Elementary Science

Writing in Science

Writing in Science is a huge statement. What do mean when we talk about writing in science? How about we try to identify all the different types of writing we can do in science? Then maybe we can talk in more details about some of the specific pieces. Some of the types are writing questions, writing predictions. What else? Once we come up with a list we do some more in depth work and figure out how to implement in the classroom. Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

There is a book chapter in the Learning Center that sheds a little light for this discussion, Kathy. It is called, "On Writing In Science".
Besides the ideas you shared above, the author mentions that students' writings will draw on their prior knowledge to help them prepare for new activities. She provides the research that supports using writing in science to foster conceptual understanding.
Writing is frequently used as an assessment tool. Page Keeley's formative assessment probes effectively merge what students think they know with formative assessing. I see that as a first step toward gaining conceptual understanding. I look forward to hearing others' ideas on this topic.

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

Hi there

Does anyone do any direct instruction in how to write a prediction? I was wondering if anyone had any lesson plans for this? I think this is an area where students probably need explicit instruction. I found an article in the Learning Center that talks about it.
Predictions

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

At the beginning of the school year my second grade students are introduced to science notebooks. They draw their impression of a scientist and write what they think a scientist is. We use our science notebooks when we go outside to observe trees, plants, critters or whatever. Students write about and draw their impressions. We do this through the different seasons, and then during subsequent seasons they can refer to previous writing and make comparisons. I model how to draw a comparison diagram, beginning with a t-chart and then later to a venn diagram. As the year progresses, students become pretty adept at using graphic organizers. Often they come up with their own ideas about what to write about in their science notebooks. By the end of the year, it becomes a valuable resource that they refer to on their own to make references, comparisons, and verify predictions.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

My direct instruction on how to write a prediction at the second grade level consists of using think alouds such as "I wonder if all monarchs take the same amount of time to change from caterpillar to butterfly once they have finished constructing the chrysalis? Hmmm...I notice that the caterpillar was in its chrysalis form for at least a full week of school and part of another week. I think it takes about ten days for the monarch caterpillar to metamorphose into the adult butterfly. I try to use generic scaffolding type statements such as "I think ________ will ________ " or "I think it takes _________ days for the caterpillar to metamorphose into the adult monarch butterfly." I write the scaffolding statements on chart paper and provide appropriate choices for students to refer to when they write their own predictions. We go through the entire process together; then students write their own in their notebooks using scaffolding statements. We work through modifying the statements to fit the prediction.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

In my third grade class we use science notebooks. I set them up in a book format to help teach the parts of a book. With each new quarter we start a new notebook in our pocket folders. The former notebook is stapled and stored in the student's hanging folder and can be accessed if needed as a reference. Each new notebook starts with a title page that has the unit title and the author's (student's) name. The second page is the table of contents with dates of the entries and not page numbers. We always have a KWL page next ( What I know..want to know..learned). Last we have a glossary of terms that we keep in the pocket of the folder. We add our own definitions as we come to key terms in the investigations. They know that the difference with this glossary is it is not in alphabetical order. Investigations usually follow in the scientific method. It starts with a question either posed by me or my students. We come up with a hypothesis together always using If _____then ___________ because________. At the begining of the year I demonstrate different types of graphic organizers to record data but after a while they will come up with what they think will work best. Some groups choose totally different ways to record observations but when they come together to report their results they can share with others and discuss what they think. They write their own conclusions as a group and submit new questions to be investigated. The writing is time consuming at first, but they get much more efficient with it and I teach them how to write notes and phrases when recording observations. It is a skill that we often take for granted. Sometimes we "report" our findings by writing about what we discovered. We publish our writing on the hall board. These I record as expository writing grades in language arts!

Valerie Sweeney
Valerie Sweeney
230 Activity Points

Valerie, What a fabulous job you do of guiding your students in using a science notebooks. You are essentially integrating language arts skills with science. I work toward this goal all year. I like your idea of using stapled together sections that they can refer to later. I would like to meld this somehow with the way we do our science notebooks. Second graders have a difficult time with organization...that's a skill in itself.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

I always think integration is the key in our self-contained classrooms. What do you use for your notebooks? I know some teachers use pocket folders, spiral notebooks, composition books, and three ring binders. I use a lot of foldables so I like to use plastic pocket folders with the three prongs. We can store our foldables in the side pockets. Organization is a big skill to teach in the early years. I think the key to really using notebooks is finding what works best for your style of teaching. I'd love to hear how others put their notebooks together!

