What is a Science Interactive Notebook?
Science Interactive Notebooks are a tool to strengthen
student learning of curriculum (the input) through increased student participation
(the output). They are used in class daily to help the student learn.
Why do they work? This style of notebook uses
both the right and left-brain hemispheres to help sort, categorize and be
creative with the newly attained knowledge. The right side of the spiral
notebook is for writing down information given by the teacher (notes, vocabulary,
video notes, labs, etc.). The left side of the spiral shows the understanding
of the information from the right side (brainstorming, reflections, drawings/figures,
Why Is a Science Interactive Notebook Important?
Science Interactive Notebooks are important for many reasons.
The first is that writing is an integral part of the process of learning
science. By using notebooks, students model one of the most vital and
enduring functions of scientists in all disciplines – recording information,
figures, and data. Scientists across the world record their observations,
data, and conclusions, as well as comments on their research, readings and
reflections. They rely on their notes, figures and diagrams when sharing
their findings with colleagues and when preparing papers to share their work
with the scientific community. The notebooks of famous scientists such
as Galileo and Einstein have become part of the world’s cultural heritage.
A second reason for maintaining a Science Interactive
Notebook is that it provides the student with a ready reference for each
unit as well as a resource to consult when reviewing materials at the end
of the unit. The notebook is also a means of communicating with the
teacher and parents/guardians. At the end of each unit the student is required
to have their parent/guardian review and sign their notebook.
Keeping a notebook enhances students’
writing skills. It gives them practice in organizing material and in
expressing themselves clearly. At the same time, notebook writing can
encourage students to connect science with other areas of the curriculum.
A Science Interactive Notebook also encourages creativity. Extensions
in the notebook can include any of the following; poems; cartoon drawings;
figure drawings; stories; songs; and notes from research on any given topic.
Another advantage of the notebooks is that they
get students more involved in science. Students assume ownership of
their notebooks. Students are required to bring their notebooks with
them to science class daily, to add work and review their notes. With
each new entry, their sense of pride in what they have accomplished grows.
Their confidence in science learning, as well as in their overall knowledge
and skills, also grows. They are becoming life-long learners.
Lastly, the science notebook offers the teacher a unique
means of assessing student progress in the classroom. The notebook,
beginning with the first lesson of the unit and continuing to its conclusion,
is a tool that can be used to assess the growth in students’ understanding
of science as well as in their ability to summarize and express their thoughts
Think as a scientist … Record as a scientist
… And reflect as a scientist!
What goes on the Right Side? Input goes
on the Right Side!
Always write the date on each page and label each assignment!
Ø The right side spiral has only odd numbered pages.
Ø The right spiral page is for writing down information
you are given in class (input).
Ø When the teacher lectures, you take notes on the
Ø When you take book notes or video notes they go
on the right side. ALWAYS.
Ø You will use Cornell Style Notes on the right
Ø Laboratory activities go on the right side.
Ø Any other type of INPUT you get in class.
What goes on the Left Side? Output goes
on the Left Side!
Every left side page gets used! Always use color
… It helps the brain learn and organize information.
What could go on the left side?
Ø Mind maps
Ø Concept Maps
Ø Venn Diagrams
Ø Writing Prompts
Ø Flow Charts
Ø Lab & Self Reflections