Science Notebooks

Students recording observations, and an example of recorded observations

Recording Scientific Observations and Thinking

Image of an open notebook with writing in it

Research and best practice have led FOSS to place more emphasis on the student science notebook. Keeping a notebook helps students organize their observations and data, process their data, and maintain a record of their learning for future reference. The process of writing about their science experiences and communicating their thinking is a powerful learning device for students. Science notebook entries stand as a credible and useful expression of learning a the artifacts in the notebooks form one of the core elements of the assessment system.

Benefits to Students:

  • Documentation: Students are encouraged to keep science notebooks to organize and learn to communicate their thinking.
  • Reference: When data are displayed in functional ways, students can think about them more effectively. When students have forgotten a fact that they learned earlier they can look it up.
  • Cognitive Engagement: Once data are recorded and organized in an efficient manner, students can use them to draw conclusions about the way the world works.

Benefits to Teachers:​

  • Assessment: A science notebook is a collection of student-gathered artifacts that exhibit learning. You can assess student skills, such as using drawings to record data, while students are working with materials.
  • Medium for Feedback: The science notebook is an excellent medium for providing feedback to individual students regarding their work.
  • Focus for Professional Discussions: Notebooks can be reviewed and discussed during parent conferences; serve as the focus of three-way discussions among students, teachers, and principals; and they can be shared between teachers in a study group or other professional development environment.
sample observations

You will find the duplication masters presented in notebook format. They are reduced in size (two copies to a standard sheet) for placement (glue or tape) into a bound composition book.

Full size duplication masters for each module or course are also available on FOSSweb. Student work is entered partly in spaces provided on the notebook sheets and partly on adjacent blank sheets.