Elementary Science

Science Notebook

I have been interested to see the different formats of science notebooking. I was wondering if anyone has found a specific format to work best for the Elementary grade levels?

Emmalee Toland
Emmalee Toland
160 Activity Points

In the classroom I am in, we use the science notebooks all the time. Students use them to write what they learned in science that day, draw pictures of things they observe or things we are doing, and they can even paste different recording sheets in there. I would say that you should use the notebook for whatever works for you based on what kinds of activities your class does.

Kelsi Wiechkoske
Kelsi Wiechkoske
1685 Activity Points

Hi Emmalee, I am a preservice teacher and I have seen my science/math mentor use notebooking every day in her classroom. She has then takes notes on the topic of the day. For example, I led the lesson on precipitation today. I had them write the word at the top of their page and then the definition, which I provided for them. We talked about two types of precipitation: rain and snow and they wrote a few sentences about them. The students then drew pictures representing rain and snow. Each day, my science teacher has them do this and the format can change, depending on the topic. She also has them write their observations of when they go outside in their science notebook as well. Sometimes, she will provide stuff for them to glue in their notebooks as well. I think having them utilize their notebook in some way each day, it helps the students get in the habit of using them. The format can vary, whether it be definition, notes, and pictures on a certain topic or written observations. Being consistent is key and going through it with them is very helpful. I think you could even have it been a science writing notebook, where the students complete their writings about each topic and include a picture with each. That way, the format is consistent and the students know what to use the notebook for. Best of luck, hope this helps! Best, Alisa Kunhavijit

Alisa Kunhavijit
Alisa Kunhavijit
2600 Activity Points

Emmalee, I am actually a college student and in our Teaching Elementary Science class, we keep both a science journal and a science notebook. Our journal is used to take class and observational notes, notes about any experiments we do, any questions that our professor has us respond to and we are also required to reflect on the class each day, as a review for ourselves. Our science notebook is a three-ring binder that holds all of the papers we have received all semester. These are any handouts, any graded work we've gotten back, we put it there. I believe these same tools could be used to keep elementary students organized and could even serve as a grade at the end of the year to help them learn to keep their work all together at a young age.

Vanessa Zach
Vanessa Zach
2840 Activity Points

I'm a student teacher in a third grade class. In my class, students use their notebooks to draw pictures of what they observe and glue their worksheets. And they do science writing in the notebooks too.

HeeJu Shin
HeeJu Shin
870 Activity Points

I've used science notebooks in middle/high school and as a graduate student in a teaching credential program. I think it's really effective. It helps organize all of your scientific thoughts and you can see a progression of your growth. In my middle school and high school, we had a chance to decorate our notebooks which made it personal and fun. I recommend having a table of contents and for students to number the pages for quick references.

Brandon Ishikata
Brandon Ishikata
330 Activity Points

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

Zaida Serrato
Zaida Serrato
1770 Activity Points

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

Zaida Serrato
Zaida Serrato
1770 Activity Points

Hello Emmalee, I have found that students have creativity but sometimes lack a certain structure to express all their knowledge. A science notebook is a great way to provide that structure in an organized manner. You can have students have composition notebooks and have them divide the notebook into sections using sticky notes. I would definitely suggest having a section for data (this is where they record observations during investigations and lab experiments). I would also suggest having another section for the students to reflect on the data they collect and how it relates to the lab/experiment, maybe title this "lab/investigation reflections". Two other sections I've found to be useful are - class notes and questions of the week. These allow the students to have access to information and to think reflectively about this information.  P.S. This is similar to the structure I use on my own science notebook in my SCE 4311 course, and although it is tedious it is very handy to know where everything is. 

Lietty Roig Aloma
Lietty
2170 Activity Points

With elementary students, you have to be willing to make the time to actually help them organize their notebooks. It helps to keep a table of contents and that it follows the teacher's pages.

Lisa Silva
Lisa Silva
1065 Activity Points

I've learned that if you do the notebook with the students they tend to take it more seriously. Have a notebook of your own for each of your classes. It provides an example, expectations, format for their notebooks. Also, provide the students (older students) with an opportunity to decorate or personalize them. For example, have them make an authors page.

Mariam Afshar
Mariam Afshar
1185 Activity Points

I agree having a teacher notebook is helpful. It keeps you on track of where you are and what you have completed with each class, and gives the students a visual of what your expectations are for their notebook.

Elizabeth Epstein
elizabeth epstein
370 Activity Points

Miriam, I do the same thing with my students! It's also important to check them as often as possible, because some students definitely struggle with organization. I would suggest checking them during testing. It's the perfect time to get caught up!

