In 2005, the Springwatch team analysed data collected by viewers to reveal how spring starts at slightly different dates across the UK. Viewers were asked to look out for frogspawn, seven-spotted ladybirds, bumblebees, swifts returning from overwintering in Africa and hawthorn blossom. A total of 150,000 viewers responded. The collected data was mapped, allowing us to see that overall the South West and costal areas were first to record the signs of spring.
Students could use the data presented in this clip to draw conclusions about the physical and behavioural characteristics of frogs, ladybirds, wasps and swifts, as well as their breeding patterns. Organised into small groups, students could be assigned one of these animal groups to research and find out how its life cycle, development and behaviour pattern are affected by the weather and the change of the seasons. A classroom display could be set up with a large image, collage or piece of art to describe each season. Student groups could then add their animal to the season in which we would find it and annotate with details about why we see it at that time of the year. They could also annotate with information about what the animals are doing at other times of the year when they are not so widely seen.
Where appropriate, students could observe and record the signs of spring in their local area. If it is not in the lead up to spring students could consider the signs of other seasons. For example, what are the signs of winter approaching?