Valerie Sweeney
Valerie Sweeney
230 Activity Points

Valerie, I use the black and white composition books. If I want to use a xeroxed form such as a chart to record daily temperatures and sunrise, sunset times I will reduce the form to fit in their composition books and we glue it on a page. It works pretty well. Margaret

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

Valerie and Margaret, You both do the same as I do when working with students by providing the scaffolding, the sentence frames, graphic organizers etc. I find that if I give students lots of practice, then later I can do a gradual release and students begin to use the wording without instruction from me. I get all goose bumps when that happens. I am wondering if you could put a half pocket on the inside front or back cover of the marble composition books to store the foldables. I love the foldables too. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to go to a Dinah Zike workshop and I bought a couple of her books so I could do them back in the classroom. I use the Marbled black and white notebooks with graph paper when I was working with 3rd grade and up. That helped students create graphs in their notebooks. I also like the idea of gluing in any worksheets I feel are necessary. Valerie, I am wondering what type of instruction do you do to get your students write conclusions as a group? Could you tell us more about that? Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

I like the idea of creating a pocket for foldables. I am going to try that. Thanks for sharing. I'll let you know how it works out! Margaret

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

It is great to incorporate writing into science lessons. I read a fantastic article about including poems in science. The journal article that I read is "The Nature of Haiku", by Peter Rillero, JoAnn Cleland, and Karen Conzelman. It is a Science and Children journal from October 1999. It is a great article, and it offers ideas about how haiku can be used in science. Take Care, Justine Romito

Justine Romito
Justine Romito
1240 Activity Points

Justine, I think I clipped that article and have it in my poetry folder! I did haiku when I taught 3rd grade but haven't tried it in second grade. I also have a big book of Science poems that I use when the appropriate topic comes up. Have you tried haiku with your students? What grade do you teach?

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

I love the idea of integrating creative writing in the science classroom. A great project I observed required students to write a short story about their life as a particular type of rock, such as granite. Students wrote the stories in a booklet format and added colorful illustrations. Afterwards, the middle school students read their stories aloud to kindergartners. They really took pride in showcasing their work! Some students described life as a beautifully polished countertop or a famous statue, while detailing the stages of their formation. I was really impressed with the creativity and connections to the geology content.

Ann Kennedy
Ann Kennedy
1250 Activity Points

Hi Ann, Justine, and other thread participants!
I am enjoying reading all the ideas being shared here.
I thought I would do an advanced search at the NSTA Learning Center (NLC) and find out if there were any user collections about writing in science. Imagine my surprise to find 358!
For anyone who has never tried an advanced search or has never used some of the 'narrowing down' the search features, you can go right to the advanced search function. Check out the writing collections by typing in "writing" for the key word. Then go down to the default: individual resources and change it to read "user created collections". Viola! You should see 358 collections pop up - unless another one or two has been made since this post! I love the NLC!

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

Hi Ann, What a great idea to have the big kids share their writing with the kindergarteners! I try to get my students involved with other grade levels whenever I can, and it can go both ways. My second graders (last year) kept seasonal journals and at the end of the school year shared those with kindergarteners. The kindergarteners just adore the "big kids." Also in the past I've had the 5th graders act as writing mentors for my second graders. In science the fifth graders helped my students create diagrams with labels of plants and insects, and then helped them write descriptions of their observations. I have not done so with creative writing, but this definitely has captured my interest. Maybe they could write about their lives as a tree, since we do tree observations through the four seasons.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

Carolyn, Thanks for sharing with us about the advanced search functions, as well as the writing collections. I'll definitely look into it. Margaret

