How-To

10 Ways to Use Notebooking: #7 Science

10 Ways to Use Notebooking: #7 Science

Science!  We love it!

And a notebook is indispensable for anyone with a science interest.  Most scientists of note kept notebooks — Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, da Vinci, Marconi, and even van Leeuwenhoek, who although he was known for his casual methods, described his observations in over 200 letters.

Science notebooks will grow with your child from the first early sketches of observations or copies of diagrams, to experiments cataloged using the scientific method, and then to records of observations, experiments, inventions, diagrams, and other records made when he becomes a scientist himself!

 

Suggestions (helpful resources below)
  • Begin with a simple science notebook filled with Drawing & Writing paper.  This will allow your child to copy science-related diagrams or illustrations and then narrate a description below.
  • Once your child is old enough to experiment (and most children are) incorporate forms that focus on the scientific method.  These can be relatively simple — no need to overwhelm.  We want to keep this fun and interesting, not burdensome, so that we foster and encourage that investigative spirit!
  • Older students can begin using more detailed scientific method forms.  They can copy illustrations and diagrams on Drawing & Writing paper as they come across them in living science books, writing narrations of procedures, meanings, and explanations.
  • Biographies can be added to a science notebook (and yes, there may be some overlap with history here).  What was the scientist’s contribution?  Describe his work ethic.  What methods did he use?  How did he document his research?
  • As Dr. Robinson states (and we wholeheartedly agree), science needs math to be real science.

    Science is the study of natural truth. It progresses by a logical sequence — experimental observations, to hypotheses, to quantitative analysis. It is not possible to study or apply most science reliably without first knowing the language in which it is written — mathematics — at least through introductory calculus. When students lack an adequate understanding of mathematics, yet try to study “science,” they are typically presented with oversimplified half-truths which later need to be unlearned.

    Dr. Arthur Robinson

    So in the early years, we are focusing on biographies of scientists, and exposing our children to science by letting them observe it around them.  A “physics” book at this early stage is pointless.  When your child has the math to back up science and is ready for formal science, then his notebook will be filled with mathematical calculations, experiments, diagrams and illustrations.

  • Hopefully at some point your student will be ready to conduct his own science-related, self-initiated research.  A science notebook is a must.  How can you correct an error if you didn’t document the error in the first place?  How will you know what steps to take next if you haven’t recorded where you have been?  How can you show your results to others if you did not record them?  A three-ring binder with lots of graph paper might be required.  Or, depending on the type of research, just blank paper on which to sketch and make notes.
  • A few general tips:
    • Scientists date things.  Observations, experiments, or other events need to be recorded with a date.
    • Scientists draw things.  They sketch their observations, or projects they are working on.
    • Scientists work systematically.  Follow or create a step-by-step plan.  Write the plan down.  Check off each step as it is completed.  This allows others to follow your work — and it helps keep you on track!
    • Scientists record questions.  They may not yet have the answers.  It may not yet be time to test a theory.  But they do know the questions that should be asked.
    • Scientists record data.  Measurements, record keeping, tracking info — all results are recorded.  This is raw data — never to be manipulated or discarded or fit to a predetermined result.  It is what it is, and we have to work from there.

 

Additional Resources

Science Notebook Entry Types
What can be included?  Here is a list of ideas from the Washington State LASER.

Science and Engineering Project Laboratory Notebooks
Great help for the older student at ScienceBuddies.org.

FOSS Science Notebooks Folio
This 36-page download at the University of California includes an incredible wealth of information on why to use a science notebook, how to use it, examples of the items that can be documented and included, and many, many examples of each.  Great resource!

 

Activities

4 Favorite Science Suppliers
Our favorite places to find resources that encourage scientific observation.

 

Books

Grammar Stage Science Book List
Living science books for the younger set at Paula’s Archives.

Readable Science: An Incomplete Book List
List at PennyGardner.com covering biographies, physical science and biology selections.  (Please read the notes at the bottom to help you find books to fit your family.)

High School Science
Living science books at MacBeth’s Opinion for the older student covering astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science and physics.

All Through the Ages by Christine MillerAll Through the Ages
Book of books that fit any historical time period.  Includes a “History of Science and Mathematics” section that suggests over one hundred titles arranged by century.  Read our entire review.

Review: Books Children LoveBooks Children Love by Elizabeth Wilson
Book of books that includes a “Nature, Science and Technology” section with many titles to choose from.  Read our entire review.

 

Unit Studies

Free Science Studies: Great Inventors & Their InventionsFree Science Studies: Great Inventors & Their Inventions
Biography-based spine with helps.

 

Printables & Notebooking Pages

Drawing & Writing Notebooking Paper {Free Download}
For copying diagrams or drawing illustrations and describing their meaning below.

Science Experiment Notebooking Pages
Free download that includes the scientific method and pages for drawing or journaling results.

Collection of Science Notebooking Pages
Drawing, notetaking, and scientific method included.

Scientist Notebooking Pages
Nice 4-page collection for recording biographies of scientists at NotebookingFairy.com.

 

Enjoy the entire series:
10 Ways to Use Notebooking