About halfway through the school year, I started using a science note-booking concept with my 2nd graders. Earlier on in the year, my team and I would actually make reflection sheets and put them together in a notebook form for the entire unit- and that worked well- but I wanted something different, where the kids could take more charge- so in came Science Notebooks. Our science notebooks are actually the science section in their binder. Next year- they will have an actual notebook.
Right now, we are learning all about sound. To begin each investigation - students open their notebooks, put the title of the investigation, any definitions, and answer some "Pre-investigation" questions. I project these questions on the smartboard. At this point, they can do all of this in about 3 minutes, depending on the amount of writing that needs to be done.
Then, I introduce them to their investigation. I usually give them as little direction as possible so that they can discover things on their own. I give them about 10-15 minutes to investigate- sometimes more, depending on how long I think it will take them. During this time they are recording any data they get, and writing down their own thoughts about their experiment.
Sometimes, I give them a recording paper for any data I want them to record.
After their experiment, I project a set of reflection questions on the smart board for them to answer. This is one thing that we will change next year. I began by asking them to just answer the question, but I definitely want them to restate the question and write in a complete sentence so that they can see what they've learned without needing to remember the question.
Last, we talk together about what we learned. I think we will also add a "What we've learned" section to our notebook and we will put some statements that we all come to together. Ex) The loudness or softness of a sound is called the volume. The highness or lowness of a sound is called its pitch. Sound is vibrations that travel. We can change the pitch of a string by holding it tighter or more loosely. We can change the volume of a string by plucking it harder or softer. OK I think you get the idea.
I really like the way our note-booking has turned out so far. It's lead to more discovery, rather than explicit teaching- and has taught them the important things that scientists look for when conducting an experiment.
Do you use science notebooks in your classroom? What have you found that works? I would love to hear your ideas!