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

I teach in an Advancement Via Individual Determination (A.V.I.D.) school, and thus my scholars are required to maintain interactive notebooks. In A.V.I.D., the focus is on writing, inquiry, collaboration, and reading (WIC-R), and the interactive notebooks provide opportunities for the scholars to engage in all of these components. What is a Science Interactive Notebook? Science Interactive Notebooks are a tool to strengthen student learning of curriculum (the input) through increased student participation (the output). They are used in class daily to help the student learn; this style of notebook uses both the right and left-brain hemispheres to help sort, categorize and be creative with the newly attained knowledge. The right side of the spiral notebook is for writing down information given by the teacher (notes, vocabulary, video notes, labs, etc.). The left side of the spiral shows the understanding of the information from the right side (brainstorming, reflections, drawings/figures, worksheets, etc.). By using notebooks, students model one of the most vital and enduring functions of scientists in all disciplines – recording information, figures, and data. Scientists across the world record their observations, data, and conclusions, as well as comments on their research, readings and reflections. They rely on their notes, figures and diagrams when sharing their findings with colleagues and when preparing papers to share their work with the scientific community. The notebooks of famous scientists such as Galileo and Einstein have become part of the world’s cultural heritage. Another reason for maintaining a Science Interactive Notebook is that it provides the student with a ready reference for each unit as well as a resource to consult when reviewing materials at the end of the unit. The notebook is also a means of communicating with the teacher and parents/guardians. At the end of each unit the student is required to have their parent/guardian review and sign their notebook. Keeping a notebook enhances students’ writing skills. It gives them practice in organizing material and in expressing themselves clearly. At the same time, notebook writing can encourage students to connect science with other areas of the curriculum. A Science Interactive Notebook also encourages creativity. Extensions in the notebook can include any of the following; poems; cartoon drawings; figure drawings; stories; songs; and notes from research on any given topic. Think as a scientist … Record as a scientist … And reflect as a scientist! What goes on the Right Side? Input goes on the Right Side! Always write the date on each page and label each assignment! Guidelines: Ø The right side spiral has only odd numbered pages. Ø The right spiral page is for writing down information you are given in class (input). Ø When the teacher lectures, you take notes on the right side. Ø When you take book notes or video notes they go on the right side. ALWAYS. Ø You will use Cornell Style Notes on the right page. Ø Laboratory activities go on the right side. Ø Any other type of INPUT you get in class. What goes on the Left Side? Output goes on the Left Side! Every left side page gets used! Always use color … It helps the brain learn and organize information. What could go on the left side? Ø Brainstorming Ø Mind maps Ø Concept Maps Ø Venn Diagrams Ø Pictures Ø Drawings Ø Diagrams Ø Writing Prompts Ø Flow Charts Ø Lab & Self Reflections Ø Poems Ø Songs Ø Worksheets

Lorrie Armfield
Lorrie Armfield
51418 Activity Points

Lorrie, Thank you for sharing this information. I think many of us will be able to use this information in our notebook work. I am very excited by it. I would like to try it in a classroom. Would you be able to share some of the work your students have done in the notebook. I think we could all learn so much by looking at student work. I agree with you about scientists' notebooks. Students are often excited by seeing the notebooks of these famous people. Have you looked at the notebook of Leonardo Da Vinci? Do you use the notebooks as an assessment of student learning? thanks again Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

Lorrie, I went back and reread your post on Interactive notebooks, and I have a question. Would a labeled scientific drawing/diagram with a connection to the inquiry investigation go on the right or left side? KAthy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

Kathy, I used the Interactive Notebook style as well. Input of any kind goes on the right side - so that means the labeled diagram came from anywhere other than the student's own brain, it would go on the right side. Only if the student generated the labeled diagram on their own would it go on the left. The left side is reserved for the student's own thought processes, questions, ideas, reflections, etc. What other notebook/journal methods are out there? What kind of challenges do they present? And how do you overcome those issues. The left side was the most difficult for my students. They some times had difficulty determining what was their own idea and what wasn't.

Kendra Young
Kendra Young
17180 Activity Points

I appreciate the various writing ideas in this forum. Most of my students (who have language-based learning disabilities) find it challenging to apply their language skills in science learning, particularly when it comes to writing out their ideas and recording their observations. Yet, they are often enthusiastic and curious science students. We typically use observation sheets that are then collected in portfolio form along with other paperwork. (A fair number of the students find bound notebooks difficult to manage, or they become upset with a sense of the 'permanence' of errors on some pages.) The observation sheets have space for visual and verbal recording. For some classes, we scaffold the verbal recording with sentence starters or other prompts. We also have the topic, a focusing question and/or 'key terms' displayed. I have found that direct teaching of even such things as how to interpret a diagram, or label your own, has been helpful for the students to identify and apply pertinent language. The students take pleasure in collating their work and begin to understand that "having to do language arts in science" may not be as awful as they thought. Working toward greater ease in writing about science is an ongoing experiment with the students. Recently, one of the students froze when it became time to write about the clearly stated insights she'd shared. A brief walk around the school to find switches in use, with a teacher taking dictation got her back on track and able to write about the addition of a switch to her series circuit. In this case, the student felt that this was a more effective strategy than trying to help her talk out her feelings of not being good at science. I'd appreciate others' thoughts on strategies for differentiated instruction of writing in science classes with a range of students, including those who may have a good understanding of concepts, but struggle with the mechanics of writing, decoding or organizing their ideas as well as those challenged to integrate prior knowledge with hands on experiences in order to interpret their results.

