Journey North

Common Sense Media says

Connect and share while tracking seasonal changes.






What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids are empowered to ask questions and find answers about seasonal change.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

In order to upload a "sighting," kids use an email and enter their latitude and longitude. This is an opportunity talk to your kids about online safety.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Journey North helps kids record and share observations about seasonal change. These observations vary from the length of a day, to a flower blooming, or the presence of a butterfly. The site can be used by any nature lover but is best for elementary or middle school kids who are curious about ecosystems, life cycles, or the seasons. To share a "sighting," kids register using their email and upload a digital picture. Parents should also know that observations include location because kids are asked to enter the latitude and longitude of where they took the picture.

What kids can learn



  • animals
  • biology
  • ecosystems
  • life cycle


Thinking & Reasoning

  • asking questions
  • collecting data
  • investigation

Engagement, Approach, Support


Kids will enjoy contributing to real-world research. Despite the array of wonderful resources, poor site design makes navigation challenging for kids.

Learning Approach

This jam-packed resource offers plenty of ways for kids to expand their understanding of seasonal change and design their own research. 


Adults can find tons of extension activities on the teacher page. It would be great if the site had accessibility features such as materials in languages besides English and more audio and video support.  

What kids can learn



  • animals
  • biology
  • ecosystems
  • life cycle


Thinking & Reasoning

  • asking questions
  • collecting data
  • investigation

Kids can learn about seasonal changes and how to do scientific research. Journey North helps them gather and share evidence about how living things respond to the changes of seasons. Under the Student Showcase, templates and graphic organizers help kids learn to develop research questions using evidence from the site. In addition, printable worksheets can help kids learn to take notes from research sources. Journey North has excellent resources to help kids collect, share, and analyze evidence about seasonal change.

This Learning Rating review was written by Emily Pohlonski

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

JOURNEY NORTH lets citizen scientists from all over North America share their observations of migrations and other signs of the seasons. Anyone who wants to submit an observation has to register on the site. Resources are available to help kids figure out their longitude and latitude so they can include it with their observations, which appear on a map of sightings. Over time, you can see the progression of the seasons as flowers bloom and animals migrate. Journey North compiles this data and provides resources for kids to use it in research.

Is it any good?


At first glance Journey North may seem like any other citizen science website. However, if you dig deeper, there are a lot of great additional research resources. Other citizen science sites are limited to simply uploading pictures and locations of observations. Journey North has tools to help kids to ask their own questions and gather the evidence to answer them. Unfortunately, the site is hard for kids to navigate. Here's a tip: Send kids straight to the "Journey North for Kids" section. It has a kid-friendly video that shows them how they can get involved and actually do science.  

Journey North also lets kids watch animals like polar bears and puffins in real time on web cams. Unfortunately, the video feed only shows the animals live during certain times of the year so it doesn't really help kids learn about animals changing with the seasons.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can explore their own backyard as the seasons change. How do the animals and plants behave as it gets warmer or colder?

  • Families can also talk about the dangers of people they don't know finding them. How can we prevent strangers from finding us?

  • Families who are interested in limiting their digital trail should check out our article on GPS Tracking.

Website details

Pricing structure:Free

This review of Journey North was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 10 years old August 17, 2013




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