Our Lower School science teacher recently asked me to help her find a good system for creating a field guide for our campus. Our school is located in a semi-rural area on about 10.5 acres. There are lots of trees, flowers, bugs, and woodland creatures. I did some research and found a great site called iNaturalist. The have good IOS and Android apps that allow the students to roam around campus and take pictures of interesting flora/fauna. Once they take a photo they can add some field notes and save their observation. The observations are then uploaded to the iNaturalist site where other members of the community can comment and help make identifications.
The students used iPads from our cart and had a great time. One thing I learned from the first group was to spend time emphasizing that ‘less is more’. The students tended to take a lot of pictures of the same things. With our second group we asked them to limit their observations and spend more time writing detailed notes.