Marion Harvey
Marion Harvey
1000 Activity Points

From my experience in a classroom, note-booking differently works best in an elementary class if you make it routine. By modeling the practice with them and having them do it everyday they make it a habit and you will likely get the most out of the action. Also make sure the students are held accountable for what they write in the notebooks! Meaning check them! Which is more work! In the end know though it teaches them note-taking, accountability, and now they have a awesome artifact from the year! 

Megan Essman
Megan Essman
1255 Activity Points

I love science notebook.  My daughter has started using one in 1st grade and she loves to bring it home and share her writings.  Her teacher allows her to write one thing she enjoyed, one thing she wonders, and one thing she struggled with each day.  She also keeps any observations she does.  This not only allows her teacher to see where she stands but me to see.  I am writing this idea down so I can use it one day in the classroom as I love it.  I also love how this helps her handwriting, spelling, and thoughts on paper skills.  

Jody Grandier
jody grandier
1590 Activity Points

Ah! Thanks for sharing this. These ideas are so simple and can be easily integrated into the daily schedule.

Maxine Dibert
Maxine Dibert
1345 Activity Points

I like that your daughter's teacher has her record the three things every day.  That is a great way to have students reflect on their learning and really make that notebook meaningful to the student,

Lesley Jackson
Lesley Jackson
1720 Activity Points

I love science notebook.  My daughter has started using one in 1st grade and she loves to bring it home and share her writings.  Her teacher allows her to write one thing she enjoyed, one thing she wonders, and one thing she struggled with each day.  She also keeps any observations she does.  This not only allows her teacher to see where she stands but me to see.  I am writing this idea down so I can use it one day in the classroom as I love it.  I also love how this helps her handwriting, spelling, and thoughts on paper skills.  

Jody Grandier
jody grandier
1590 Activity Points

I think this is a great idea for teachers, students, and parents to all be involved! Would the teacher ask them to answer the questions at the end of a lesson? 

Brianna Gage
Brianna Gage
600 Activity Points

I also love the idea of a science notebook.  One idea for a younger grade to get them used to the idea could be to create the pages for them and print them out and then bind them to create a makeshift notebook for the kids.  Then, you could transition them into using a real notebook once they are used to the formatting and the idea of making observations using a notebook. 

Kaitlyn Warner
Kaitlyn Warner
1245 Activity Points

I think science notebooks are great ideas! I've noticed in some class rooms that it is best for younger students to work through your own notebook along side with the students. The teacher fills in the notebook so that the students have a model they can go after. This way the students are able to be organized with their own notebooks. One thing I see a lot is the teacher will project her own notebook so that the student can follow along and this keeps them on track with their own notebooks. I think it's a great idea! I think it is best to have a table of contents and let students see where you put your information so that they can can keep up and follow along instead of jumping around in their notebooks. 

Laura Dang
Laura Dang
995 Activity Points

Students can create their own science notebook in the class by using a composition book, and post its for tabs.  Its an inexpesive and quick way to create a journal. Each tab will have the name of a section such as observations, or data. In the beginning of the journal, the students will create a table of continents. 

Jessica Escorcia
Jessica
615 Activity Points

In the second grade classroom, we use interactive notebooks and organize the notebook by units and science topics. The students use sticky notes to label the topic and use them as tabs for the notebooks. The students take notes in their book, write their observations during investigations, glue their worksheets, etc. There are many different things you can do in the notebooks. On the plus side, it helps students stay organized and they can access the information at any time!

An Nguyen
An Nguyen
995 Activity Points

In the third grade classroom I'm in the teacher uses science notebooks to help the students keep track of their work. She helps them make a table of contents and the students glue their work in the notebook. They write about what they learned that day or draw a picture about what they learned next to their work. You can help the students section their notebooks for observations, data, or questions by using tabs.

Adrienne Ceballos
Adrienne Ceballos
885 Activity Points

These are all very effective ideas. In my classroom we use a science notebook as well, or as we call them our "journals". I think these are extremely valuable in the classroom especially for younger students. It helps them keep track of their work and their observations. It also is a great way for them to always quickly write and refer to any notes or questions they may have. Our notebooks are organized by tabs and titles and that also helps for us to quickly recall information. I like the idea of the teacher having some pages printed out or pre written for students, it makes it easier for the students to fill in essential information that can guide them in their studies. 


