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Life Science

Science Notebooks

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Sayde Anderson Sayde Anderson 295 Points

How have you incorporated science notebooks into your life science classroom? Do you have any suggestions for future teachers about science notebooks? How have you found these helpful?

Kelly Anne McKinley Kelly Anne McKinley 2945 Points

When doing my field experience hours, I have found that many of my cooperating teachers use a science notebook for each new experiment they do. One of my teachers had their notebooks broken down into sections for each part of the experiment. So, for example, she would have the students write all the vocabulary words used throughout the experiment in one section, their hypothesis for the experiment in another, their claim, their observations and evidence, their results and reasoning and then there would be a section for a reflection. The students seemed to enjoy it because it made them feel like 'real scientists' and it kept things super organized!

Sabrina Castro Sabrina Castro 4185 Points

Hi Sayde, I find it extremely beneficial to keep a science notebook/journal. I am studying to be a teacher and in my teaching science class we keep a science journal. I think it is a great way to stay organized and reflect, because in our journals we take class observational notes on experiments and activities we do in class, we write down any questions that our professor wants us to respond to, and we write a reflection after each class on things that we learned, enjoyed, and would use in the future as a science teacher. I have also observed science classrooms that use science journals and the kids seem to really enjoy working with them because they like to write down their predictions, collect data, and write down their results. The students use these journals throughout every science lab, but they also use it during their science lessons to write down vocabulary words, or to take notes throughout the lesson. I find that if the journal is divided into sections it's easier for the kids to use the journals and stay organized. Hope this helps. :)

Megan Bradburn Megan Bradburn 515 Points

Sayde, I am currently in my student teaching year, and in the science teacher's classroom she uses science notebooks when they complete activites and learn new vocabulary. What I would love to do in my classroom is use a science notebook as their main way to write things down and create things. I want my students to use their notebooks to write down observations during experiments, questions, diagrams, vocabulary and activities. I find that this may be easier with students who are older, but this is what I would do. Megan

Luz Alonzo Luz Alonzo 380 Points

I have always used science notebooks, I personally find it very helpful just having an organizations will allow the students to have great material to rely for exams, test and overall a study guide. For teacher it is beneficial in my opinion because it allows the teacher as well as the students to keep track of what they have done so far. Until this day, I keep all my notebooks and I enjoy going over vocabulary and assignments that I did during that particular grade level. Overall, it is helpful even after the school year is over because it allows you to go back and just re learn/study everything that was once taught to you. I will definitely be using science notebooks as well as notebooks for other subjects in my future classroom.

Peyton Etzel Peyton Etzel 180 Points

I am currently a student and am learning about how science notebooks can be beneficial for students in one of my courses. I think that science notebooks are a great tool for kids because it allows them to take ownership of their work and ideas. In the notebook, they can keep track of their hypothesis, record data, and evaluate results. They can also easily compare their data and evidence with individual students or the whole class. I personally think that science notebooks are a fun resource for students and I cannot wait to use them in my future classroom.  

Madison Reasoner Madison Reasoner 235 Points

When I was in middle school we were told to use science notebooks to record questions, findings, and any sort of notes that we wanted to write down. I found this to be very helpful as the year went on because I had the notebook to reflect on to search for information. It seemed tedious throughout the year, but in the end I was glad becuase I felt the most prepared for science class because of the notebook I wrote in everyday. I am still a student but I would definitely incorporate a notebook in any class becuase of the benefits it has. 

Wendy Miranda Wendy Miranda 450 Points


I think the idea of using science notebooks can be great idea to put ideas together and stay organized. Especially when it somes to kids, you can divide the lesson into smaller portions within the notebook. For example, having them make thieir hypothesis, drawing out the before and after results and taking down data. 

Melanie Cabrera Melanie Cabrera 2830 Points


I am currently using interactive science journals. If done correctly, this is a great way to keep students engaged and organized during the school year. I believe they can be very beneficial because you can do labs, have them reflect, and questions based on their interactive journals. The journals can be separated into sections based on classwork, questions, and labs, or they can be used as one side of notes and another side of response. This will help them keep themselves organized and stay on task in the class. 

Hope this was helpful!

