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Elementary Science

Science Notebook

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Josephine Lopes Josephine Lopes 3440 Points

As a student currently in a practicum and taking classes, I am just learning about science notebooks and journals. I am finding them very useful and seeing how the teacher in my practicum class makes them books to write their information in. The students are excited to learn the information and talk about their own experiences with the subject matter. I am glad that the students will have a resource for later and that they can be guided in making these journals to help them in future tests. I am a little jealous that I never had an opportunity like these science notebooks or journals when I was in school, but I am glad that this is such a useful and adaptable innovation for students today.

Shamara Brown Shamara 5375 Points

Science journals are such a great resource. I use them in my intro science class and they incorporate more than just science. Keeping a journal also helps students to write more and express thoughts. Journals are also a great place to write down ideas and questions. Sometimes, we have these thoughts in our heads and we are too busy to write them down, so we forget what we were even thinking about. A science journal allows students to keep up with their thoughts and they can always come back to them later on. In addition, they can look back on their journey through science.

Jessica Mulet Jessica Mulet 2870 Points

I agree! I think science notebooks are an essential part of the class. Students use this notebooks for their notes, experiments, observations, data collections, and reflections. They have these notebooks that they could look back on and review what was previously learned. Some teachers actually get very creative with these journals. Students do enjoy having a science notebook and adding information to it. I am a pre-service teacher and I am currently enrolled in a science course. Even as a college student I have a science journal. Every little detail of what I learn and participate in is written in the notebook. I find this to be beneficial, I always reflect on my learning and if I ever have to look back on any information it is right there. 

Helina Alvarez Helina 70 Points

I completely agree about having science notebooks being a benefit for students in the classroom. I remember my first notebook in my wetland ecology class in college. After the class ended I could always refresh my memory with terms, facts and lessons that were about my class. Not only does it act as a wonderful reminder of the classes context, but also a great learning to for almost any subject. However, I remember doing more notebook orientated classes in the higher grade levels. How young can the students be, that the science notebooks can be effective still? Thanks for sharing! 

Sabrina Morilla Sabrina Castro 4185 Points

I completely agree, it is so 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's a great way to stay organized and reflect, because in our journals we take class observational notes on experiments and activities that 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 will definitely want to, as a teacher, have my own journal to reflect on science lessons and put in ideas for new science lessons, but also have my students keep one throughout the school year so they can see how much they've learned and so they can go back and review.

Hannah Johnston Hannah Johnston 755 Points

I have these notebooks in my student teaching class too, and I love them! I think it's not only a great resource for the kids content wise, but it teaches them how to organize their work and make these types of things for themselves in the future. They are able to look back at their resources more easily than if they were in a folder, and the interactive nature really helps them learn the content. I'm definitely going to implement these in my future classroom. 

Jennifer Basalari Jennifer Basalari 4870 Points

I love these!!  I call mine a SMASH book because we smash lots of good science into them. As an elementary teacher, I have them number the pages at the beginning. This keeps them from tearing pages out and doodling. There are so many great resources out there that outline a variety of ways to use them. I also have a teacher copy of each year so when a student is absent there's a model. I tweak it every year and even now , hav ideas on how I'll change it for next year. 

Kira Jacobson Kira Jacobson 160 Points

My district encouraged science teachers K-12 to participate in a 3 year grant project and science notebooks were a huge part of it. The grant is over now, but almost all our teachers are still using the notebooks. They're using them as low as first grade and as high as 11th grade (AP chem)! My high school colleagues and I loved our results, especially after establishing a right/left page distinction. The right side is strictly for reflection, meaning-making... and the left side is for content, notes, lab data... We loved this because it help us teachers remember that kids need time to make meaning out of the content. So if we had a blank page on the right, we knew we were lacking that and could add in a reflection activity. On the right side, we have students reflect on lab results, use it for formative assessment, make analogies for concepts... And we have our freshmen number all the pages at first too! It's super nice for staff and parents trying to help students as well because every note book is formatted the same way. So my page 14 and his/her page 14 have the same content. It's easier for kids to see what they missed. Some teachers put their notebook online so kids/parents/support staff have access if they were absent or need to help a kid. What are some successful formats you've tried? Any suggestions for meaning-making activities to go in the notebooks?

Jennifer Basalari Jennifer Basalari 4870 Points

Kira, I love the idea about the right and left side of the spiral.  I've heard this before, but somehow I get sidetracked and forget.  One thing I've done to make it better, is the teacher example I make for absent students (and to keep myself straight) is make notes as I go for the next year.  During the summer, I also go through it, and get rid of the info/lessons I feel didn't impact student learning and create a new lesson for that standard or content area.  I'm going to focus more next year on the left and right sides of the pages.