Stacy Miller
Stacy Miller
10 Activity Points

Greetings Kathy, In response to your question, I would put most labeled diagrams on the right side of the notebook, since this information is similar to vocabulary (input)- tier one assignment/identification. However, since it appears that you are speaking of scholars labeling diagrams after having completed an inquiry-based activity, then this would go on the left side (output). Each scholar could conceivably have different diagrams/drawings based on their interpretation and/or results from the investigation. LA

Lorrie Armfield
Lorrie Armfield
51418 Activity Points

Hello All, I just read all the wonderful tips for utilizing science notebooks and I am inspired to try to AGAIN to use them with my students. We are starting a new unit when we turn from the holiday break so I am going to use it as an opportunity for a fresh start. I will let everyone know how it goes. Wish me luck and thanks for ALL of the great information. Chris

Chrysantha Norwood
Chrysantha Norwood
1705 Activity Points

Sorry I got busy with school and grad school and never got back to answer or read answers on the site! Kathy, the way I instruct the kids to write a conclusion is to review their hypothesis. They have to tell how their results confirmed or dispelled their original theory. They have to give examples from their observations to back up their conclusion. It is really funny to watch them try to stick to a misconception but wrestle with the backing it up part until the others make them accept that they were wrong. BIG HELP!! Lock in predictions or theories with a yellow crayon over their written answer. The wax of the crayon makes it impossible for them to go back and erase their prediction. Keeps them honest LOL!

Valerie Sweeney
Valerie Sweeney
230 Activity Points

There are many ways that you can write in Science. First, a great way to implement this is through a Scientist's notebook. Students should post reflections to daily science such as misconceptions, things they learned, things that surprised them, something they proved to be true that they didn't believe before and so on. Another way, and I believe this is huge in facilitating future Scientists, is to postulate and form predictions and hypothesis. In math we use many postulations, but in Science it is important to record things that you think and either proving them wrong or right. This is how Science evolved in the first place. I belive that in any grade you should use direct instruction to teach each of these; however, by the end of the year, they should be doing this almost as second nature - especially if your classroom is inquiry based.

Brandy Stewart
Brandy Stewart
7755 Activity Points

Brandy, Science interactive notebooks are 'BIG' in my classroom (see previous post). Additionally, after reading your post, I am reminded of the 'Exit Ticket'. In our Advancement Via Individual Determination (A.V.I.D.) classes, our scholars often engage in 3-2-1 Exit Tickets:

3- write three new pieces of information that you learned today;

2- write two interesting ideas/suggestions/things you discovered after having completed the reading/laboratory investigation/inquiry-based activity; and

1- write one question that you still have about the learning today.

Lorrie Armfield
Lorrie Armfield
51418 Activity Points

Valerie, I love the idea of using yellow crayon to go over a prediction. Second graders are notorious for changing their predictions so they can claim to be "right," although my students this year have not been a little better about not changing their predictions. I think it is because I have provided them with examples of how real scientists have learned from predictions they have made that helped lead them to new discoveries. Of course there are always a few who want to boast about their correct predictions, so the yellow crayon will be a good tool to use. Thanks!

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

Lorrie, I use the 3-2-1 exit slips. It really helps me get to know my students better. I am curious about the grade level that you teach. I love your post about the science interactive notebooks with the left and right side specifics. I am thinking that I might try this with my second graders.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

I have another question for Lorrie...is there a resource that describes how to implement the interactive notebook the way you do them? Also, does anyone use this method with young children?

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter
1645 Activity Points

Back to poems in science, does anyone else use cinquains in science? I love the way they tell so much about my students without a lot of words. I use one noun, two verbs, three adjectives, a three-four word prepositional phrase, and a synonym for the original noun. community speak, listen smart, challenging, thinking always learn a lot colleagues

Valerie Sweeney
Valerie Sweeney
230 Activity Points

I use the 3-2-1 exit tickets all the time. They are very useful! I also use interactive notebooks as well. In fact, for our county, that is their "textbook" for the Science material. It is actually a great tool, and to add, my parents seem to love them!

Brandy Stewart
Brandy Stewart
7755 Activity Points

Brandy, I agree, and I also want to add that I've found the 3-2-1 Exit ticket to be a great way to have students reflect on their learning.

LA

Lorrie Armfield
Lorrie Armfield
51418 Activity Points

I found an eBook called, Writing Strategies for Science, Grades 1-8 by Sarah Kartchner Clark and Stephanie Macceca. The book may be a useful resource for classroom teachers. By the way, one of the topics in the book was journal writing. Lisa Malcom

Lisa Malcom
Lisa Malcom
575 Activity Points

Lorrie, It also helps me in what I need to reteach, sometimes immediately. It is refreshing and very eye-opening. If used correctly, these are really beneficial. I once had a "parking lot" on my wall. This was where students posted replies to a questions on post-its. They loved it and so did Mrs. Stewart :)

Brandy Stewart
Brandy Stewart
7755 Activity Points

One of the best books about writing in science is Writing in Science by Betsy Rupp Fulwiler http://www.heinemann.com/products/E01070.aspx There are excellent ideas K-6 for scaffolding students into writing and helping them to organize their thoughts on paper. I have her first book and used it for the framework of my science classes. It is just excellent. Here is a link to the follow up book with DVD http://www.heinemann.com/products/E04211.aspx

