Science notebooks moving from mechanical to insightful use




Fulton, L. A.


Science notebooks are popular in many elementary classrooms; however, research demonstrates that teachers are unsure of how to implement them in a manner that promotes student understanding. Instead, teachers typically implement notebooks in a mechanical manner that focuses on what is done in science rather than using the science notebook as a learning tool. It is important that teachers understand how they can help students understand the foundational practice of writing about science. This presentation uncovered strategies that teachers put in place that help move notebook use from mechanical use to insightful use. These strategies include scaffolds, which are meant to be temporary and help develop student thinking, and supports, which are always present and provide students with a means to access their knowledge. These strategies help students learn the practices of scientists and the scientific content. Through video and student work samples, participants will examine these strategies, consider where they are in their own implementation of science notebooks, and determine steps they can take to move their notebook implementation toward insightful use.


Fulton, L. A. (2013). Science notebooks moving from mechanical to insightful use. Presented at Meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, San Antonio, Texas.