Colin Hanson Colin Hanson 65 Points

I have heard a lot about “Science Notebooks” and I think I use them for two of my “year long” labs that I do with the students, but not sure on how to do the “Science Notebooks” for everything we do in Science?  Or is that not the purpose of these notebooks!? We do a “Plant Lab” three times a year.  Our test question is “Which month is it best to grow plants inside?”  They come up with their own hypothesis and then check it at the end.  We do the lab September, January, and May.  The students chart 4 things every day with their 2 plants (Plant A and Plant B).  They chart the “Plant Itself”- observing and note taking on the roots, leaves, stem.  They chart the “Soil”- observing and note taking on how it feels and looks.  They also record the amount of water they give the plant each time.  They chart the growth of the plant (cm).  Finally, they chart the weather conditions outside (sunny, partly sunny, cloudy, etc.) and the “Total Hours of Sunlight” (from sunrise to sunset).  They keep these notes, so they can compare them each time we do the plants and then at the end of the year, they put a report together using the data they collected. We also do a monthly school forest visit (we have a forest in the back of our school).  Each student picks a spot to monitor each month.  They take notes on their spot and take pictures of their spot each time we go out (again, monthly).  At the end of the year, they put a collage together of their pictures to show how their spot has changed from September to May.  It is neat for the students to look back at their pictures from September to have that visual of changes that occurred, instead of trying to remember. What else could I be doing?!  We do use a text book to help cover different topics.  We also do different labs each week to make the topic more hands on.  Should I be using the notebooks throughout, even though the topics are different?!  Any advice or ideas would be GREAT!  Thanks.  Colin. 

I love the idea of science interactive journals! Interactive journals can help students organize and synthesize their ideas while it also holds them accountable for their own learning. These journals also help teachers keep track of student growth and it allows parents to see the learning that is taking place in the classroom. 

Luz Arevalo Luz Arevalo 505 Points

Science Journals will definitely be a must for my Science classroom one day! I have one for my Science teaching class and although we are learning to teach Science, I can totally see how it will be beyond useful for students. It does not only teach the students to be organized, but they will know exactly where to turn to when they need to look up something they previously learned. The students can always reflect back and study from their journals. It is also nice that the students can see how much they really learned in class, as they see their journals evolve and fill with knowledge day by day. Not only does it engage the students, but they will always know where to turn to for their science class. Overall, it's a great learning tool and management tool.

Sheprell Felder Sheprell Felder 315 Points

I believe science notebooks are a good idea also. Science notebooks help keep students update with the work they do in class. The notebooks also are a good way to help students reflect on different experiments and observations that they conduct in class. Science notebook are a good way to enhance writing skills in students and help students create their own writing ideas. These notebooks also help teachers see how much a student understand a certain concept by how much writing the student writes about a particular concept.

Gabrielle Tyree Gabrielle Tyree 1555 Points

I really agree. I think it is so unfortunate that I wasn't given the opportunity to take my notes in such an easy efficient way, I think that I would have really benefited from something like this when I was younger...actually, I still do! It really teaches our students to be organized in their learning and documenting and it is really helpful to the teacher in charge when grading time comes along!

Amanda Guzman Amanda Guzman 1005 Points

I completely agree. I didn't use science journals very much when I was in school, but now that I am taking teaching methods courses, I really see the benefit of using them. I think they are very helpful because the students can put the information in a notebook in a way that makes most sense to them. This way they can also go back and reference content that has been covered already.

Elizabeth Pena Elizabeth Pena 1655 Points

Science journals can really help students be organized. It helps them get ready for exams.

Rosalva Pedraza Rosalva Pedraza 790 Points

I was able to benefit from these journals as a middle school student and I still have them. They were incredibly helpful to me in middle school and are to this day a great resource when I want to review something. They are handy, fun to make and long-lasting.

Sariena Cheang Sariena Cheang 595 Points

I really enjoy having the students use the science notebooks. It is a great tool for them to write down their thoughts and answers to certain questions. Also, they can draw pictures in it to match the lesson or even put in foldables and other materials that they can use to reference back to.

Faustino Lopez Faustino Lopez 705 Points

We use our science journals in our classroom as well. The students take their journals when they go to the science lab and they can also utilize them in class as an extra resource.

Courtney Black Courtney Black 975 Points

I am in a science course for elementary teaching right now, and they have us using interactive science notebooks for ourselves. It helps us organize our own notes, as well as practice learning how to use it. I think they can be hard if a student gets behind because they have to figure out what all they need to put in to catch up. That is where I have a hard time with it. I had to be out of my university courses and student teaching for about 2 weeks this semester due to something that happened with me, which made it very difficult to catch up and put things in the correct order because I had missed a lot. It is possible and I did do it, but it took some time. There are other kinds of science journals, obviously, but that particular notebook it good to hold students accountable probably as well. Accountable for keeping things in order and in place.

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