Your Journey North Focus
migrations or other studies should my class follow? Which ones are recommended
for the grade level I teach? How much time will each take? As you review
North Project Descriptions and Year-at-a-Glance
Timeline and begin to plan your Journey North focus, be sure to read
Your Curriculum Goals
to meet local, state, and national standards makes this a vital step.
Are butterfly life cycles a key science focus for your grade level? Is
map-reading part of your geography curriculum? Do you organize your curriculum
around integrated themes?
Your responses to these will help you choose Journey North studies to
tackle. (All projects support using an inquiry approach to science.) Consider
using Journey North to bring these types of teaching themes to life:
our Journey North Correlations to
National Standards for links to lessons and other Journey North features
that address national standards in science, math, reading and language
arts, and geography.
Your Grade Level
Each Journey North Study can be used for a variety of grade levels. Mystery
Class is the one project that is most appropriate for grades 4 and higher
because of the calculations required. However, many early primary teachers
have used it successfully with students. Here are some features and strategies
for adapting Journey North to your students' developmental levels:
students to one of our studies via our nonfiction "Journey North
for Kids" booklets, which you can read as a class or individually.
We currently have these reading booklets for Monarchs,
Whales, and Plants
(tulips). Watch for more this season!
- When you
receive Journey North News updates, select only the highlights and activities
that are most appropriate for your focus and grade range.
- Read how
other teachers have adapted Journey North for their grade levels in
our Teacher Advice section.
- In Journey
North activities and lessons, look for specific grade level adaptations
Projects: Start Small
Teachers who have participated in Journey North overwhelmingly advise
new teachers to start small. You can always add more next year! Involve
your students in choosing projects, when appropriate. Here are some common
just one project that supports your curriculum goals. Consider
a project such as tulips, monarchs, or other signs of spring, that enables
students to make observations in the schoolyard. Your class can get
their feet wet online by reading weekly updates and viewing real-time
maps, or they can dig deeper by reporting sightings and tackling challenge
questions and activities.
an animal migration project with the tulip plant study. This
enables students to draw parallels between what drives spring's arrival
in the plant and animal worlds.
and Exchange. Students can track the seasons' progressions
by observing seasonal changes in sunlight, temperature, plant growth,
animal life, and more. The Phenology
Data Exchange (good for grades K-5) enables them to share these
observations with another classroom.
Checklist and/or Spring
Checklist. These can inspire students to watch
for certain migrations and signs of spring/fall. Even if you don't track
a migration yourself, please send your observations so we have enough
data to make meaningful maps.
spring via highlights from a number of Journey North species.
See the Highlights of the Season
the Monarch Migration project with the Symbolic Monarch Migration.
the Mystery Class project with another study to help students
see the connections between physcial science (light, climate) and life
science. (Mystery Class is most often used by grades 5 and above.)
one migration tracked by satellite (e.g., eagles) and one that enables
students to make local observations (e.g., robins).
Sources of Support
Think about potential resource people in your school or community who
could help you implement a particular Journey North project. Here are
the Timing and Duration of the Projects
- A local
garden club or center might be willing to work with your class on putting
in tulip gardens.
from an environmental center might help students raise monarchs in the
classroom to supplement their Journey North experience.
teachers in your school may want to collaborate on a specific Journey
North project so you and your students can share resources and experiences.
- High school
or university geography students might want to mentor your group on
the Mystery Class project.
offers a broad overview of project timelines. The sample
calendars for Fall's
Journey South and Spring's
Journey North detail when news updates will be posted for each study.
(These are generally weekly.) The timing and pace of migrations vary. The
chart on the right shows how many sightings of each species per month are
typically reported. These will give you an idea of when each project is
most active. Because the timing of fall and spring varies by location, only
you can estimate when your young observers should be most active.
at Different Times
Your Classroom Context and Internet Access
You can integrate Journey North if you are a self-contained classroom
teacher, library/media specialist, or science specialist. How and how
often you do so will depend on many factors: your curriculum goals, students'
developmental levels, available time, and your Internet access.
In an ideal
setup, you would have multiple classroom computers with high-speed Internet
access. The online graphics, reporting forms, and links will capture students'
imaginations and allow them to research areas of interest. Computer access
also enables students to work more independently.
you and your students can have a robust experience even with limited online
access. Here are some ways in which teachers have set it up:
- Take students
to a computer lab to log onto Journey North at least once a week.
the class around one machine for weekly updates.
- Have small
groups work together at one or a few computers on specific Journey North
tasks and challenges. The rest of the class can be otherwise engaged.
Journey North reports, updates, and maps on a home computer and bring
them to class, or save selected pages to a disk and bring that into
Your Fall/Spring Calendar
Once you have selected the migrations and fall/spring events your class
will follow, make your own calendar. Use the dates provided on the full
Journey North program calendar and include only those events your class
will track. Involve students in organizing this.
After more than a decade, we've come to expect the unexpected: Animals
migrate later than anticipated, the batteries in satellite transmitters
lose power, or an unusually warm season changes the timing of events by
recognize the inconvenience such unanticipated events can cause
in a classroom full of students. Journey North will help you turn them
into teachable moments by sharing research ideas, tips for puzzling out
these problems, and links to our "expert" scientists. Unexpected
events can generate much enthusiasm in the classroom and enable
students to gain an appreciation for the challenges scientists face. Here's
what Patricia Freeney of Raymond, Maine, has to say about this:
it made for creative last-minute lesson planning, the fact that the
things didn't always go as planned showed the students what it's like
to work with real science. In fact, that is the best part of Journey
North. The students are learning about things that are happening right
now in their world. This is inherently motivating, just as the content
of migratory animals is."