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Science Notebooks. “The purpose of science notebooks is to build science content and process skills in a manner similar to the way scientists work while serving as a context for developing literacy.”- Brian Campbell & Lori Fulton. It’s the Nature of Science.

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“The purpose of science notebooks is to build science content and process skills in a manner similar to the way scientists work while serving as a context for developing literacy.”- Brian Campbell & Lori Fulton


It’s the Nature of Science

By using notebooks, students model one of the most vital and enduring functions of scientists in all disciplines – recording information, figures, and data. 


Why Notebooks for Teachers

  • The use of science notebooks:
  • Provides feedback to you regarding the lessons/activities the students are engaging in.
  • A look at student entries provides formative assessment information to help guide your instruction.
  • Provides insights into students’ thinking, misconceptions, and their procedural and conceptual understanding.
  • Supports differentiated instruction, allowing students to work at their own level.
  • Provides evidence of learning.
  • Provides a record of learning and growth over time.
  • Engages students in meaningful, purposeful and authentic tasks.
  • Offers a convenient forum for teachers to provide feedback to students to help them improve their performance or develop deeper understanding.

Why Notebooks for Students

  • The use of science notebooks:
  • Provides a thinking tool.
  • Assists in organization.
  • Enhances literacy skills.
  • Helps make sense of their observations and investigations.
  • Provides a place to keep vocabulary words.
  • Replicates how scientists in the field organize and
  • document information and observations.
  • Helps develop writing skills.
  • Increases communication skills.
  • Provides evidence of learning and a record of activities
  • completed.
  • Helps develop understanding of scientific processes.

Marzano’s Nine Instructional Strategies That are Most Likely to Improve Student Achievement

1. Identifying similarities and differences (notebooks)

2. Summarizing and note taking (notebooks)

3. Reinforcing effort and providing recognition (notebooks)

4. Homework and practice (notebooks)

5. Nonlinguistic representations (notebooks)

6. Cooperative learning (notebooks)

7. Setting objectives and providing feedback (notebooks)

8. Generating and testing hypotheses (notebooks)

9. Cues, questions, and advance organizers (notebooks)



  • Always use helps the brain learn and organize information. 
  • Use tab sections (Table of Contents; Bell work, Labs, Notes, Assignments, Vocabulary)
  • Attaching items to a notebook page, use tape or glue stix- NO staples.
  • Provide rubric for notebook and labs.

Starting Point Labs

My question: _________________ (Question/Problem)

I think _____ will happen because ______ (Hypothesis)


Based on previous results, I predict ______ (Prediction)

I noticed/observed _________________ (Observation)

What did the results tell you? __________ (Conclusion)

I discovered __________ (Reflection/Line of Learning)

Questions I have now are ___ (Next Steps/New Questions)


Science Lab Components


PURPOSE: Objective or lesson topic

QUESTION: Teacher or student generated that relates to the purpose

PREDICTION/HYPOTHESIS: What you think will happen

PROCEDURE: material, steps, data collection

OBSERVATION: observe objects or events in a variety of ways using one or more of the senses and identify properties of an object, i.e., shape, color, size, and texture.

COMMUNICATING: notes, charts, graphs, drawings, diagrams, tables

CONCLUSION: “This is what happened….”, “I noticed….”, “Our group or I found…” You should interpret your data and information. This is also a time to share.

LOL (Lines of learning) Record and give details of new information that was learned.


The Contract

STUDENT:  I understand that my Science Notebook is where all my science class work, notes, vocabulary and labs are recorded. My science grade is dependent on the contents of my notebook. I will do my best to keep it organized, neat, and up-to-date. If I am absent, I understand that it is my responsibility to make up any work that I missed. I will make-up my work within three days of my absence.

Student Name _________________________________ (Print)

Student Signature

SIGNED ______________________________ Date ______________

Parent: I understand the purpose and importance of the science Notebook


Parent Signature

SIGNED______________________________ Date_______________


Special needs students-

How do you modify for them?

  • Help them scribe
  • Copy blank data tables and graphs for them to glue in
  • Pair them up with a stronger student they can copy from
  • Allow kids to draw and label procedures instead of writing them
  • Type out purpose, question, materials, and procedure for them

How do you deal with absent students

Secretaries take notebooks to them to copy.

If you have a smart board, mimeo or PowerPoint Presentation print them out so they can glue or copy them in their notebook




Science Notebooks Writing About Inquiry. Brian Campbell & Lori Fulton. NSTA Press

Using Science Notebooks in Elementary Classroom

By: Michael P. KlentschyNSTA press

$19.16 - Member Price 

 $23.95 - Nonmember Price

ISBN # 978-1-93353-103-8


Think as a scientist …

Record as a scientist …

And reflect as a scientist