General Science and Teaching

Science Reflecting in Journals

Science in general is a lot of experimentation and hands on work. I believe there are many ways Science can be taught in fun and interactive ways. For higher-level gifted and talented students, I believe it would be a good idea to allow them to reflect in a journal on what they have done and learned throughout their Science lesson. Would it be a good idea to allow all students in the classroom to do this after Science lessons? I want students to be able to fully learn and reflect on what they have learned.

Adilene Trevizo
Adilene Trevizo
1465 Activity Points

I like the idea of having a journal for students to write down what they learned in science on their daily basis

Linda Ngo
Linda Ngo
2735 Activity Points

At the school that I am at, the students usually use their interactive notebooks to write down their reflections on the left side of the pages whereas for the right side they could paste the worksheets/recording sheets that the teacher personally hands out for them to complete during the lesson. This technique really helps students evaluate themselves and recall what they learned throughout the lesson.

Jocelin Reyes
Jocelin Reyes
1245 Activity Points

Hello, I definitely think this its good idea for students to write a daily reflection in a journal. We do this in my "teaching science" class at FIU and it definitely helps me think back to everything we went over and reflect on what i liked, didn't like, and what i learned that day. It's also a great tool for students to keep track of what they did each day.

Anacristina Torres
Anacristina Torres
2245 Activity Points

This year I made an intentional effort to have ALL of my students (special education, intentional non-learners, and everybody else) do extensive reflections in writing (after I modeled it several times) on specific assignments. The results, according to our tests, were remarkable . . . My students' growth shot way up, especially with my low level students. Next year, I will be even more focused and intentional. However, I started small and progressively added requirements to the reflections. And at the beginning, I had to reassure my students that if they had negative reflections about what they did, there would be no penalty. I would recommend this to any teacher as long as it's not overdone. I would not have them do a formal reflection over every assignment. We did many mini-reflections verbally in class where I called only on volunteers. This too, built both confidence and trust and we were able to laugh over errors and failures and keep moving forward.

Kathy Jenkins
Kathy Jenkins
885 Activity Points

I just read two articles about the importance of incorporating NOS (Nature of Science) in your classroom instruction. Each talked about the importance of taking time, during and at the conclusion of any activity, to integrate certain aspects of NOS through planned reflective questions during discussion. The idea for students to keep a journal is a great idea. This allows them to summarize their thoughts about what was learned that day, and it's also a great way to assess whether the activity is worth doing again or not. NOS also goes into detail about subjectivity in science and how people interpret information differently. A journal will also help you to see where their thoughts are scientifically and how they came to their conclusions. Overall, having them keep a journal sounds like it would be a win-win for all.

Sydney Lifchez
Sydney Lifchez
715 Activity Points

My students use an interactive science notebook, which incorporates reflection into the left-hand side activities. Depending upon the lesson, activity or desired outcome, I have students complete reflections on what they learned either that day or during an activity. For example, we complete a "How much water is there?" activity. Students divide their left hand side page into a top and bottom section. On the top, they write an estimate on how much of Earth's water is fresh and drinkable, using a 1000mL beaker of water to represent all of Earth's water. As we complete the activity, students record on the right hand side, in a three column table, a prediction, an actual amount, and in a third column the difference. After we complete the activity, students reflect on what they learned about the amount of fresh water available, using the information from their estimate and from the activity to complete their reflection. Reflection can be a powerful tool in teaching!

Susanne Hokkanen
Susanne Hokkanen
79060 Activity Points

I also used a reflective piece in notebooks in my classes. Some were like Sue described. But I also provided guided reflections where I would ask them to think about how we did certain things in class. For example, during the last unit, when did you make inferences? what kinds of predictions can you make about ________ based on the lab or the reading we did yesterday. I enjoy seeing students thoughts about why they predicted What they predicted vs their reflections on the end of a lab or engineering project and what actually happened and what they learned from doing it. And I do use this when I am teaching gifted elementary students - they tend to be naturally reflective anyway but sometimes don't think anyone is listening/ noticing so it gives them a way to feel they are being heard. Since you do not specify if you are elementary, or secondary I have attached collections for both.


Helping Students to be Science Literate - Elementary Collection
(25 items)
External Resource - Heinemann Publishers - Writing in Science site
     -User Uploaded Resource
Rev Up Your Veggies! Building model race cars lets students explore physical science concepts and promotes cooperative learning
     -Journal Article
Student-Centered Notebooks
     -Journal Article

Secondary Notebooking Collection
(8 items)
“Scientific Writing”—A Course to Improve the Writing of Science Students: Stressing the English Language Component of Scientific Writing
     -Journal Article
Science Sampler: Science interactive notebooks in the classroom
     -Journal Article
Using Interactive Science Notebooks for Inquiry-Based Science
     -Journal Article

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65560 Activity Points

" I love your ideals of the three ways to teach science. I like that you stated"For higher-level gifted and talented students, I believe it would be a good idea to allow them to reflect in a journal on what they have done and learned throughout their Science lesson." I agree with this statement all the way. Great Job

Alicia Taylor
Alicia Taylor
1430 Activity Points

I like the idea of students reflecting in a journal. Reflection promotes higher level thinking in which students are required to think critically about what they have observed. I love it!

Alicia Taylor
Alicia Taylor
1430 Activity Points

Interactive notebooks are a real popular thing now and students really enjoy them. You can have them make foldables and drawings to match what they learned. You can also allow them to take notes in them and tell them that they will serve as their study guide to encourage them to take their notebook seriously.

Tiffany Smith
Tiffany Smith
1350 Activity Points

I have noticed that they are popular because I learned it in college. I thought it was a lot of work from all those foldable. Overall, it helps remember what we learn in the classroom.

