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Using Science Notebooks . Think as a Scientist Record as a Scientist Reflect as a Scientist. Students learn as real scientists!. The notebook is a collection of thoughts, ideas, sketches, data, questions, equations – a running record of the student’s thoughts

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using science notebooks

Using Science Notebooks

  • Think as a Scientist
  • Record as a Scientist
  • Reflect as a Scientist
students learn as real scientists
Students learn as real scientists!
  • The notebook is a collection of thoughts, ideas, sketches, data, questions, equations – a running record of the student’s thoughts
  • There is no “right way”
  • Great organizational tool
scientists use notebooks
Scientists use notebooks
  • As a reference and guide
  • As a place to record:


*Ah Ha’s



*Data Collection

  • As a resource to journal claims and evidence
  • A place to show their thinking and learning
  • To document their organizational learning over time
what is a scientist
What is a scientist???


Barbara Lehn

what is an observation
What is an observation?
  • Observe for details
  • Draw your own observation
  • Record observation in notebook
i made an observation
“I made an observation”

He is big and long

I observed worms

i made a prediction
“I made a prediction!”

I predict the ball will go across to the other side if the incline is bigger.

i wonder questions
“I Wonder Questions”

What is a wonder question?

  • Generate class list of “I wonders”
  • Draw an observation.
  • Write what you wonder

Why do they have gills?Can a fish float?Why do they have tails?

i made a diagram
I made a diagram!
  • Full size illustration
  • Draw correct proportions
  • All accurate body parts
  • Key parts are labeled – becomes a “picture glossary”

A Accurate

B Big

C Colorful

D Detailed

focus question
Focus Question

The purpose of the investigation is addressed as a question

Examples include: how, which, and what

  • What is our problem?
  • What do we want to know or find out?
  • How much longer is _________ than ________?
  • Remember: Investigative science begins with a question.
  • A teacher can provide lists of questions
grade 2 diagram
Grade 2 Diagram

Target: Identify and explain how physical structures enable an organism to survive in their environment

grade 4 data collection
Grade 4 Data Collection

Labeled drawing

Student created table to record findings of conductors and insulators.

grade 1 prediction
Grade 1 Prediction

Investigation with prediction and conclusion and data table.

grade 3 knowledge transfer
Grade 3 Knowledge Transfer

Using scientific language

grade 3 data
Grade 3 Data

Making observations over a period of time…….

Students will predict, sequence or compare the life stages of organisms – plants and animals (e.g., put images of life stages of an organism in order, predict the next stage in sequence.

the prediction hypothesis
  • Prediction:
  • The act of predicting (as by reasoning about the future)
  • A statement about the future
  • Hypothesis:a proposal intended to explain certain facts or observations

What you think will happen (based on PRIOR KNOWLEDGE)

If I do … then… will happen because

I think … because

  • Students will need some prior knowledge to make a meaningful prediction.

If not:

  • Students work in collaborative groups to develop sound and well written hypothesis based on their prior knowledge
  • Not every activity will need this entry
student s guide to scientists notebook
Student’s Guide to Scientists’ Notebook



  • What do you have to investigate or figure out in this lesson that is related to the big idea?
  • What will be the main question that will guide your learning?
  • What…, How…, Does… are good beginnings


  • What do you think will happen (USING PRIOR KNOWLEDGE)
  • If I do … then… will happen because…
  • I think … because


  • (Don’t rewrite procedures- use if you need to design a procedure)


  • Record the data in a way that will make sense to you later

Paragraph, Bullets, Table/Chart, Drawings, Graphs, etc.

  • Title and label diagrams and pictures
  • Measurements should be specific, accurate, and units labeled
  • NEVER erase your work: Simply cross out any errors


  • State your claim based on your evidence (data collected from observations)
  • What do you claim to be true?
  • How can you prove what you are stating? (Back it up)

…..I know this to be true because I observed………

….I claim that when ………, then ……….. (happens)



  • Make your thinking public in a class discussion
  • Turn and Talk


  • Restate the focus question as a topic sentence

In this investigation…

In this inquiry….

I (we) learned that…..

  • Use details from your claims and evidence (data) chart to answer the focus question.
  • Every claim must be supported by evidence.

I (we) liked/did not like…… because

My (our) prediction that…..was…..because….

This reminds me (us) of….. because….

I (we) discovered that…..

Now I (we) think that….because

  • Refer back to your hypothesis

My hypothesis was correct/incorrect because…

  • Record your thoughts after the experiment (Understandings, Likes, Related Thinking, Connections)
  • Include a summative sentence that can be a restatement in different words of the topic sentence.


  • What new questions do you have to extend your learning?
conference on making meaning
Conference on Making Meaning

Model, model, model, practice, model, model, model …

  • Give students an opportunity to reflect their own thinking in pairs prior to sharing with a group.
  • Students need to revisit their claims and evidence piece and revise if needed.
the claims and evidence

What do you claim to be true?

How can you prove what you are stating?

I know this to be true because I observed………

I claim that when ………, then ……….. (happens)

*Make sure to enter claim and evidence in a chart form of some sort each and every time

guidelines for notebooks
Guidelines for notebooks
  • Number the pages
  • Date every new entry
  • Create a table of contents
more on guidelines
More on guidelines…….
  • Strive for neatness. Emphasize the importance of being able to read student work.
  • A place to jot down ideas or thoughts (brainstorming), diagrams, graphs, figures, charts, sketches, or calculations.
  • It is good to include any changes made to procedures, mishaps, failures, or mistakes. Good scientists do this all the time!
what type of notebook will you use
What type of notebook will you use?

Determine the type of notebook

  • Composition book
  • A spiral notebook
  • A three ring binder
  • A three prong paper folder

Use what works in your classroom!

what to learn more
What to learn more?
  • Using Science Notebooks in Elementary Classrooms by Michael P. Klentschy
  • Science NotebooksWriting About Inquiry
  • Brian Campbell Clark County School District, Las Vegas, NV
  • &
  • Lori Fulton, Clark County School District, Las Vegas, NV