Family Science Learning Overview

In this activity, you will make close observations of one phenomenon over time or in different places to better understand patterns and relationships in your neighborhood ecosystems.

A phenomenon is an event or relationship that we can observe, study, explain, and make predictions about.


Use your phenomenon from LE 4.A Choosing a Phenomenon, or go for a walk in your neighborhood and find something interesting that you can observe multiple times.

  • This activity can be done in two different ways:
    • OPTION 1: Observe in 3 Different Places: Make observations of your phenomena in different places. Notice of and how the different places affects your observation.
    • OPTION 2: Different Times: Observe your phenomenon in the same place over time. Try observing across the day (morning, afternoon, evening) or over multiple days, weeks, or months to see change occurring.
  • Draw or write what you observe using the sheet provided or a blank piece of paper. Include what is above, around, and below your phenomenon. Use arrows or words to show relationships. Use a new sheet for each observation.
  • Do this at least two more times. After your observations, compare and contrast what was similar or different using the sheet provided (page 7) or a blank piece of paper.

What Can You Do To Support Learning?

  • What kinds of roles and relationships do you notice in your neighborhoods? You might observe pollinators (bees, birds, etc), decomposers (worms, fungi, etc), bioengineers (ants, woodpeckers, humans, etc), and more!
  • Similarities and differences help us see patterns in our world. We begin to notice patterns when we are infants as we learn to recognize the important people, places, and beings in our lives. We naturally make sense of these patterns and give explanations for why or how our world works. This activity builds on this skill by focusing on systematic observations of our neighborhoods.
  • Your explanations can be initial guesses, ideas that you refine over time, or even stories that you tell to help explain what you observed and why you think that is. The goal is not to get the right answer, but to surface ideas and think deeply about the phenomenon you observed.

Activity Sheets

Connecting with Other Families

Share your observations with your extended family or other families and compare and contrast. Ask your friends and relatives to share a story related to the phenomenon you are studying.

Connect to Other Activities

Learning in Places Frameworks to Consider

  • Observations and Data Collection
LE 4 example of observing and comparing our phenomenon