A scientist needs to obtain, evaluate and communicate their findings effectively. One of the most meaningful ways to to keep track of and organize information and findings is through science notebooking. It is critical that this skill be taught early on to students. Specifically, students need to understand how to create drawings and use expository text features (bold, color, labels, captions, heading, diagrams, charts, tables, etc.) to communicate their thinking through written words and illustrations.
Additionally, their science notebook is a great place for students to practice the skill of asking questions. Once taught, science notebooking should be applied consistently through all lessons. A great activity for introducing science notebooking is “Find an Object.”
“Find an Object” involves having the students find an object to observe and draw. This might involve the teacher bringing in an object for the whole class to observe, the class going outside to make an observation, the class bringing an object from home, or the class going outside to obtain and bring back an object from outside.
Once the object is obtained, the student is required to make observations and draw what they see. They should include the text features listed above to clarify their drawing. They should be encouraged to write additional comment with regard to what they are observing with their other senses, such as smell, sound, etc.
Please note that as students develop their skills they should be encouraged to include drawings from many different perspectives. Additionally, as the need for data tables and graphs arises, these organizational tools need to be explicitly taught.
This activity addresses the COMMUNICATING concept of the practice. Be sure to tie in both the OBTAINING and EVALUATING components. These include the use of tables, diagrams, graphs, and equations. Meaning needs to be able to be derived from scientific texts including papers, the Internet, symposia, and lectures.
This is also a great opportunity for English Language Arts Common Core in the content area tie-in.