Grade 3 Nature journal | BCHydro Power Smart for Schools
Sustainability New

Nature journal

Go outside and explore your surroundings and talk about the connection to nature and caring for the environment.

Activity Image
1.5 hours
Hands on


Play a game to practice observation skills before going outside to explore nature. In sit spots, over two 45-minute sessions, students complete a series of activities in nature journals that engage the senses and their curiosity. Come together in a circle to talk about the connection to nature and caring for the environment.


What you'll need

  • "Nature journal”, one for each student
  • "Nature journal teacher's guide" handout
  • "Nature journal assessment" handout
  • Each student should have:
    • A pencil and eraser
    • Clipboard or hard surface to write on 1m length of string 

Before the activity

Print a class set of “Nature journal”. They are designed to be printed double-sided. The pages can be assembled, folded in half, and stapled along the fold to hold them together in the style of a book.

Practice observation skills

  1. Before going outside, play a game to practice observation skills: 
    • Find approximately 15 small objects and arrange them at the front of the class where everyone can see them. Give students a minute to look at the objects, then have them turn around. 
    • Remove one object. Students turn around and try to identify which object is missing. 
    • When they know what it is, they can sit down. Wait until most students are sitting and then have someone volunteer to identify the missing object. 
    • Replace the object and repeat the game. 

Sit spots

  1. Before you go outside, explain sit spots and review the nature journal. 
  2. A sit spot is a special place to slow down, observe, be curious and connect with nature. 
  3. Each student will have their own spot to work on their nature journal. This is a place where the focus is on their surroundings and not on other students. 
  4. They should be far enough away from others that there is no talking. 
  5. The sit spots need to be in a place where they can hear and/or see the teacher. 
  6. Outline any relevant safety considerations while outside. 
  7. Review the activities in the nature journal with the students using the “Nature journal teacher’s guide”.
  8. Students have two sessions in their sit spots to complete the activities in their journal and allow time to explore and stay focused. 
  9. Decide on a signal to use to let the students know when time is up.

Nature journals

  1. Go outside. Establish boundaries for the activity and have students find their sit spots. 
  2. You may place students in their spots to spread them out or give them time to find their own spot.
  3. When they find their spot, students take five deep breaths and look around to notice what they see, hear, feel and smell before starting the journal activities.
  4. Give students time to work on their journal activities. Call them after 20 to 30 minutes or when you notice them start to lose focus. 
  5. Take them out a second time on another day to finish the activities in the nature journal. 
  6. After 20 to 30 minutes or when they are finished, call them to come together for a circle discussion. 


  1. Gather students together to talk about their sit spots. Use some of the following prompts:
    • What did you think about during the sit spot? 
    • How did you feel during the sit spot?
    • What did you notice about nature? 
    • What was your favourite moment, activity, or thing about the sit spot?
    • How can you help care for nature and the environment?  

Modify or extend this activity

  • In small groups, have students think of things from nature and play a game of 20 questions before or after the sit spots. 
  • Return to sit spots throughout the year and have students make observations related to their senses, notice patterns of local plants, birds, trees, animals etc., how they feel and how it relates to their connection to nature.

Curriculum Fit

Grade 3 Science 

Big idea

  • Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact with their ecosystems. 


  • Biodiversity in the local environment

Curricular competencies

Questioning and predicting
  • Demonstrate curiosity about the natural world
  • Observe objects and events in familiar contexts
  • Identify questions about familiar objects and events that can be investigated scientifically
Processing and analyzing data and information
  • Experience and interpret the local environment
  • Sort and classify data and information using drawings or provided tables
  • Express and reflect on personal or shared experiences of place

Grade 3 Social studies


  • Relationship between humans and their environment

Curricular competencies

  • Recognize the causes and consequences of events, decisions, or developments

Grade 3 English

Big ideas

  • Curiosity and wonder lead us to new discoveries about ourselves and the world around us.


  • Literary elements and devices 

Core competencies

Social awareness and responsibility 
  • Contributing and caring for the environment
  •  Communicating and collaborating
  •  Creative and critical thinking 

Teaching Notes

Connection to nature

When students have a chance to explore outside, it helps them connect with nature. They will be more likely to want to protect nature, animals and the environment as they grow up. Giving them time alone, as well as social time outside, increases their sense of connection to nature.  

First Peoples' perspectives

Traditionally, First Peoples have had a strong connection to place and to the land. Embedded within First Peoples' perspectives is the idea of interconnectedness and responsibility for caring for the water, land, plants and animals, and using only what is needed. This includes a sense of gratitude for what nature gives us and a sense of responsibility to care for it. 


  • Use the "Nature journal" and the "Nature journal assessment" handout to assess various cross-curricular competencies and core competencies.
  • Assess students’ participation and contributions to the circle discussion at the end for communication skills and ability to reflect on their experience in their sit spot.


Select the materials you require for this activity or download all

Natural Journal

634.6 kb pdf

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