Katie Costigan Katie Costigan 2075 Points

Hi Sayde-

Science notebooks I feel are very valuable in any science classroom. They allow for students to reflect on their ideas. Therefore, are somewhat of a formative assessment for the teacher. One way I have seen teachers use science notebooks is through See Saw, which is an online app that every student can be included in. Each day, this teacher has students post to their science notebooks. Then, their peers are able to look at their responses as well. They also can comment on each others posts. See Saw allows for images, vidoes, etc. to be posted on each students individual post. Students are also able to go back and look at what they previously posted. Therefore, in my opinion, the See Saw app can be used for many different things when it comes to instruction in the classroom. The only con of the See Saw app is that each student would need to be 1 on 1 with an ipad and although many schools are turning to each student having ipads or a form of technology, not all schools have.

I am a preservice teacher as well, however in my science methods class, we are using the See Saw app as our science notebooks. They have worked well, therefore I hope to use them in my future classroom! 

Hope this helps!


Mackenzie Laven Mackenzie Laven 3585 Points

Hello Sayde, I am Mackenzie Laven and I am currently taking a class at UNI about scientific methods. We just had a guest speaker this week and she told us about the power of having science notebooks in the classroom. I think it is really important to incorporate this type of recording style because it lets students remember the activity instead of just doing it. Our speaker talked a lot about how we want our students to make the lesson an 'experience' and not just another 'activity' they have to do. My suggestion for using science notebooks is to incorporate them with everything you teach in science. Another thing our speaker talked about was observational drawings. These are things that students observe when conducting an experiment and then draw like diagrams, graphs, photographs, explain findings and more. I think if students have a science notebook it will be very beneficial to have observational drawings in them so they will be able to see what they came up with rather then just trying to explain it in words. They can draw all their thoughts within their notebook, and then will be able to come back to it when learning about it some more. This way all their thoughts will be in one place and will be able to see a picture of their learning and observations they concluded about different phenomena. I hope this helped and answered your question! Thanks!

Mary Lynn Hess Mary Hess 12058 Points

Hi Sayde,

Science notebooks are a great way for students to keep records of concepts learned or misconception. I also have students use it for exit tickets to check for understanding. I've started using sketchnoting. Attached is an article to learn more about it.


Sketchnoting Science (External Website)

Whitley Turner Whitley Turner 702 Points

Hi Sayde!

As a pre-service teacher, my primary experience with science notebooks comes from my observations. My cooperating teacher uses science notebooks in her classroom, and I believe they offer a lot of versatility for students. Students can use these notebooks to write definitions of vocabulary words, make sketches, copy various diagrams or graphic organizers, and take personalized notes. Science notebooks can also serve as reflection journals after scientific observations or lessons. I like the idea of using these reflections as formative assessments in order to see if my students understood the main ideas from the lesson. Students can keep these notebooks nearby to use as study tools before summative assessments, as well.

I hope that this is helpful feedback for you in your future use of science notebooks!

Mary Bigelow Mary Bigelow 10275 Points

In this NSTA blog, a teacher shares her experiences: Interactive Science Notebooks Mary B

Sara Gerke Sara Gerke 770 Points

Hello! I am currently student teaching in a 2nd grade classroom. My CT uses science notebooks just as a person would use notebook paper. Anything the students do related to science, they will paste in their note book; anytime they need to record something (thoughts, data, etc.), they will do so in their notebooks; or any thoughts the students have, they will jot down in this book. It works as a way of organizing the students learning process. I have even seen some teachers divide the book into sections by merely putting a tab on a new page whenever a new unit is started. It really depends on what works well for you and your students. 

I love the idea of science interactive notebooks, but I am concerned with at what grade to start using them effectively?

Any grade level can use science interactive notebooks effectively. The key to using them effectively in the classroom is knowing how to implement them effectively. 

Jorge Armenta Jorge Armenta 780 Points

I also like the idea of science notebooks as I think writing is a powerful tool and can be integrated with any subject but I am also concerned at what grade level they would be developmentally appropriate for students. I have seen people say that they can be implemented at any grade. If so, can anyone give an example for kindergarten or 1st grade? 

Jessica Martinez Jessica Martinez 930 Points

I have the same question. My CT used them last year and she said she didn't like it because it was just a place for them to keep their things. I thought well if all it does was hold their assignment why would I use them in my own kindergarten class, wouldn't it take up time to have them cut and paste (especially at this grade). I would really like to know if it is developmentally appropriate for Kinder because what I've heard doesn't sound good! I need a lot more convincing, at least for the lower grades, because I can see how beneficial they can be in the higher grades if used correctly, we use them in our own college courses and not just in science, and they worked great.

