Monthly Archives: December 2016

Famous People and Their Notebooks

Think your laboratory notebook is just there for taking notes for class and doodling in the margins? Then you’re definitely underestimating the potential of the humble notebook, into which some of the important thoughts of creations throughout the last few hundred years of human history have been recorded.

Often, the person scribbling notes didn’t even realize how important their stray thoughts and idle observations would end up being. Still, that doesn’t stop the following notebooks of great people from being the sources of some of the most important developments in science and art in human history.

Famous notebooks

George Lucas and the Prophetic Sound Mix

Before he was the famous creator of the Star Wars franchise, George Lucas was a small-time filmmaker working on personal projects like American Graffiti. While working on post-production for that movie, Lucas was also writing the initial drafts of what would eventually become the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope.

As he was working on American Graffiti’s sound design with editor and sound designer Walter Murch, Murch asked him to hand him R2, D2 – industry terminology for “reel 2, dialogue 2.” Lucas liked the combination of words and letters so much, he scribbled them in the notebook he carried with him; within just a few years, “R2D2” would become the name of one of the most iconic characters in Lucas’ venerable franchise.

Charles Darwin

It’s no exaggeration to say that Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species changed biology, natural sciences, and many other disciplines of human knowledge forever. Before On the Origin of Species was a book, however, it was a series of carefully recorded observations in the notebooks that Darwin brought with him on his voyage to the Galapagos Islands and the coast of South America.

Darwin filled fifteen different notebooks with descriptions of samples, geological coordinates, and lots of other relevant data, all of which he would eventually combine together into his groundbreaking theory of natural selection.

Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter was the author of the classic children’s book A Tale of Peter Rabbit, as well as many other beloved stories starring precocious animals beloved by generations of children. In addition to being a published author, Potter was also a natural scientist, a conservationist, and an avid notebook keeper. She would fill many notebooks with drawings and writings on many topics, ranging from philosophy to politics and everything in between. In order to keep her teenage writings secret from her nosy mother, Potter often wrote in a code of her own creation.

Famous people’s notebooks

Leonardo Da Vinci

Perhaps the most famous notebooks of all are those of Leonardo Da Vinci, in which the iconic Renaissance man recorded many of his ideas for paintings, sculptures, architecture, and weapons of war. Some of Da Vinci’s ideas were so advanced, they wouldn’t be fully realized until hundreds of years after his death.

A fun note about Da Vinci: When writing in his notebooks, he would record his thoughts from right to left; scholars still debate whether this was a way to obscure his thoughts from prying eyes or simply a way for the left-handed Da Vinci to write without smearing ink as his hand moved across the paper.

Looking for notebooks to record your own brilliant thoughts? Contact the Scientific Notebook Company today at 800-537-3028.

3 Ways Teachers Are Using Scientific Notebooks in the Classroom

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.

Scientific notebooks for students

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.

Organizing scientific lab notebooks

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.

How to Make Scientific Notebooks More Interactive!

Any teacher knows that telling students something isn’t enough to help them understand and retain it for future reference. The more they use their senses to experience different aspects of a theory or project, the more they will understand the related concepts and not just memorize the facts.

One way that teachers can accomplish this is by making scientific notebooks more interactive.  While a normal notebook may list facts and include the student’s observations, an interactive notebook makes learning more hands-on. Since all areas of science are based on observations, theory, principles, and experimentation, the interactive notebook is good for use in the classroom or laboratory of any type of science-related class.

Interactive scientific notebooks

Add Another Dimension

A flat page relies on written words and one-dimensional drawings to get attention, but a constructed panel of tabs or blocks of brightly colored paper with notes added gets noticed and obtains a higher level of importance. This is an especially useful strategy for adding vocabulary that students will build on as they go. Whatever color is used for the purpose from the start should be repeated so they can go to it whenever they need to review definitions.

Use a Color Guide

There are numerous ways to do this so that students know which principles or terms apply to which projects. For example, assign each of the four states of matter with a corresponding color. Start with a description of each state written on that color as a reference. When students begin doing problems or experiments with different types of matter, they can refer back to the descriptions to identify the behaviors they experience and determine which category certain things fit into.

Divide the Pages into Objective and Creative

Every student should start with the same layout and every page of the notebook numbered so that everyone can follow along to retrieve information and to share their findings. Instead of numbering each page, consider making the left page 1A and the right page 1B, followed by 2A and 2B, etc.

Always have the children enter objective information on the A page and leave the B page for their drawings, charts, notes, or even photos that they have taken to support the topic. In other words, they will have a side for the serious stuff, and one they can use as an artistic outlet that some children can better relate to.

Scientific Notebook Company offers student notebooks that include a table of contents to help keep students from continually asking which page has the information they need.

Interactive scientific lab notebook

Always Take Time to Share with the Class

One of the biggest benefits of science interactive notebooks is that they facilitate the opportunity for students to get in on the discussion and compare their observations. They can discuss what they observed and their reasons for what they believe happened. They always have the facts in their notebooks to back them up.

Interactive notebooks can be as simple or as complex as the teacher wants to make them. They should be highly organized, easy to grade, and a good resource for students to rely on when they need information about any of the concepts they have studied. If you are ready to get your students more excited about taking notes, give us a call at 800-537-3028.

The Importance of a Good Laboratory Notebook

Think a good, old-fashioned scientific notebook is a relic of the past now that we live in the age of smartphones and tablets? Think again. Unlike electronic devices, notebooks can be taken anywhere and used at any time, under just about any conditions, and can be used to perform many essential functions in a laboratory environment. Read on to find out what.

Laboratory notebook uses

It Helps You Keep Track of Your Work

The first and most obvious benefit of a well-maintained laboratory notebook is that it provides you with a record of the progress of your experiments, and future ideas that are easy to access at just about any time. When you take the time to carefully record all the steps you’ve taken and the results you’ve discovered at the end of each of those steps, it’s easy to pick up where you’ve left off after some time away or to double check your work before moving on to an important step that might be difficult to turn back from.

It Lets You Record Your Ideas

Just as important as keeping track of the work you’ve already done is keeping a record of the tasks you have yet to do, and writing down ideas for what you might do in the future. The laboratory life is a hectic one, and keeping track of all the ideas you have by using just your head is only good for forgetting the things you want to do when it comes time to remember them. With a well-kept laboratory notebook at hand, you can keep a detailed list of future plans and ideas worth exploring that will always be there whenever you need it.

It Lets You Keep Track of Your Lab Partners

Complicated experiments often involve multiple people working in tandem, which means that there may be significant portions of an experiment that you have no direct responsibility for. While that can make things easier, it can also add additional stress – a team is only as good as its weakest member, after all. In order to avoid mistakes and to make double-checking each other’s work as easy as possible, use your laboratory notebook to keep a record of your teammate’s work, which you can all review and provide feedback on.

Laboratory notebook

It Helps You Stay Organized

How far in advance do you have your laboratory tasks planned out? The more detailed and far-reaching your already laid-out plans, the less time you have to spend, down the road, figuring out where to go next. Where better to keep your future schedule than in the trusty laboratory notebook you always keep by your side?

It May Help You Make Money (Really!)

There may come a time when your laboratory work leads to a discovery that you and your lab partners want to patent. In order to make it through the patent process, you’ll need to show a record of your work and your process, and the schedule on which you performed your experiments. This is especially relevant if someone else tries to patent the same discovery – proving that you were the first one to make a discovery (and that it truly is original) is one of the most important parts of the patent process.

For the best scientific notebooks available, contact Scientific Notebook Company today at 800-537-3028.