Family Science Learning Overview

There are many things to study in our own neighborhoods. Scientists closely study what they call phenomena over time and across different places in order to understand and explain how our world works. Phenomena are observable events, behaviors, relations, or ideas that can be investigated. In this activity, you will brainstorm and make predictions about a phenomenon that can be observed in your own neighborhood ecosystem!


This is a two-part activity.

  • Part 1. As a family, brainstorm an event, behavior or relationship – a phenomenon-  that you are interested in observing over the course of several neighborhood walks. You may want to take a neighborhood walk to brainstorm what you wonder and notice. 
  • Part 2. Make a prediction about what you might observe if you closely study your phenomenon. You can draw or write your predictions using one of our sheets or a blank piece of paper.
  • Extension activity: Use LE 4.B Observing Our Phenomenon to guide your observations of your phenomenon in three different locations OR across three different times

What Can You Do To Support Learning?

  • Choose a space you want to walk with your family and consider what phenomena you see that your child might find interesting. Look around at their eye level to get a glimpse of what is around. You can keep a notebook of noticings and wonderings as you go on walks to keep track of ideas of phenomena to observe later.
  • Choose a phenomenon in your neighborhood that excites you and makes you wonder. The checklist on the choosing our phenomenon sheet can help you choose a phenomenon.
    • It is okay if you need to change your phenomenon choice as you go along to better suit your climate, season, location, or interests.

Activity Sheet

Connecting with Other Families

As you observe your phenomenon, take some pictures and share them with other families who are going on similar walks. If you have family or friends that live in another state or country, ask them to observe the same phenomenon and compare what you see!

Connect to Other Activities

Learning in Places Frameworks to Consider

LE 4 example: Choosing our phenomenon to observe, then observing and comparing our phenomenon