Polly Norrie
Polly Norrie
1200 Activity Points

I agree with you Polly. i was lucky enough to participate in a Professional Development Institute at a national conference with Betsy as an instructor. I am wondering if teacher's would be willing to share some of the writing prompts or lessons they use now in their classroom. We have such expertise here as part of the Learning Center. We can learn so much from each other and other resources available here. BTW, I highly recommend participation tin a PDI. One extremely focused day of learning , then followed up by sessions at the conference. No better way to spend time at a national conference. Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the posts in this topic. I want to try out many of the ideas and think that I can start with the notebooks. I love the idea of an interactive notebook but am not sure that I can start that now this late in the year. I would want to have time to really show students what is content that is given to them and their own reflections. I think it's possible but may take a little longer in second grade. When I think of writing, science was not the first subject that comes to mind when trying to integrate. But after reading the posts, I think it is a great match. I have definitely done Haiku in second grade but have never looked at it from a science perspective. The format and observation involved make it a perfect fit. I can see that scientific writing can really scaffold to a longer research project. So many times in lower elementary the focus is on narrative writing. However, I can see where starting with predictions using direct instruction then modeling each section of a whole science report can help students be ready to write their own scientific report and an informative report in any subject. Thank you for the great ideas!

Kehau Samuelu
DonnaLynn Samuelu
3485 Activity Points

DonnaLynn, I bet you could choose one small piece from these postings that you want to try and give it a go. I bet your second graders might surprise you. I do think you are correct in taking on just one piece at a time because you don't want to overwhelm yourself or your students. However having said that, consider trying something. Remember you can always come back here and we can all support each other. Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

Reflections post-experiments and experiences are ALWAYS a great idea! My class after every learning experience looks forward to doing a DLIQ. Even if it's just simple writing. What did you DO? What did you LEARN? What do you think was INTERESTING? Any unanswered QUESTIONS?

Gary Kanamori
Gary Kanamori
240 Activity Points

Writing can be integrated in many different ways with science. Recently my class studied about the different human body systems. We learned about each major body system then I had each students choose a body system and write a report using all of the pre-writing and organizational steps we do for language arts. They need to analyze the prompt, make a bubble map, outline what they were going to write, come up with four topic sentences and then their rough draft. Students saw how writing is not just for book reports and essays.

Michael Leslie
Michael Leslie
2110 Activity Points

In addition to student's in class science notebook I have them keep an outdoor observation book. I learned this at a Jeffer's Foundation workshop at the National Wildlife Refuge in Bloomington MN. Students have a format for reporting Date, time, Temp, Location, Weather conditions for each observation. They do a qualitative and quantitative note for each observation. Sometimes we observe color, types of plants, types of animals etc. These observations are then worked into our science/writing lessons in class.

Joachim Huber
Joachim Huber
2080 Activity Points

Writing in Science is a huge statement. What do mean when we talk about writing in science? How about we try all the different types of writing we can do in science? Then maybe we can talk in more details about some of the specific pieces. Some of the types are writing questions, writing predictions. What else? Once we come up with a list we do some more in depth work and figure out how to implement in the classroom. Kathy I believe writing is very important in all subjects. It is also very important in Science because it might be easier for teachers to understand students. My professor in the university requires us to have a science composition notebook and it's a great way for us to incorporate writing into science. It works great for college students, I can't imagine how great it will work for for students in the elementary level. As a future teacher, I will add in my notebooks: journal entries, predictions, experiments, drawings, graphic organizers such as concepts maps and KWL chart.

Doris Padilla
Doris Padilla
3345 Activity Points

I use Body Systems to teach process writing. After we've read about the body systems in our health book and made paper drawings or models of each system I have the students pretend they are one of the systems and write a narrative nonfiction story about traveling through that system. The kids love it and love sharing their stories. As they share stories their knowledge of each system gets reinforced.

Joachim Huber
Joachim Huber
2080 Activity Points

Writing in Science is a huge statement. What do mean when we talk about writing in science? How about we try to identify all the different types of writing we can do in science? Then maybe we can talk in more details about some of the specific pieces. Some of the types are writing questions, writing predictions. What else? Once we come up with a list we do some more in depth work and figure out how to implement in the classroom. Kathy Writing in science is critical. Like Doris, my university science teacher also makes me write in a composition book. We have to write out all the labs we do (observations, predictions, data, explanations, etc), reflections (what we did that day), question of the day (science related)...my list can go on. I feel like keeping a science journal has really made a difference in my understanding of science. I have learned more in 1 semester then I ever did in my elementary school years. As a future educator I will make sure that each and every one of my students keep a science journal. It is important for students to be able to reflect on what they did and why they did (I feel this will help their understanding). it helped my understanding, I can only imagine what it can do for my suture students.