Kayla Luna Kayla Luna 635 Points

I've only seen the notebooks being used in second grade and above, but I think they could be incorporated at any age. The point is to get the students accustomed to using the notebook for studying or refreshing their memory about certain topics. It depends on what the teacher wants to put in the notebooks. For younger grades I think having notebooks for centers is pretty beneficial. If the students have their centers notebooks for science, they can briefly reflect on what they learned during the center or even any questions they have. For lower grades, I would expect shorter answers. 

Alexsandra Batard Alexsandra Batard 965 Points

Many know that regardless of the age, individuals tend to rely on some form of anecdotal recording in order to understand and recall it in the future.  An example is college students writing notes on sheets of paper or index cards, versus scientists through numerical and symbolic representation on computers.  Science notebooks are nearly a handy tool that students can easily use for their learning. Therefore, treat it as you would if yours; let them write their notes as desired, but that notes must be taken in some manner or another.  Allowing free-choice personalizes the decision in enriching information however to make it more interesting and meaningful to them.

Catherine LaPlaca Catherine LaPlaca 118 Points

I agree that writing and recording ideas and observations is key for recall in the future. I remember when I was a student how beneficial using an interactive notebook was for me. I hope to use this tool in my high school classroom.

Jaclyn Lawrence Jaclyn Lawrence 655 Points

I found this awesome blog on how to use interactive science notebooks in the classroom. She also has a Teachers Pay Teachers link where you can buy the interactive science notebooks that she created!

Brooke Copeland Brooke Copeland 1270 Points

I have seen interactive notebooks used in class rooms that I have done field hours in, and loved them. I have also experienced an introduction to them and hands on practice in one of my early childhood college classes. I feel they are a great resource for students to use, look back on to remember information, and great to study from. Plus the hands on approach, I feel, helps students retain information better. My daughter is 11 and this past school year she had one in science and social studies. She frequently referenced them while doing homework and studying. There are many great online resources to get you started in your own classroom. Pinterest has many templates based on subject and topic, as does teacherspayteachers. The website gives you help for hints, resources, examples, and frequently asked questions. Great resource!

Jane Brooker Jane Brooker 1045 Points

I have used science interactive notebooks with students as young as kindergarten. While we used them for a series of three lessons and not the entire school year, I am still sure that they would have been a beneficial aspect in the classroom throughout the whole year. I think that the key to using science notebooks, and any classroom materials for that matter, is consistency. I remember being very excited in elementary school as I was preparing all of my notebooks for each subject. At the end of the year I would only have ten pages of my science notebook filled out and it simply felt like a waste of a notebook. I definitely plan on using notebooks and interactive notebooks with my future students. I am currently taking classes to teach fourth and fifth grade and can really visualize what a great resource these would be with the older elementary grades. Good luck!

Kayla Herman Kayla Herman 1575 Points

Hi Jane,

I have recently stumbled on the idea of using science notebooks in the classroom. I think they would be a great tool to use to check in with students after a lesson, investigation, etc and track their progress over time. Additionally, it would provide me with a template to collect data concerning the information my students have grasped and which concepts they need more support with.

I am also taking classes to add fourth and fifth grade to my license. I know this post is from a few years ago so I am wondering if you researched ways to incorporate this idea with older elementary students? Have you used science notebooks with older students? Thank you for your ideas!

Kayla Herman

Kathy Renfrew Kathleen Renfrew 37148 Points

Your thinking is right on! Science notebooks can be an important tool in science instruction. Consistency is also important. I taught grades 4-6 for many years and it was very exciting to see the growth in students' scientific understanding . the evidence of that growth is right there in their science notebook. The science notebook is also a great tool to share with parents to show them how their child is progressing in science . I have attached a few resources people might find helpful. Kathy


Rita Hulsman Rita Hulsman 235 Points

Kathleen, Thanks for sharing the resources on notebooking in science. In the powerpoint you shared, there are two slides that contain the following: WDWWWWWH? Could you explain what that means? I'm thinking maybe it starts with "What Do We Want . . ." but I can't figure out the rest of it, and googling the phrase didn't turn up anything. Thanks!

