Friday, June 22, 2012

Science Journals

My little wizards are going to actually be scientists this school year. They won't be just doing things scientists do - they will actually be scientists. The only difference will be that they won't be getting paid. Unless you consider knowledge payment. Which I do. So, actually there is no difference.

Because my wizards {by the way, I am calling my students wizards because 1. the word wizard is awesome and can be used as an adjective or a noun and 2. I associate science with Mr. Wizard, who was a fantastic science man that had a super fun show called "Mr. Wizard's World" when I was growing up. And I just showed my age. So that's why I call them wizards. They are wizard scientists. Note the adjective use of the word here.} Anyway, because my wizards are scientists, they will have science journals. Real science journals that they will record hypotheses, experiment successes and failures, results, doodles, and ideas.

I am serious about making sure I incorporate writing, reading, and math in my science classroom. I know that these journals will aid in making sure that incorporation is authentic. I have some criterion in mind and with the help of, I was able to put together a plan for what my science journals will actually look like.  I've also come across an actual Science Notebooking blog! I used that, too for inspiration on developing the perfect science journal. Here is the informal criterion that I am toying with.

1. Each journal will be decorated/designed by the student. They will have the freedom to be creative in adding their own personal touches on them.

2. Each journal will have a table of contents.  New units, experiments, foldables/handouts, and vocabulary will be recorded on the table of contents for simple organization.

3. Pages will be numbered about 10 pages at a time, ONLY on the lower right-hand page. It will just be easier to organize that way.

4. Students will record some experimental data in their notebooks, while other experimental data will be recorded on sheets to be turned in. This will be to my discretion and will be based on the experiment. Students will also be encouraged to take notes, draw mind maps, and doodle ideas for future experiments in their notebooks.

5. Vocabulary will be kept on index cards and taped inside. Students will write the word on the lower portion of the index card so that the word can always be seen, no matter how many vocabulary words there are. Definitions should be in their own words and will be printed on the flip side so that they can be read once taped in and flipped.

6. Journals will be kept in green crates in the classroom. They will be reviewed every Friday to check for participate, organization and accuracy of facts.

That's really all I have for now. I'm sure lots of things will change as I continue developing lesson plans and adding criteria for the journals. I just love the idea of keeping students accountable for what they learn. More importantly, I really think that students will be able to use these notebooks as a studying tool. This way, whatever we learn in September will be able to be recalled in January, if need be.

I am making my own science journal as I type this. I just finished planning the first two weeks of school and I am creating some foldables and "mind maps" for the first unit, which is the Scientific Method. Pictures of the first examples to come.

I heart science journaling!!! 


  1. Congrats on your 5th grade science teaching position! This will be my third year to teach science to fifth graders (and reading also...I know it's a strange combo!) Here in Texas there is a lot of emphasis on science in 5th grade due to state testing so I love seeing what others are doing for science at this level. I'm looking forward to reading your block and wish you the best as a science teacher!

    1. Thank you so much! I'm sure I will be looking to you for advice over the next few months!

  2. I wish I was a student in your class! Also, I remember Mr. Wizard too. I didn't get to watch him much, though, because most of the time we didn't have cable.

    1. You're so sweet, Angel! Thanks for continuing to be a follower of my blog. It makes me happy to know that people read my rants. =)

  3. Great post.This article is really very interesting and effective.I think its must be helpful for us. Thanks for sharing your informative lifescience journal.