Far More than Just Lab Notes
If you're new to notebooking, you'll discover that science is a great topic to begin with. Because science is so broad and lends itself to a variety of methods of expression such as charts, diagrams, paragraphs, and photos, it's perfect for notebooking. Read on for more ways to jump into science notebooking.
If you've already been using notebooking as a learning tool for science, you may find here some new printables to use or discover some ways to hone your notebooking to gain the greatest educational impact. The last thing we want is busy work for our children. Make your notebooking count by implementing sound instructional practices.
Science Notebooks are a tool for the student to organize thoughts, consider possibilities, and record observations. For the teacher or parent, the science notebook is a way to assess understanding and to create a portfolio that can serve you well in homeschool evaluations. And real scientists use laboratory notebooks regularly in their daily work.
In this photo, my daughter is drawing a diagram of the lever she just constructed. You can see her living book open in front of her. There is a lot of learning going on there.
Recording Scientific Learning in a Written Record
Science notebooking is a great introduction to the scientific logs and lab reports that professional scientists use. They can be used during three phases of learning:
- pre-investigation -- predicting, planning, and identifying existing ideas
- investigation -- recording observations and reflecting on them
- post-investigation -- organizing data and evaluating predictions
Read what Eve Heaton, a public elementary school teacher, says about science notebooking. She lists many positive qualities of using notebooking along with your science curriculum. Her blog is a wealth of resources for science notebooking. I love how she makes it very, very practical and includes lots of photos.
Notebooking is extremely versatile. Anything that can physically be put into a notebook and deals with your topic is a possibility.
Here is a list of potential things to include in a science notebook:
- biographies of famous scientists
- interviews of adults who use science in their jobs
- diagrams of scientific processes
- vocabulary words with drawings or definitions
- graphic organizers showing a scientific concept
- sketches from field trips
- narrations of what was read in a science book
- lab reports of experiments
- reviews or summaries of living science books
- songs or poems
- charts and graphs
- magazine or newspaper articles that relate to science
- photographs of a science experiment or other hands-on activity (then you can throw away the actual creation)
If something isn't a standard size of paper or is hard to hole punch, you can still add it to your notebook. You can affix it to a sheet of paper or cardstock. Or you can put it into a sheet protector. Or as a last resort, you can use a zip top plastic bag. Reinforce one side with masking tape before you hole punch it. And cut a small slit from one bottom corner so the bag will lie flat instead of puffing up with air.
We use a lot of these in our notebooking either because the item we want to put into the notebook is of an odd shape or because it's too precious to hole punch.
Examples of Pages from a Science Notebook
Sometimes showing someone is more effective than telling. So here, let me pull my daughter's science notebook down and flip through a few representative pages so you can get a better idea of what a science notebook can look like.
Here is a freebie (no longer available) from Jeannie Fulbright. On the back of the previous page, I taped a clear plastic envelope to hold a hands-on manipulative we used to demonstrate the orbit and the rotation of the earth.
I found this graphic organizer at JFeliciano's Page at Homeschool Launch.
This chart is from Eclectic Education's Page at Homeschool Launch. (It's called Planets Worksheet.)
This example shows how we incorporate minibooks into notebooking. During our study of Michael Faraday and electricity, Sprite made a shutterfold vocabulary book. We simply placed it into a sheet protector.
And here are more minibooks about levers, also stored in a sheet protector.
This is sketch made during a field trip to a science museum.
This is a sketch that Sprite did on her own. I liked it so much that I encouraged her to add it to the space section in her notebook.
Here is an elaborate notebooking page of the three types of rocks.
These are pages from our sixth & seventh grade study of Human Anatomy and the History of Medicine.
Retail Notebooking Pages for Any Topic
I have this basic lined set and highly recommend it for its versatility.
Printable Graphic Organizers for Science
Graphic organizers are simply ways to arrange information so that relationships among ideas are represented visually. Words are used but often with the addition of lines, arrows, circles, or other images that indicate sequence, cause and effect, etc.
Try using some of these free printables to add structure to your noteboooking assignment. Often, they are less intimidating than an empty sheet of paper.
- General Graphic Organizers from EduPlace
All the standbys (story map, timeline, five W's, flow chart, etc.) and some new ones -- tree chart, ladder, idea wheel, etc.
- Houghton Mifflin Science Graphic Organizers
Graphic organizers in PDF format that accompany Houghton Mifflin Science textbooks for grades 1-6. This list is very well organized so that the printables are easy to locate and use even without the textbook. Hint -- use Cttl F to bring up the find
Graphic Organizers for Science - Reproducible Book
Drawings in a Science Notebook
When sketching actual specimens, encourage the child to draw technically and with realism rather than drawing representationally. For example, don't draw a stereotypical ladybug but draw what you actually see.
Free Notebooking Pages for Science
- Free Science Notebooking Pages from The Notebooking Fairy
From biology to chemistry to famous scientists, The Notebooking Fairy has lots of free printable science pages.
- Inventors Pages from Homeschool Share
Inventors include Alexander Graham Bell, Eli Whitney, Edward Jenner, Wright Brothers, George and Robert Stephenson, Johann Gutenberg, Louis Braille, James Watt, Mary Anderson, Thomas Edison, James Naismith, Samuel Morse, Montgolfiers, Guglielmo Marco
- Freebies from Notebook Learning
Melanie makes pretty pages and is so generous to share them. Here are her science freebies.
- Notebooking Pages
Debra shares some very nice science and nature pages.
- Notebooking Nook's Free Pages
Scroll down for the science pages.
- Homeschool Helper Online
Browse the topical list, and you'll find printables for nature, weather, space, seasons, habitats, anatomy, and animals.
- Exploring Creation with Zoology I by Jeannie Fulbright
Zoology templates with space for your child to write and illustrate information they learn while working through the course. These pages are general enough that you can use them without using this particular curriculum.
- Astronomer Notebook Pages from Homeschool Share
Pages feature Giovanni Cassini, Nicolaus Copernicus, Johan Kepler, and Tycho Brache.
- Free Lab Sheets and Science Definition Pages
General science freebies from Homeschool Notebooking.
Another Fantastic Science Notebooking Resource - For Elementary to Middle School
Notebooking Success eBook - Learn How to Use Notebooking
If you like what you see about science notebooking, maybe you would like to learn about maximizing your use of this method across the board in your homeschool. Notebooking Success is a wonderful guide.
Written by a homeschool mom who has used notebooking for many years, Notebooking Success shows how to use notebooking to promote learning and retention. There are specific suggestions for different grade levels and for using notebooking with several styles of homeschool.
More Teaching Helps - For Science Notebooking in Elementary Years
Visit Lab Aids Institute for lots of information about science notebooking (from a classroom perspective).
Scientific Method & Lab Report Printables
- Science Lab Notebook
A very attractive set of printable notebooking pages.
- Notebooking Pages Free Science Experiment Printables
These are beautiful! And there are twelve options to choose from!
- Science Experiment Simple Fold Minibook
A freebie from Homeschool Share with a color illustration.
- Scientific Method Lapbook Elements
Full color minibooks from JFeliciano.
- Scientific Method Notebook Pages
A freebie from JFeliciano.
- The Scientific Method
A freebie from samutsari.