round Two! Choose a totally new & unique item of your choice to observe and record. Maybe this new item is a different kind of plant or something more three dimensional? Maybe it’s a rock, or a fungus, or from an animal? The possibilities are endless. Supercharge your curiosity!
Print this page, or use your own blank journal pages
Label your detail drawing.
We know getting out of the house can be hard from some folks but rest assured that you can still practice these skills using everyday items from your own house! Try using a house plant, a button, a piece of art, etc.
Be sure to watch the wrap up video with me, Acer!
Don't forget to put these skills into practice when you......
- compare fungi
- measure pinecones
- listen to bird songs
- take your science kit with you on adventures