Cultivating Keen Observers
Teaching with Journey North Photos, Video Clips, the Natural World


What kinds of student questions might this photo inspire?
Observation — the Heart of inquiry
Observation is the first step in the scientific process. To extend your students' "backyard" observations, Journey North features a wealth of stunning photos and video clips. You can use them to engage students, build observation skills, inspire scientific thinking, and create fertile ground for discussions and new questions!

Teaching Materials: Use These Again and Again!

  • Questions to Inspire Close Observation: Draw from this list to build students' observation and thinking skills. Questions >>
  • Student Handout Gallery: You can use this collection of observation handouts for many purposes. Print and pass out copies to guide observations of Journey North photos, video clips, and the natural world. Gallery >>
Handout Examples
Keen Observers: Student Handout Gallery

Journey North has hundreds of engaging photos. Click for some samples.
Assessing Student Observations
You can use the question list and observation handouts to assess your students' thinking and growth. Ask yourself these types of questions as you review their responses:
  • Are students’ responses increasingly detailed?
  • Can students increasingly distinguish between observations and inferences?
  • Do they increasingly use visual evidence (along with past knowledge) to support their explanations?