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.
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.
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.