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Observational Drawings as a Tool for Science


Observational drawings are a great tool for students to use to study the structure and function of an object. Scientists have traditionally used observational drawings in field journals.  They record plants, animals, minerals, and other natural phenomenon.

I encourage students to really look at the objects they are drawing. They should think about shapes that they see, size, color, texture and lines.   By recording this information with a drawing, students and scientists can discover the function of different parts and any changes that happen over time. 

Sometimes the observational drawing can help a scientist identify an individual within a group, such as a deer with a notch in it’s ear. It is not always feasible to bring technology out into the field. However, observational drawings sketched in the field can be used for extended study, further research or identification of a species once a scientist returns to his or her computer.  

Field journals are a great way to get students outside and observing nature.  I always require observational drawings in field journals.   Below are a few examples of field journals by students.  If you would like to learn how to make one of these field journals out of an envelope, please follow this link Amazing Field Journal Out of an Envelope!

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