Stephanie Salazar
Stephanie Salazar
3580 Activity Points

Stehpanie, You are right, the sky is the limit. Students can write about research on various topics, just taking notes or doing reports or even power point presentations. Students can observe nature, journal about observations then draw and label what they see. Additionally they may conduct experiments or demonstrations and collect and record data for various purposes. Our students all complete an independent science fair experiement each year. I've even had them research the pros and cons of topics to prepare for debate in the classroom. I'm sure there are many other types of writing I have not mentioned. In the writing, especially if they are motivated by a desire to reach the final product, they solidify their knowlege of science.

Joachim Huber
Joachim Huber
2080 Activity Points

Writing in Science is a huge statement. What do mean when we talk about writing in science? How about we try to identify all the different types of writing we can do in science? Then maybe we can talk in more details about some of the specific pieces. Some of the types are writing questions, writing predictions. What else? Once we come up with a list we do some more in depth work and figure out how to implement in the classroom. Kathy Writing as well as science is very important. I think writing in science is very important for our education and for our students to practice their writing skills as well as practicing how to express science. We can incorporate writing into science by assigning a notebook or journal to our students where they are able to write and express their experiments and observations. The teacher can have a discussion questions or a journal question. My professor in college makes us have a "question of the week" where she asks us a question about a video or reading. These are some hints on how I believe I would incorporate writing in science.

Doris Padilla
Doris Padilla
3345 Activity Points

Doris said, "We can incorporate writing into science by assigning a notebook or journal to our students where they are able to write and express their experiments and observations."


I am going to ask a question that should develop some lively discussions. Let'shave those conversations but let's be sure to be respectful of each other's opinions.

So what is the difference between a science notebook and a science journal? When would you use each?

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

I am still not sure I am comfortable in knowing the differences but I think science noebook is a record of investigation that includes observations, questions, predictions, data collection, data recorded and displayed, and analyzed. I think a journal may be more personal and subjective. Here is a powerpoint that helps to clarify.

Attachments

notebook.ppt (0.88 Mb)

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

Hello! In my opinion, when it comes to writing in science the possibilities are endless! I think writing in science is so important to reinforce key concepts and allows students a chance to reflect on their experiences. Recently, in one of my language arts classes, my professor shared with us an activity in which students are given posters that are made from a trade book that has been taken apart and laminated. The students come up with questions about their poster that another student may be able to answer with their part of the book or it will become a question that they will need to research. Together the class will create a graphic organizer of questions that they want to answer about their topic. This is a great way to create student lead research projects and experiments! I am going to be student teaching in the fall and I can't wait to try this one out! Thank you for all of the other great ideas and resources posted on this thread!

Lauren Leber
Lauren Leber
1165 Activity Points

Doris, Kathy and all -

I am excited to talk about all the different types of writing we do in science and the differences between science notebooks and journals - but I wanted to post this resource before the end of the year claims us all -
the Never Ending Story is my end of the year assessment, review, send off - everything with my fourth graders.

I have certainly taken on my own spin with it - but I started right after reading this article and followed along closely the first time through. I love this project because they choose the level of writing detail, artistry and creativity - and I just keep pushing with them. I bring all of the art supplies that are in questionable condition, scraps of sparkly paper and glitter, how to books for fancy handwriting and doodle pictures - anything I can think of - and we create a book together that is our collective learning and imaginations for the year. They are some of the best reference books in my classroom! I know that every entry is on topic and age appropriate.

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

June 12th is diary day and a great time to promote science journals. If students have not already left for the summer perhaps getting them to keep a science journal over the summer can help obviate backsliding during the break. http://ed.fnal.gov/trc_new/sciencelines_online/fall97/activity_inserts.html

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68525 Activity Points

I am beginning to think that maybe there is a need for a science journal and a science notebook. I am really struggling with this one... I remember searching and finding scientists'notebooks to share with my students. Would I find the same thing if I looked for science journals? One thing I am going to do over the summer is to try to come a decision for myself on this question. Maybe I am struggling for no reason, but I think there is a difference and I think students need to understand the difference. Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

Kathy - I've been struggling with the same thing for the past two school years. I think that I make the problem worse by only seeing my students one day per week (I have one triple block per week with each group). In writing my end of the year reflection I thought about trying the 3 ring binder approach to a science notebook for all of our classwork, but also having the kids each have a small personal journal that they could write anything in. Take notes, record ideas they have during the week, anything they tried at home etc... Has anyone tried that before?