Meagan Johnson Meagan Johnson 180 Points

I am currently a pre-service teacher and have just started my Teaching Science course. One of the very first topics we discussed was science notebooking! I immediately fell in love with the idea of letting students informally record their thoughts and findings during class! Some of the key aspects of a science notebook we talked about were things such as creating a table of contents in the first few pages of the notebook. This allows students to easily find a specific lab or assignment they did without spending forever flipping through pages. Another great idea we talked about to include in the notebooks was a 'Line of Learning.' At the end of a lab or assignment after the students have made predictions and then made their conclusions, students are asked to draw a line across the page and write what they have learned that may have been different than what they had originally predicted at the beginning of the lesson. This allows the students to reflect on their prior thoughts and their new knowledge.
Good luck!!

Susan Nguyen Susan Nguyen 930 Points

Hello, I am currently doing my first semester of student teaching and my partner's CT uses notebooks for science. I think that it is a great way for students to have a place to put all their work in without losing it as well. Most of the students seems to enjoy it because when it is science time they know to pull out their green journal. All of their work is kept in one journal making it easier for the teacher to grade as well. As long as, students are able to keep up with their journal and know where most things are. It should be easy for both the students and teachers.

Jasmine Anderson Jasmine Anderson 450 Points

I started using interactive notebooks in class last year and I have grown to love them. Teaching at an alternative school I have a high occurrence of absenteeism and students who simply lack resources. By using the notebooks the students have a consistent source of paper to complete tasks with, they have all their notes and pertinent work in one place, and the students can easily see what tasks are missing when pages are blank.

Anisa Cummings Anisa Cummings 1025 Points

Interactive notebooks are beneficial for students of all grade levels and they can also be used in almost any content area. Students can keep their interactive notebooks throughout the school year to go back and reflect on covered materials. In their notebook students can complete assignments, write down observations, and keep their written reflections.

Farah Aziz Farah Aziz 1035 Points

Hello Jessica, I agree that the interactive notebooks are more productive with higher grades because it involves a certain level of independence keeping up with the entries. I am student teaching a fourth grade class and the students often have to write their own responses and make study guides. The students are responsible for making entries as study guides for tests, and it means that students have to be on top of their notebooks. Without a certain level of maturity and understanding it might be harder for younger students to keep up with one. Instead of having an interactive notebook for younger kids, a folder with all the work samples might be better.

Diane Soto Diane Soto 845 Points

I would agree with using notebooks with older grades

Rachel Chaple Rachel Chaple 610 Points

Hi Sayde, I believe journals are extremely beneficial to a classroom. You should divide it in sections and have sections for labs, class notes, reflections, etc. and allow the students to write all their information on there. This is an easy way to collect data and have class information at the same time same place.

Aleena Naqvi Aleena Naqvi 370 Points

Science notebooks from what I have seen have been very useful to students. It keeps their thoughts organized and helps them have everything they have learned about science throughout the year in one place. The students have a table of contents and if kept up with is very successful. However it is the responsibility of the teacher to make sure the students are keeping up with their ISN's. Also, keeping an interactive science notebook also teaches students responsibility!

Victoria Wang Victoria Wang 630 Points

I remember using science notebooks and journals in my class and they were very useful! I remember taking notes and the writing reflections about my day and what I observed or did in class and how I either felt about it or how I did it or what my results were. I had the table of contents too and it helped me keep track of quizzes or exams. I also remmeber my teacher talking about how helpful it was to recieve feedback from our journals about what was working, what we understood, and what we were confused on. I would totally recommend using journals or notebooks and having students keep records of the day. It also can help with their scientific writing skills and reflection and comprehesion skills which can relate back to CCSS.

Taran Smith Taran Smith 190 Points

I remember being in elementary and middle school using science notebooks. We would use it each day for new experiments or notes taken from the class period. We recorded all data, questions, predictions, details of the experiment, and materials used for each new topic. I absolutely benefitted from the science notebook because I jotted down more thoughts than I do normally in other classes. I posed all questions and predicitions I had for the experiment and related it back to what we learned in class. I believe that using science notebookes will only benefit your students. It gives them an organized space to collect their thoughts and findings and use it towards future lessons. I also believe that as a teacher, you can learn so much about your students' learning habits by reading what they have in their science notebooks. You can see how they organize or perceive the information taught and use that to further meet their needs.

