Nature Spy Lesson Plan

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

In this lesson plan, based on the book 'Nature Spy' by Shelley Rotner, students will take a nature walk to observe the impact of humans, plants, and animals on the environment. They will record their observations using drawings and text.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • make observations in a different environments.
  • identify changes in nature made by humans, plants. or animals.
  • express and record observations through illustrations and writing.


30-45 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.


Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

NGSS Standards - K-ESS2-2

Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs. (Clarification statement: Examples of plants and animals changing their environment could include a squirrel digs in the ground to hide its food and tree roots can break concrete.)

Materials Needed

  • Nature Spy book by Shelley Rotner (1 copy to read aloud)
  • Nature Spy Observation Log booklet (1 copy for each student)
    • Make this in advance of the lesson by folding construction paper and stapling it into a booklet for each student. Write the words 'Nature Spy Observation Log' on the cover.
  • Magnifying glasses (1 per student)


• Nature

• Spy or detective

• Magnifying glass

• Observation


  • Ask students if they know what a 'spy' or 'detective' is and allow them to share their ideas. Explain that spies look for information while trying not to be seen, and that detectives look for clues to solve a mystery.
  • Show students the cover of Nature Spy by Shelley Rotner. Tell students they will be nature spies by looking closely at details to identify the pictures in the book.
  • Read the book aloud. As you read, use the following instructions to encourage students to make predictions. Ask them to explain their reasoning.
    • After the first page, ask students to predict what the little girl might see outside in her yard. Have them support predictions by pointing out things they see in the picture. For example, it is clearly fall in the photograph, so students might predict that she will see pumpkins.
    • Skip to page 9 and show students the enlarged image. Ask them what they think it is and why. Then show them page 8 to see if they were correct, and read the text on pages 8-9.
    • Do the same on pages 10-11, showing the magnified image first so students can try to identify what the item is by observing details.
    • Continue this pattern with pages 14-15, showing the close-up image first and asking students to predict what they see. Then show page 14 and read the text.
    • On pages 18-19, ask the students what they think the close-up pictures might be, and what they observe in the image that gives them that idea, before reading the text.
  • Repeat this process on several other pages throughout the book, encouraging students to look closely at the magnified images to observe details that will help them predict what the item is.
  • Following the reading, ask students to put on their spy hats and use their 'spy eyes' to observe things in the your own classroom, such as:
    • Can you find a book with a red cover?
    • Can you find a plant with three green leaves?
    • Can you find a poster that has a picture of a dog?
  • Stress the term observe and explain it as 'noticing things around you.'

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