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

Caryn, Glad to know I am not alone in my thinking. I understand how important reflection is in learning but I am do not think it belongs in a science notebook. i am learning heavily toward a separate science journal. I like the idea of 3 ring binder. You can clearly separate the notebook from a journal with a divider.

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

I think that writing in science includes collecting the data and writing it down,explaining the evidence,and like Kathy said making predictions. Writing should not be the main component of a science lesson because students will find it boring but it is essential for students to keep record of their experiments and ideas. Before having students write the is the teacher's job to engage the students that way they will be encouraged to complete the experiment,read about it and most importantly write.

Ariadna Alvarez
Ariadna Alvarez
3010 Activity Points

Okay - has anyone used a combined platform of conventional notebook and electronic work - dropbox or a class wiki etc.? because I only see my kids one day each week (magnet program) I'm trying to come up with an ides that will allow for extended writing that students are accountable for, the chance to read through their work and provide feedback on work that shows creativity that I seldom find in computer based work. Ideas please!

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

Adriana said, " Before having students write the is the teacher's job to engage the students that way they will be encouraged to complete the experiment,read about it and most importantly write." I think you nailed it. Students need the opportunity to talk before they write. Students who engage in scientific discourse have a chance to reflect on the work they have done in their investigations and refine their thinking as they analyze the investigations and begin to draw conclusions. Doing this also addresses Scientifc and engineering Practice # 7 Engage in Argument from Evidence. I am attaching some text from the K-12 Framework for Science Education that goes into further detail about this practice. After students have had the opportunity to "practice writing" verbslly, they will be ready to put pen to paper I believe. Doing this also provides you with an additional bonus, you will have addressed and maybe even have an opportunity to assess Common Core ELA, speaking and listening standards. Kathy

Attachments

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

Caryn,

I think I am going to try to address part of your question, but I want to think more about the wiki dropbox piece. I like the way you are moving with this.

You are looking for a way to extend students writing from their science notebooks. I have a resource that is a MUST ( not really ), but I do recommend it.

Karen Worth and her colleagues have done an excellent job addressing this element in their work Science and Literacy: A Natural Fit. You can check it out at Science & Literacy

I am also attaching the table of contents and a sample chapter from the book

Ooops! I almost forgot here is a preview video also.

Preview Video

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

Kathy - Thank you so much for the great resources! I actually have looked at the Sci & Lit A Natural Fit recently - on your recommendation too I think ;-) You always share the best stuff - thank you! Can you re-post the link for Argumentation? I can't get it to open (might be my quirky computer)

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

Caryn, I am going to repost this document. It is an excerpt of the K12 Framework but sometimes it is nice to see just the piece you are working on.

Attachments

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

I've posted on this topic before, but since that post I've put together a collection of resources on writing in the science classroom. Thought I'd share it here for everyone! Kendra


Writing Skills Collection
(24 items)
Perspectives: On Writing in Science
     -Journal Article
Learning to Write and Writing to Learn in Science: Refutational Texts and Analytical Rubrics
     -Journal Article
Science Sampler: Writing in Science—Beyond the lab report
     -Journal Article

Kendra Young
Kendra Young
17180 Activity Points

I couldnt agree more with writing in science. i feel that writing is mixed into so many different subjects and science is just as important as all of the other subjects. It is so important for our students to understand how to write so they can express themselves in the highest matter when trying to discuss science. This helps with experiemnts and trying to solve issues.

Jazmine Baez
Jazmine Baez
1740 Activity Points

We have taken a reflective approach to our field trips and field experiences. Writing is tough to require and assess if it is always guided or teacher directed. The reflective approach allows us to discover misconceptions and limitations of our teaching.

Joseph Cerna
Joseph Cerna
840 Activity Points

FYI- I was thinking about science notebboks and writing earlier this morning when I was in Staples. Staples had composition books with graph paper on sale for $.40 a piece. I was in a New Hampshire store but I am assuming this is a nationwide sale. Although I want students to do some writing in their notebooks, using graph paper provides a perfect place for recording and organizing their data. Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