Brooke Pigman Brooke Pigman 3130 Points

I am a college student working towards my elementary education degree. I have had many experiences throughout my time at college and one of my favorite time was when I was in a kindergarten classroom. I was able to co-teach a science lesson, and we used science journals. I think they are great and very effective to use in the classroom. The science journals were apart of the curriculum pack that the school had purchased, so each student got their own journal to work in. Since I was teaching kindergarten, the journals had a lot of room to draw pictures instead of writing sentences. I think the journals are a great way for the kiddos to write down what their observations were, and it was a way to keep track of what they were doing in science. It is a way for them to remember what they did each day in science especially when you have lessons that are multi-day lessons or lessons that take a lot of time like growing plants. There are many science journal apps to use if your school has the technology for that, otherwise, paper journals are just as effective, and personally, I like them better. Using science journals can also be a way of assesment for your students since you can see what they are writing or drawing in them. Also, you can use this tool in any grade and have them be equally effective as other worksheet or homework. I will definitely use science journals in my future classroom.

Cynthia Ruiz Cynthia Ruiz 495 Points


I use science notebooks with my 4th grade class.  We use the notebooks to write our vocabulary for the lesson.  I have the students write the definitions and draw pictures to hel them remember the meaning of the words.  When we need to write observations we use the notebooks for their drawings.  The students can use their notebooks to review the vocabulary for a quiz or test.  You can assess the students to see if they understand the vocabulary when they write the definitions.  I would use science notebooks becuse it helps students with taking notes on learning new concepts.

Good Luck

Daisy Johnson Daisy Johnson 1960 Points

Hi Sayde! I am a student at UNI and am currently in a class about science methods. From field experiences, I have seen all science teachers use a science notebook/journal. It is a great way for students to reflect on their work and keep their thoughts and projects organized. It is also such a reward for students to take home at the end of the year because they get to look back on all of the neat things they did that year. They also get to see how their science thinking progressed, and also how their writing progressed. This is also a way for you to integrate other subjects such as literacy and art! Having science journals in the classroom provides many benfits! 

Tiffany Ward Tiffany Ward 1195 Points

My cooperating teacher uses interactive notebooks for all of her science lessons. She recently did one for her food web lesson. This involved having students cut out pictures of different animals and make a food web in their notebooks and matching terms to definitions and pasting them appropriately in their notebooks, among other activities. The students really enjoy the interactive notebooks, because they are more involved and engaging than simply taking notes with a pencil. The students also seem to remember the material better because of all of the visuals, and because it helps them be more involved in the lesson.

George Mehler George Mehler 1575 Points

Hello fellow science teacher,
I am replying you behalf of Funsciencedemos YouTube Channel that is home to hundreds of free videos for ideas for teachers and students to recreate in the classroom. Science is our passion and we are so excited to share our engaging, kid-teacher-parent friendly, and interactive lessons with you to use in the classroom or at home. Our videos adhere to the common core science standards, encompass a wide variety of science concepts, and are specifically geared toward younger learners. All videos on the FunScienceDemos channel come with an English subtitle that can be translated into almost any language, making science lessons accessible virtually any place in the world.  
We encourage you check it out and spread the word! We post new science videos once a month, please subscribe our channel.
The FunScienceDemos Team

Cristina Stanciu Cristina Stanciu 135 Points

For Middle School and under, I've seen binders working very well, as all experiments were based on handouts. However, the handouts got lost often; if a students forgets their binder, it's unlikely the handouts will make it into the binder after class. This could be fixed with a quick Binder check every Quarter for an 'easy A', or an Open-Notebook quiz that would push the students to keep organized. For High School, I would still do the Notebook checks or quizzes, but I think the students should have a college bound notebook. It can still  be split up into categories, but I would give the students a template to follow for all experiments completed in class. It follows the basic expectations of scientific documentation out in the 'real world' (e.g., title, purpose, observations, materials, procedure, results, conclusion). 

Makenzie Beckwith Makenzie Beckwith 190 Points

I am going to give you suggestions based on my knowledge as a student who had to use a Science Notebook throughout grade school. I suggest using a composition book mainly because studnts who are not as neat as others will not have to worry about pages being torn out of the spiral or binder. For younger students I suggest using a lot of cut and paste resources because their handwriting may not be neat, which can make it difficult for anyone to read their writing. Lastly, I suggest having them place quite a few visuals such as graphs, charts, diagrams, pictures, etc. This may help them understand the topic/lesson more (especially when it comes to a more complicated concept).

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