Sunday, March 31, 2013

Science Notebooks

I was having a conversation with my Science Curriculum Specialist, and we were talking about Science notebooks. She was encouraging me to shift away from my science journal (with a pre-made template) and move into Science Notebooks

Over the course of a few weeks, she sent me some samples she had. I know in the Tony Stead book, he refers a lot to having students take notes in their notebooks. 

I was thinking...this Science notebook could be used for both.

What to Put in the Science Notebook?

At first, I asked Jany (my Science Specialist) to give me ideas for what the kids to look at. 

My thought was that I wanted it to be something easy. My class does observations on food jars, a tree on the playground and snails. Jany came up with the idea of just taking my class outside for fifteen minutes(each week) and letting them decided. She reminded me that kids are natural Scientist. 

Why not allow them to take charge and make decisions?

Some fairies live in pine cones.
Pine cones have sap.

Going Outside
I decided to call this time Bates Backyard time.
 I kept putting this off due to snow and finally on Friday we did it! 

We found a small spot on the playground. 
acorn top

Becoming Scientist
We looked around for an object/observation.
What would we wonder about?
What would we find? 
You could bring in your item, but it may be something that cannot come inside. We could take a picture of your item.
Be ready to share and record your observation. 

My class loved looking at all the items. We put them on a tray to look at. 

Collecting objects from nature was simple, and the kids LOVED it. My next step is to find some books to read that connect to some of the objects that the children found. For example, I had a lot of kids bring in rocks so this week I plan to read some rock books.

When the kids were sharing their items, we focused on using describing words. 

We also shared wonder questions. 

I recently found this AMAZING site that has a wonder question each day called WONDEROPOLIS. Looking at some of the wonder questions on this site has helped my classroom start creating their wonder questions.  

Below is our first Bates Backyard time. 

Enjoy your Sunday! It is finally becoming warm in cold, snowy New England!


  1. I love this idea! Kids are naturally curious about everthing, especially nature. Thanks for sharing this awesome idea!!
    Connie Anderson:)

  2. Connie, Thank you for the nice comment! Have a wonderful Sunday! Melissa

  3. I love your ideas, and I enjoy reading your blog! Is there a difference between a science journal and a notebook?

  4. Hi Lee Ann, I think of the journal as a premade template where the notebook is more open ended. I am reading a book about Science Notebooks called Writing in Science in Action and it has some great ideas about using Science Notebooks in the classroom! I hope to share some ideas from that book soon! Melissa


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