It seems that there are as many ways to use science notebooks as there are teachers to teach science. I have been using them for around 5 years and every year I find that I change my ideas. I began by using small notebooks...paper stapled together with a cover for each unit (when I taught first grade). In second grade I used the composition books which were really handy. I begin the year with an inquiry lesson that we all progress on together. Then in the next lesson, there is less copying and in the next less ... a form of gradual release until I have taught all the things I want to see in an investigation. We spend a lot of time on each part. When students begin doing their own investigations they automatically add in their own charts or web addresses, digital pictures that they took or drawings. I have my students stop periodically and reflect on what they are learning and then write more questions or thoughts. Two years ago I went to three ring binders because even though I shrink down my blacklines and have students glue them in, sometimes they want to add other materials such as leaves they collected and pressed. I use either page protectors and tape them shut at the top or Ziplock bags that the students push over the prongs. I also like the Avery brand of notebook called the Flipback 360. Students can flip back the cover and use the notebook like clipboard and the cover doesn't break or tear off. My students begin with 30 pieces of reinforced notebook paper. I buy the paper with my instructional money because I find that it doesn't tear out and then there is not need for reinforcing or gluing to another page or whatever. Its not that expensive, for the convenience it provides. Students begin by leaving three pages blank for the Table of Contents and then number every page, front and back. The notebooks are interactive in that students include their own thinking about their findings in the reflection pieces. I also include sometimes during but always at the end a rubric that the student fills out and then I fill out. Its a generic rubric so it goes for any investigation. I send my notebooks home periodically and the parents also fill out a similar rubric after viewing the notebook with the child. I have found that since implementing these types of notebooks: Students are more engaged in science ALL DAY and even take home their thoughts, often returning with research they have done at home (or some critter), their reading for details and drawing conclusions and reading sequenced nonfiction pieces such as recipes or how tos is better, their writing is MUCH better. It think the writing improves because I insist that their ideas or reflections be clear.

Anne Roberts
Anne Roberts
210 Activity Points

It’s been a debate among my colleagues; note-booking or journaling?

Yanni Korakianitis
Yanni Korakianitis
2745 Activity Points

Yanni,

What is your department's goals for the notebooks or journals? That will drive which method is best for your students. I've always considered notebooks to be more teacher/classroom based - a method for students to collect notes and scraps of information obtained from the teacher or during class. Journals, in my viewpoint, are more student-based and should include mostly student reflections, observations, inferences, and so on.

Interactive notebooks are a blending of the two. On the right page, students record information obtained from their teacher or classroom (things that would normally go in a science notebook), but on the left page students record their own observations and inferences (things that would normally go in a science journal).

NSTA offers numerous resources on how to use interactive science notebooks in the classroom. Far too many to try and attach, so I've copied the link to the search results and pasted it here.

Hope that helps with your debate.
Kendra

Kendra Young
Kendra Young
17180 Activity Points

Kendra, thank you for the constructive feedback. Interactive Notebook seem like a great resource & tool. Definitely, a great start point... I will be adding these resources to my PD Planner as well. yanni

Yanni Korakianitis
Yanni Korakianitis
2745 Activity Points

I also like the idea of a science notebook being fifty percent class focused or based on class or book notes and the other half done by totally student centered activities. You could do that for each lessons where the student writes notes prints pictures and get any other kind of scraps as the first part of the entry. The next part can be almost all reflections on what the students thought of the lesson and its meaning or what it think would be cool, the students real life experiences with anything relating to the science topic they are writing about. I think if more science book were written like this it would be much more interesting for the students. The personal connection makes a huge difference in students being able to relate to a topic and retaining it in their memory.

Michael Leslie
Michael Leslie
2110 Activity Points

I like the way you phrased the interactive nature of the notebook. Thinking of the student pages like a scrapbook helps in my class - where they know that they can be a little messy- use stickie notes and jot ideas down without penalty. Anna - Thank you for your post recommending the flipback 360! I am going to try three ring binders for the first time this year! I also like the fact that you send the notebook home periodically - how do parents respond to the rubric?

NSTA Online Advisors
Learning Center Online Advisors
47870 Activity Points

These forums challenge me to do my best thinking. First of all there is a part of me that defines the science notebook as ONLY the written information that relates to the data gathered from an investigation. The interactive notebook challenges this because the teacher input may /or may not deal with the data.

I am wondering about using a Flip360 which includes 3 sections:


    Section dealing with the investigation
    Section of teacher information/Other research
    Section for Reflection



In section 1 we would find student work, notes, data about the investigation they are working on. Teacher generated data worksheets wuld be included here.In section might be informationthat extends the learning from the investigation, and section 3 coud include such items as reflection, new questions that were developed as a result of their first investigation. (Maybe the new questions go in section 1???)

Please talk to me about this. I am trying to determine what I like for a science notebook.

Kathy

Kathy Renfrew
Kathy Renfrew
34025 Activity Points

I am recently new to Science notebooks but I feel they truly are amazing because it becomes a place for students to write in a variety of ways and communicate with others. I especially like how it assists students in "owning" the concept or vocabulary. It is essential for a child to be able to explain scientific terms in their own words. Recently I have started experimenting with online science notebooks using a free website called Penzu.com. This is another way to strive towards implementation of the STEM initiative.

Maritza Garneff
Maritza Garneff
4050 Activity Points

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