Tools for School: Science Notebooks for Kids of All Ages
Science has a magic all its own
For many kids, young and not so young, science is a gateway to discovery and a real embracing of learning.
And even though teachers are so bogged down these days by test, test, test and new program on top of new program...science should be and can be great fun and an avenue for kids to find the real joy of learning.
These notebooks can be a lovely journal for them to look back on a relive the moments.
Cover for Science Notebook for Primary Grades
A Valuable Tool
These notebooks are helpful in the following ways:
- an Illustration newly learned information to picture what is learned
- a way to keep track of learning experiences
- an excellent way to review material
- a journal of learning to show parents and administrators
These notebooks are an effective way for children to chronicle science experiences. Children as young as kindergarten can use a science notebook to record the science experiences that occur in class. Kindergarten children can use an illustration to represent their newly learned information. They will become excited and look forward to using them as you teach them how to keep track of learning experiences.
The site that I refer to often in this article is a kindergarten site but these notebooks are used all the way through middle school with adjustments made for the subject matter.
Another plus for the notebook is they aid in review. Review is a key element in learning. Because children are cataloging lessons as they learn them, the review is made easier for them and for the instructor. When reviewing which items were attracted to magnets, for example, children can turn to that section in the notebook if they are uncertain what the answer is.
These notebooks are also a way to demonstrate to the administrators and more importantly to the parents of children in your classroom what these children have learned and are learning.
Getting ready to organize our notebooks
Before we even opened our science notebooks, the children dressed in lab coats, goggles, and proudly wearing a badge that was clipped to the lab coat, were photographed for several reasons: to include in the front of their notebooks, to share with their families, to display in our school hallway.
We had a Science Club meeting and talked about what science is and what a scientist is.
Then we began work on our notebooks, preparing them for use.
It is also a good idea and very helpful to have a math notebook along with other organizational notebooks that you may choose to use in the classroom.
Table of Contents
Pocket in the Back of Notebook
Assemble the Notebook
You may wish to use interactive math journals too
Pulling everything together
The photographs on this page show the elements in this science notebook. They are: Cover, Contract, Table of Contents, Bookmark/pocket for little science booklets.Not pictured: a photograph of each child was glued on the first page of the notebook, before the table of contents.
- The cover: The cover can be any design you want.I found this label at http://www.ladybugsteacherfiles.com/2012/02/new-scientific-method-signs-printable.html
There are many others available as well. Or, you may wish to have your children draw a picture for the cover rather than use a pre-made label.
- The contract: The contract states the behaviors expected from children during science activities. It is recommended that you send home the contract for the child and the parent to sign before placing it in the notebooks.
This contract can be found at the kindergartenkindergarten.com You will love this site. There are a variety of ideas that may be of interest to you. The suggestions on this site are not limited to kindergarten; many are easily adaptable to other grade levels.
Beads Threaded on Ribbon for Child's Name
Glue ribbon behind the pocket in the back of the notebook
In the back of the composition book:
- Measure a piece of construction paper to fit inside of the back cover.
- Fold it up about halfway and tape down so it makes a little pocket to hold items.
- Once it is in place, hot glue it or use packaging tape to affix it to the back cover.
- This pocket can be used to store booklets you may use for instruction.
- A medium sized brown envelope can also be used for this purpose. Hot glue it in place.
- Cut out a portion of the front of it so booklets can be removed with ease.
- The bookmark The bookmark is one of the most helpful parts of the notebook for children. It is hot-glued or taped in the back of the notebook.
- The bookmark will help children mark where to begin each time the notebook is used.It will take time for them for children to learn how to use it but once they do, it is a life -saver.
To make the bookmark:
- Select thin ribbon:suggest you use about an 18 inch piece
- Thread alphabet beads to spell the name of the child or the first and last initial of the child onto the ribbon.
- Knot the end to prevent beads from falling off.
- Colorful beads may be used instead. Thread five or six of them onto the ribbon.
- Knot the end as suggested for alphabet letters.
What will we record in the our notebook?
You can decide what to keep track of in the notebook as you review your curriculum for the year.
The first science activity we did this year was to plant dwarf pumpkin seeds back in August so they would be 'pumpkins' by late October or at least by Thanksgiving break. So, that was the first activity we recorded.
A small booklet was glued onto the third page of the notebook; that is where children began to keep track of the seeds growing. The first day, they drew the pot, with soil.The next time they drew a picture was about 5 days later when the tiny plant peeked above the ground. The next picture they drew was the day they actually planted them in their garden at school. How exciting to see them digging in the ground. They hauled the water in a gallon jug to water the plants. The plants are still growing!! This is always such a fun time for the children.. school children....public, private, home schooled...they all can 'grow' from this rewarding activity.
....create Your Own Science NotebooksClick thumbnail to view full-size
Thank you to Marion County, Florida, teachers
The notebook is a valuable tool for a number of reasons one of which is when you meet with parents. You can show them why little Merry or Dillie's score was such and such. What the child has done or has not done will be right there for you to share. And, at the end of the year, each child leaves with a book showing the hard work they have done.
This notebook model can be easily adapted for children through at least middle school Some tweaking would be needed but the basic plan is provided.
I must give credit to teachers in Marion County, Florida, who planted the seed for me on how to make a notebook. We had a workshop about science notebooks and the basic plan you see here is from ideas and suggestions they made. I did not need to reinvent the wheel. Most of the work was done for me; all I had to do was implement the suggestions and tweak it as I chose. Hopefully this will be as helpful to you as it has been to me.
Have you used a science or math notebooik with your children at home or at school?
Booklets for recording information
The booklet pictured on this page in the thumbnail photo is often used in classrooms and in home schooling
To make one:
- Fold a standard piece of white paper in half...'hamburger fold'.
- Cut three flaps...on one side of the paper. That way children have a flap for a number, word, picture, whatever you want there
- Below the flap is space for more information to be recorded.
- This is a very simple little booklet which can be such a time-saver and is easy to understand and easy for children to use.
As you have reviewed your county's plan for the year, you know what you are teaching and in what order. Now, just decide what to include in the notebook. Since so much of science is hands on, twice a week is just about how often to use the NB, but, you know your schedule and your needs for your children.
Science and Math Notebooks
Math problem solving notebook
A math problem solving notebook is as important as any other used children use.
In it:children of all ages can:
- record new math terms
- illustrate a math idea (3 boxes + 4 boxes = 6 boxes)
- write formulas used often
- illustrate geometric shapes
- write about a math experience, such as measuring distance or height
This again are useful when you meet with parents to discuss the child's progress.
Once you begin using these notebooks you will find that you will want to have them as part of your class each year.
© 2011 Patricia Scott