Erika Cristina
295 Activity Points

Hello! I am currently a senior at Florida International University, and my Teaching Science Content Professor showed us an awesome way to keep a science journal. It is probably the most organized thing I have ever seen!  [ol]

  • Have students number pages, front and back. (This may seem like a waste of time, but it's important!)
  • Create your table of contents pages. Yes, pages. Each section in the journal will have it's own table of content page. Some examples of the different sections are: Lab/Inquiry, Question of the Day, Class Reflections, Discussion Notes, and Assessments
  • If Lab/Inquiry runs from page 58 to 80, you would list that on your content page. Then, on each line of that content page you would list what was written on that page. An example of this would be Force Activity --- Page 60-62.
  • [/ol] Hope this was helpful!

    Jordan Lorow
    Jordan Lorow
    2170 Activity Points

    Great topic to discuss. I also want to know how to create notebooks that will make the science learning more valuable. Thanks for all of the great tips.

    Bethaney Jones
    Bethaney Jones
    820 Activity Points

    Science notebooks are great. I feel like the format of the Science notebook changes depending on what you are doing in the class, but I always have them put their name and date in the right hand corner and add a title. I will model how I would like the notebook to look on that day on the board. This usually includes things like charts and sentence starters.

    Jennifer Ilant
    jennifer ilant
    430 Activity Points

    I am in a 2nd grade classroom. We use our science notebook as often as science is taught. They record their observations, both with drawings and writing. They also categorize items and glue into handouts from the teacher. We don't ever really copy things off the board because that's not what they're at school for, if they all need something my cooperating teacher simply provides a handout. 

    Antonia Adams
    Antonia Adams
    845 Activity Points

    I am a student teacher and we have science notebooks that we use in our Teaching Elementary Science class. The notebook is a composition notebook. At the beginning of the year, we were instructed to number all of the pages of the notebook and create a table of contents. As the class progressed, we added to the notebook and table of contents. As this may be harder for younger elementary school students to do, this idea can be modified to suit all student needs. Using a binder may be easier as well. I have noticed that using foldables are helpful for the students in my class and they seem to like using them. 

    Sammi Toia
    Sammi Toia
    360 Activity Points

    The school I am student teaching at is really big on interactive notebooks so we have one for every subject. I recently just taught a lesson on soil and it allowed them to take notes and write descriptions about humus and used their five senses to describe it. You can honestly use an interactive notebook for anything, but it is really great for students to take notes in it so they can look back at it if they need to for extra help. 

    Kimberly Thompson
    Kimberly Thompson
    1290 Activity Points

    What do you use for your interactive notebooks?  Also, what grade is doing this.  I would love to learn more about how to integrate technology into an interactive notebook. Any ideas?

    Rebekah Campbell
    Rebekah Campbell
    2810 Activity Points

    During my practicum this semester, my 5th graders use their science notebooks every day. We have used them for many things such as observations, drawings, data, and notes. Notebooks will look different with each grade level. The format and what the students write in them will vary. Demonstrating how you want their page to look is very helpful. Also, for me with my 5th graders, walking around with a checklist addressing science notebook use was helpful. My checklist was just used to keep track of who was using their science notebooks correctly. This helped me determine who may need more assistance with their science notebooks. Good luck!

    Amanda Newton
    Amanda Newton
    550 Activity Points

    In the classroom that I am working in, the students use both science and math notebooks. They use the notebooks to record observations and results from their experiments or to draw pictures of their results. The students use the notebooks everyday and are shown models for how their entries should look. I think that whatever format you choose to use will work nicely as long as the students have a good model for how the notebook should look.

    Amber Daker
    Amber Daker
    265 Activity Points

    Students can draw what they observe. Plus, they can create foldables and draw what they observe on the foldables to place in their interactive notebook. There can be a google search on foldables.  

    Saif Sattani
    Saif Sattani
    1720 Activity Points

    I think having an interactive science notebook is a great idea as it allows students to reflect on their learning and record their thoughts. The most important tip I have learned is having a "model" science notebook that the students can open and reference whenever they need to and spending the first day explicitly explaining how to set up the notebook. I would recommend having a "title" page that students can decorate so they feel ownership over their learning. Next, a table of contents to keep organized. Lastly, have students number all the pages.

    Kimberly Chhouen
    Kimberly Chhouen
    465 Activity Points

    I am a pre-service teacher in a second grade classroom.  We have a notebook for every subject, including Science.  For the most part, the students are given blank diagrams to fill in or teacher led graphic organizers so reflect on the lessons.  Overall the notebooks serve as a great reference tool throughout the unit and they keep the students actively engaged in the lessons.

    Jasmin Hawkins
    Jasmin Hawkins
    1995 Activity Points

    There are many ways to use a science notebook. In my opinion the best way is one that meets your classes needs. In my class the students aren't quite ready to write as much so we incorporate a lot of foldables in their notebook along with their writing. I feel it is best to look at your classes needs and move on from there. 

    Rachel Ryan
    Rachel Ryan
    820 Activity Points

    I think science notebooks are great to have record of what is being taught and observed during science. On the other hand, I think having them engaged in more hands on can be more meaningful. Notebooks are great, but it is important to have a balance on hands on and writing on science notebooks.

    Maria Castillo
    Maria Castillo
    1475 Activity Points

    From experience I have found that I love having science notebooks. They can take notes, make foldables, they can use them to store all the data they collect when we do labs. They can always go back to their notes if they have questions about something. The notebooks can be used interchangeably of the kinds of resources you place inside. The notebook itself is a great tool.  

    Laquiesha Estimbo
    Laquiesha Estimbo
    2635 Activity Points

    Science notebooks do not have to be a certain way. It is a science journal to where students can display their work or their thoughts on the science content they are working on. Be creative, they will love it.  Preferences § 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 - = Backspace Tab q w e r t y u i o p [ ] Return capslock a s d f g h j k l ; ' \ shift ` z x c v b n m , . / shift English Deutsch Español Français Italiano Português ??????? alt alt Preferences

    Lauren Cardenas
    lauren cardenas
    1815 Activity Points

    I use notebooks in my class and I grade them after every unit test. I give the students an opportunity to peer grade them before I grade them and that has seemed to work well in my classes. I tried the interactive notebooks during the first semester and that did not work well for me so I changed to a 3 ring binder with labeled dividers and a table of contents. This seems to be working much better. 

    Michelle Logue
    Michelle Logue
    1100 Activity Points

    I currently use this format with my students. I found if I grade them weekly but review them daily they tend to do much better on their weekly exams.

    Attachments

    cornell.pdf (0.19 Mb)

    Zaida Serrato
    Zaida Serrato
    1770 Activity Points

    I am currently doing field experiences hours in a fifth grade classroom in which the students have a science notebook. The teacher has the notebook divided into two sections. The first section is the students class notes. What the teacher does is teach a lesson and then after she has taught the lesson the students can use their textbook to write their notes. The students though are to rephrase or summarize what they have learned this way they go over the information they have just learned. The second section is used to write date or notes about an activity or experiment that is being done. The teacher says that she finds this method to work best for her when it comes to notebooks.

    Beatriz Ulloa
    Beatriz Ulloa
    3435 Activity Points

    I am in a practicum class right now, observing another teacher. It is a fourth grade classroom and they have notebooks for each subject. The teacher uses composition notebooks and she calls them interactive notebooks. For science she has them take all of their notes in their interactive notebooks and often gives them different things to glue into the journals. This way the students feel like they are in control of the journal but the teacher still guides what she wants them to have inside the interactive journal. The kids keep a table of contents to keep the journal somewhat organized and they are graded depending on how much they have used their interactive journal and also for how organized it is.

    Solvej Kristensen
    Solvej Kristensen
    1190 Activity Points

    Perhaps you could give out a sheet periodically reminding students what all they should have in their notebooks by this time. I have been in classes where the teacher lets us put our work wherever we would like and I have been in a class where it was much more structured and all the work done in class and handouts were on the left side while the personal notes and homework went on the right side. I am a developing teaching student and I hated the idea of using interactive notebooks for my own classes as I was required to. However, towards to the end of the semester when it came time to study for finals, it was great! Everything that I needed to study and go over was all in one place. I can say that I did not feel that the super structured way of doing the interactive notebook made a difference for me, I felt that it was more beneficial to my professor once she went through and checked it.

    Yolanda Garza
    Yolanda Garza
    855 Activity Points

    I liked the use of a science interactive journals. The interactive notebook is usually a composition notebook but i like spiral notebooks better because spirals have more room for students to glue their work in. This science interactive notebook is great because i find so many print outs and i think foldable are great. Foldables are a great activity for students. Foldables also teach students new ways to study for the future. These foldable s can be glued into the science interactive notebooks along with any other worksheets we used during class.

    Jordan Babcock
    Jordan Babcock
    505 Activity Points

    If you are looking for a notebook that will hold up for the entire year,  try the Acceleration by Staples. It has 8 1/2 X 11 inch pages which means students can tape or glue in pages without folding. Also,  the covers are sturdy and do not tear out.  Another great feature is the covered spiral. The binding keeps the spiral protected and the spiral is sturdy enough to not unravel. 