Linda Ngo
Linda Ngo
2735 Activity Points

I student in a third grade ELL classroom and I think my students benefit a lot from keeping an interactive journal. I believe all students can benefit from reflecting in their journal about the science lesson for the day, not just the GT students. Reflections is a good way to take an informal assessment and students will be able to write at their own ability level.

Michelle Nguyen
Michelle Nguyen
1255 Activity Points

Yes, I love seeing teachers using interactive notebooks with their students. I think they are really effective!

Reenee Palacios
Reenee Palacios
1135 Activity Points

I definitely agree

Linda Ngo
Linda Ngo
2735 Activity Points

I think it's a great idea for teachers to have their students reflect in their science journals! It allows the students to think back on what they learned. It's also a great way for teachers to see what the students gained from the lesson as well as see if they were able to fully understand the concept that was learned.

Jalenni Cruz
Jalenni Cruz
2330 Activity Points

I think that would be pretty cool to have an interactive notebook or journal to keep track of all the experiments and activities. In high school we would just do an experiment, fill out a sheet, get a grade, and end up tossing the paper afterwords. The journals would give a us the opportunity to keep everything in one place and go back and look at what we observed as well.

Kifton Vanemon
Kifton Vanemon
660 Activity Points

I feel that it is an amazing idea to allow students to reflect what they learned in science journals. Even myself who is in a college course have teachers that require us to complete a journal entry on what we have done. I also feel that it is a great way for teachers to see whether or not the students understood the concepts being taught and if they might have to look back to the lesson to see what they can do in order to help the students grasp the concept.

Natalie Prieto
Natalie Prieto
2410 Activity Points

Yes. I think all students should have a science journal, not just gifted and talented students. The more you challenge your students the better they perform.

Diana Ponce
Diana Ponce
1615 Activity Points

I am currently in student teaching, but i am definitely using interactive notebooks in my classroom! they can be used from elementary level all the way to high school. my brother is a senior, and he uses an interactive notebook in class!

Elizabeth Ruiz
elizabeth ruiz
1035 Activity Points

I also think that interactive notebooks are a great way to see where you're students are at and assess their knowledge. I would tell them to write down any questions thy may have about a lesson or lab they were doing that might not have been discussed in class so you can go over it with them the next day. I believe as a teacher its our job to make sure we know where are students are at in the learning process and address any misconceptions they may have. Also it could be an easy assessment grade so that the students are sure to give good feedback from the days lesson.

Lauren Carpenter
Lauren Carpenter
355 Activity Points

I love the idea of asking them if they have any questions. I assumed (awful word, isn't it?) they would. Bringing it to the students' attention that it's okay to ask questions is much better. Thank you!

Kathy Jenkins
Kathy Jenkins
885 Activity Points

I believe that it would be a good idea to have everyone in your classroom create a journal after a science lesson. I would even suggest maybe having them write down their predictions before and what happens during and then finally have them write concluding statements at the end of the experiment. I personally feel that almost anyone can succeed in doing a science journal, you can never go wrong. I am in school to become an elementary teacher and am currently taking a general science class for teaching elementary science. Right now we are keeping a moon journal and exploring the lunar phases, seasons and craters. To be honest, this is some of the most interesting things that I am learning even as an adult. I can only imagine how my future students are going to feel! :) By keeping a journal, children can explore their imagination and think through why they believe certain things happen the way they do in order for them to try to make sense of it in their brain first. So with that being said, to answer your question, yes I do believe everyone can benefit from science journals. You do not have to have a certain level of capabilities in order to keep one. They are the students own personal journals that let them explore their own imagination. All you have to do as their teacher is be the one asking good questions and helping them organize it! :) Hope this helps!

Elissa Smith
Elissa Smith
2050 Activity Points

I have read a lot of research on the benefits of a science journal. As mentioned, test scores climb when students have an opportunity to take responsibility for their learning. I think this is especially true when they reflect on what they did, questions they have, and investigate the variables connected to the experiment. I call it "digging deeper" and usually have a sand shovel that I will pull out to have them get the idea. One thing I have noticed though, is many students only want to write down what they think you want them to say and be done. As a teacher, do diligence is necessary to help them make it a true reflective entry.

Susan DeGeorge
Susan DeGeorge
610 Activity Points

Interactive journaling is something I am excited about! When students take the time to make the journal personal, it bridges a connection between the learner and the lesson.

Elizabeth Porco
Elizabeth Porco
255 Activity Points

When students take time to reflect and then also record what they have done in class they also feel ownership and accomplishment.

Melanie Sanders
Melanie Sanders
1475 Activity Points

That's very true. Also, it helps they work through their understanding about a concept. In my experience I like students to make a pre-activity and post-activity reflection surrounding a concept. Before we start a new lesson (or concept), I have them do a "What Do I Think?" reflection. I might demonstrate a discrepant events, describe an intriguing scenario, and show them a picture to get their minds focused on what we will be learning. I have them write about what they see and what they think might be causing it. At the end of the lesson, I have them write a reflection about "What I Think Now?" Student revisit their writing from the beginning of class and revise it based on their new found knowledge. It is a wonderful method that helps with comprehension.

Ruth Lehmann Hutson
Ruth Hutson
59630 Activity Points

The more students get the chance to reflect about what they have learned, the more they will think on it and digest what they actually have learned. If at first they are shallow in their responses the chance to continue to make more reflections through out their work with science will build upon their knowledge and see improvement in what they write.

Sarah Salonen
Sarah Salonen
320 Activity Points

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers