nature lesson

Create a nature journal with this fun and scientific lesson plan. Students will study plants and animals and create a nature journal filled with sketches, notes and other exciting discoveries!

Students conduct a scientific study of plant and animal life in their own backyard or neighborhood by documenting it with sketches, field notes and research, just as Jane Goodall did as a young girl.

Grade Level:
K–3rd grade
Time Required: 3 45-min. class periods




Brushes – medium and small
Black waterproof pen
Faber-Castell 9×12 Watercolor Paper
Faber-Castell Connector Paintbox

National Core Arts Standards

Creating: #1, 2, 3
Presenting/Producing: #4, 5, 6
Responding: #7, 8
Connecting: #10


ME…JANE written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
This 2011 Caldecott winner is a charming and inspiring picture book biography of Jane Goodall. It’s about Jane as a child, and her fascination with and personal observations of the natural world around her. In this lesson plan, students create a journal page with their own sketches, observations and research notes of plant, animal and insect life in their own backyard or neighborhood just as Jane did.
Environmental study ideas and activities can also be found by going online to the Jane Goodall Institute and her Roots & Shoots program.

“Jane learned all that she could about the animals and plants she studied in her backyard and read about in books.”

Nature Journal Lesson1. Begin by instructing students to choose three things from their yard or surrounding area. Students can sketch on location, bring the specimen home to sketch, or sketch from a picture taken.

2. Next, demonstrate how to design the layout; this is the placement of the drawings, the title (My Backyard, At The
Park, On My Walk, etc…) and notes on the page.

3. Tell students to loosely sketch their specimen with a pencil. Look closely for detail. Notice how things are shaped
and proportioned.

Nature Journal Lesson

4. When satisfied, students trace over their drawings with a black water-proof pen. Demonstrate how a slow, careful hand gives the single line character. Let the line break here and there.

5. Next, students add color to their drawings. Paint, colored pencils, markers or crayons may be used.

6. Finally, students use a pencil to add their observations and research notes. Books and
the internet can be valuable resources.

We hope you enjoy this art lesson! We’d love to see your student or child’s artwork!  Tag us on social media #GreatArtStartsHere

To download the Me….Jane Lesson in a PDF file, click here.


Nature Journal Lesson


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