Even the youngest scientist knows that the smallest details can make a difference. One of the most difficult things for students to do is to store all of their questions, observations, and experiments in their memory and retrieve the accurate information when it is needed again.
A scientific notebook is a valuable tool for providing the visual reminders of all the information that a student has collected. Although there are numerous ways that teachers in classrooms and labs can use science notebooks to improve their students’ learning experience, below are three ways that teachers and their students are benefitting from keeping science notebooks.
1. Thinking Tools
A research notebook provides students with a place to record their impressions or interpretations of what they have seen. Not only having students write down observations, but also include questions that might ask about the project will encourage them to think about answers throughout the entire process.
For example, children who are observing the stages of metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly can comment on the changes that occur every day and ask questions about details like when the wings start to appear and what they are made from. They may also pose potential theories about the answers to their questions that they can refer to once the process is complete.
Taking notes throughout the four stages of metamorphosis will help them think more about the various aspects of the process than simply glancing at them each day to see when the butterfly has emerged.
2. Reference for Teachers – Understanding and Growth
A well-kept journal will also benefit teachers by letting them see areas where children do not understand concepts so they can help them before advancing. It also provides an ongoing record of the student’s growth. Problems may be as simple to solve as helping the student with the organization of materials, or they may need additional information about a process or project to change a misconception.
3. Learning How Real Scientists Work
Most students will be exposed to science classes beyond elementary, both in high school and in college. Some percentage of them will choose science for their vocation. Keeping a scientific lab notebook in elementary will help students get a feel for what is expected from them throughout their education and in their profession later on. It isn’t just about the information they are recording but also about learning the correct method used to keep good scientific records.
Setting Up the Science Notebook
Organization of the notebook goes a long way toward making it an effective tool in the classroom. The teacher can determine what type of organizational system to use and make sure that each student follows the same layout. Some teachers find that numbering the pages before starting literally helps students stay on the same page.
Although some classrooms rely on basic wire bound notebooks to record their science findings, a notebook from the Scientific Notebook Company will provide you with a uniform grid layout and table of contents that help with organization. These notebooks are just as affordable as plain notebooks and much more practical. To learn more, or to place your order, call us at 800-537-3028.