    Nicole Bay
    Nicole Bay
    200 Activity Points

    At the school I am currently place, the students use a science interactive notebook, and the teacher has one for herself as well. It is a composition notebook, and on every left page the students paste in information they have received from the teacher or their notes, and on the right side they write their reflections. The teacher models at the front of the room what the notebook should look like so she can walk around and make sure the students have all the information they need. The students also make pockets in their notebooks to put bigger packets of paper. This is a great resource for the students because they have all their resources and information in one notebook, and it diminishes the chance of things getting lost.  I hope this helps!

    Kimberly Dempsey
    Kimberly Dempsey
    870 Activity Points

    I think that using an interactive notebook is a neat way for students to have a science notebook.  An interactive notebook is simply a composition book and inside students can write in notes, glue/tape important handouts, create foldables with important information and glue it in.  By doing this students have a notebook that they can always go back to and study or just look at information that they need.   Cielo 

    Cielo Sanchez
    Cielo Sanchez
    835 Activity Points

    In the classroom that I am student teaching at, my field teacher loves having her students use science notebooks. After observing the student use them, I have to say that I love them too. They are a great place for students to write down what they learned, their thoughts, different observations from experiments and any lingering questions that they have. My field teacher has the notebook set up in different sections. For example, a section for experiments, a section for questions and a section for what the students learned in a lesson. This is a great way to teach the students organization skills as well. 

    Kelly Anne McKinley
    Kelly Anne McKinley
    2935 Activity Points

    I am currently student teaching and my cooperating teacher uses these in her science classroom.  The way that she does it seems to work very well for the students.  The pages that are on the right side of the open notebook are the "teacher-side" pages and the left side is the "student side."  The "teacher side" is where information given directly from the teacher is placed.  The "student side" is where student work is placed.  She also has the students create a glossary in the back of the notebook for their vocabulary words.  The students surprisingly get very excited to add more words into their glossaries!  One thing that I have used in my personal interactive notebooks that she does not use is a table of contents at the front of the notebook.  This is extremely helpful when trying to find something in particular.

    Myca Miller
    Myca Miller
    750 Activity Points

    I have also noticed that having the science notebooks are very helpful. The students take notes, anchor the labs, and can use the science notebook for reference.

    Monica Humphery
    Monica Humphery
    250 Activity Points

    Science note books are awesome! It keeps them organized and the generally keep up with them because the amount of time and effort put into them. Use them to study for test and quizzes because all of their notes are there to help them study. I think all teachers should think about using interactive notebooks.

    Felicia Thomas
    Felicia Thomas
    210 Activity Points

    I definitely think students benefit from having a class journal. The journal can become a great tool for them to organize information and study from when needed. I also think having children write in their journal after every class will help them reflect on what they have just learned. We can motivate students to have a journal by telling them they can decorate it however they want to. This can also be a great tool for the teacher to read her student's thoughts on specific lessons and maybe modify them according to what the students enjoy and did not enjoy.

    Maryan Loaiza Betancourt
    Maryan Loaiza Betancourt
    7530 Activity Points

    I agree that having a class journal or a science notebook would be beneficial for the students. It will help them build a foundation for organizing, learning and studying information.

    Carly Cox
    Carly Cox
    215 Activity Points

    Depending on the age group, would the students be able to enjoy class journals if they are following a specific format and are not able to be creative?

    Carly Cox
    Carly Cox
    215 Activity Points

    With the rapid proliferation of technology in our schools, I wonder if we will switch over to electronic notebooks?

    Elise Murphy
    Elise Murphy
    220 Activity Points

    I think allowing the students to have a lot of freedom in their science notebooks really increases their enjoyment and involvement in their science notebooks. Recording in a science notebook is very important and develops certain skills, but I don't think they should be taken for a grade. It allows the students to have something of their own, to make it their own, and to really be engaged in their science learning.

    Zoe Huizenga
    Zoe Huizenga
    180 Activity Points

    I think that would be really neat. Children love technology and I think we should embrace what they love so they want to learn. Also, it can be helpful for several different types of learners. Technology is difficult to work with sometimes though because there can be so many technical issues. It may be hard to do but I think it would be beneficial and I see it becoming more common in the future.

    Sarah Estakhri
    Sarah Estakhri
    1400 Activity Points

    Personally, I like to allow more freedom in science notebooks. As long as they are taking notes, I am not super specific when it comes to being exact. The reason I do this, is because I learn better when I have more control over where things go inside my own notes. For those who like more structure, you can give them an example of what to do, but don't be strict!

    Deborah Pederson
    Deborah Pederson
    1040 Activity Points

    In my school we are using composition books. We have made it to where the kids put their input on the left side and everything done in class or even notes on the right side. It is great because they stay organized!

    Isabel Uribe
    Isabel Uribe
    1055 Activity Points

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