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Interactive Science Notebooks

Those of you that follow know that I am just crazy about interactive science notebooks.  I especially like the use of 3-d graphic organizers or foldables to help students demonstrate their learning in a creative and meaningful way.   First I teach an inquiry based lesson, such as a learning cycle.  Then I have students choose certain concepts to demonstrate in their notebook.

Entries should have the following information:

Title (or Focus Question)
Date
Explorations (What did I do?)
Evidence of process skills: observing, classifying, inferring, recording data, comparing and contrasting, measuring, communicating, predicting and designing investigation.   (You may only have one or two of the listed process skills in a given lesson)
Recording of Data: lists, charts, diagrams, pictures, descriptions, graphic organizers or foldables
Conclusion: Concepts articulated
And for my students, who are pre-service teachers: Teacher Tips

Here are some student pages following a lesson on animal adaptations.   Note how the students have put their own flare and creativity in expressing their understanding.   This particular lesson used a concept development format to list, group and label types of animals and then identify what types of adaptations these animals that are suited to their particular habitat.

The tri-fold give them plenty of room to write their great ideas and conclusions.  




In a related lesson, student learned about Camouflage and Mimicry.   This lesson started with a concept attainment activity including pictures of animals with camouflage, mimicry or neither.   The students defined camouflage and provided examples of it.    Students then read about pale and dark moths before during and after the Industrial Revolution.   


Because the pale moths sat quietly on the pale lichens during the day, predatory birds could not easily see them. Occasionally, mutant black individuals appeared. These black moths, extremely conspicuous against the pale lichen, were easily spotted by birds and didn’t live long. During the Industrial Revolution, Great Britain’s growing industries began to burn huge quantities of coal for fuel. With no pollution-control technology, soot from the smokestacks soon blanketed the countryside. … Increasingly, pale moths fell prey to birds. Soot-covered trees, however, provided excellent camouflage for black moths. … Black moths, once rare, survived and reproduced, passing on their genes for dark pigmentation for future generations. As the years passed, ever-increasing numbers of black moths appeared. … Fortunately, pollution-control laws have now dramatically reduced emissions of soot and other pollutants, and lichens grow once again on the trees near British cities. As predicted by the principles of evolution, the pale moths are making a comeback in these areas, and the black form is becoming increasingly rare. 


Students colored a paper moth and hid it in the hallway for others to find.   Here are the entries In their interactive science notebook:

A piece of newspaper was used to make a small square.   A moth, also from newspaper was cut out and glued on top.   This provided a great example of camouflage.

šExplorations (What did I do?)Templates for Foldable Graphic Organizers
šHere is a free Template for an Interlocking Fold

Interlocking Fold

Please take a look at my new STEM Package: Lessons plus interactive notebooks pagesSTEM Activities


You may also like Editable Flaps and Folds for Interactive Notebooks

Comments

  1. I wish I had found your blog months ago. I am working on a Masters Action Research Project that focuses on interactive Science journals. I'm measuring their impact on the informational writing of 2nd graders. We have been through many of the concepts on your blog here, and I'm so disappointed! You have great ideas!!

  2. This is great to find, your ideas are great and directions are so clear! Have you used the interactive notebooks much with elementary students, or seen the results your students have? I am wondering how uneven they might be in a 5th grade group. Also, I will be teaching science as the teacher "prep" time, so I have them for 40 – 60 minutes at a time – do you have any observations about using these specific to an elementary teacher who doesn't have the students all of the time?
    I'm so happy to be finding this now, at the beginning of summer, so I can plan 🙂
    Thank you!!!!!!

  3. Hi Elise, Thank you so much for your comment. Yes, I have used interactive notebooks with 5th graders quite a bit and they do very well. They LOVE them! You will always have a span in your classroom of ability levels. I am very specific with what I want when I first introduce notebooks. So, at first they look very similar. Later I allow students to come up with some of their own ways to express their learning. Some students are more linear in nature and will simply draw a chart of make a graph, but the notebook allows for students to express their learning in several ways. As for as having students come to you for 40-60 minutes, I think it is perfect. I would have a set of notebooks for each class that comes to you and keep them with you in a tub or box. I would start with a short hands-on activity, process it, and then have them write it up in their notebooks. All of this does not need to happen on the same day. If the experiment takes long or is something you are watching each week, the students could add information to their entries weekly. Or if I have several pages I want them to complete in the notebook…like a write up of the experiment and a vocabulary page, I might do them on different days. But the main piece of advice for your situation is to have a set of notebooks for each group that comes to you and they grab it when they come in and put it back when they leave. If you let them take them home you might not have them when you need them. Please see my other posts on grading interactive notebooks, foldable graphic organizers, and my most recent which would be super fun for 5th grade. https://excellenceinteachingscience.blogspot.com/2014/05/making-fog-bubbles-with-dry-iceteaching.html
    https://excellenceinteachingscience.blogspot.com/2014/05/pull-outs-and-slide-folds-for.html

    Best of luck and please contact me again if you have any questions. I love discussing teaching ideas with teachers like you who really want to make a difference!

  4. Be sure to enter the raffle on the side of the blog. You can win my graphic organizers for reading informational text standards grades 4 and 5. Goes nicely with reading informational text in science.

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I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!

 
Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit

Tina S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:05:39-06:00

Tina S

I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!   Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit
The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!

 
Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2

Richard S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:07:52-06:00

Richard S

The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!   Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2
As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.

 
Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4

Sharon M

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:24:44-06:00

Sharon M

As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.   Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4
Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.

 
Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning

Expedition Fourth

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:44:55-07:00

Expedition Fourth

Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.   Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning
My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.

 
Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer

Heidi J

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:45:49-07:00

Heidi J

My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.   Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer
5
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Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams