I’m trying to revive our science studies and so wanted to have my older kids use science notebooks to stay organized.
Here is how we set up our high school science notebooks:
Biology Notebook Table of Contents
List the contents of the different sections of our notebook (kept in a plastic page protector) in the front.
Outline of Science Units
Listed here are the units or chapters in our science book, PASS Biology. (The book comes in separate PDf files. I compiled it into one, so if you would like to save yourself some work from having to do so, I can send you the compiled book, insha Allah).
This section gives them an overall view of what they will be studying, in sha Allah.
To give some structure to science class, I made up an assignment log. For each assignment, it outlines all work to be done (reading, viewing videos, exercises, etc). Before this, I would just say go read chapter so and so up to page so and so and then do the exercises. This method is more effective (quite obviously).
Here is an example of our first assignment logged in:
1. Make/fill in unit outline notes cover page (fill in this unit’s topics)
2. Read Unit 1
3. View: The Scientific Method Made Easy video
4. Do practice pages 16-20; pages 30-33
5. Unit 1 Test
At the present, since we have not been heavy on the notetaking in the past, I am currently using the system of guided notes. I take notes on the chapter in outline form. The main ideas are written as questions and the details and subdetails answer the question. The kids then copy these notes. In some cases, I will leave blanks in the details for them to fill in or in some cases, a whole subdetail is left off with only a line to fill in the whole concept or idea.
In addition to the notes, I would like to implement some type of reflective notes, where they can think about what they have learned, how it can apply/affect their life, how it can increase their faith, etc. They can also write down what things are still confusing and “a-ha” things (I finally get it), etc.
Self explanatory. Well of course, in homeschool, all work is homework but this really includes all classwork.
We don’t do many experiments or labs, but if we do, they go here. I like PASS labs (in our book) because although some of the labs require materials that we just don’t have, a lot of them do have simple items or the labs are just practical work and not of the public school variety nature labs many cases, for example, some are more like just projects.
Such as the periodic table, how to notes, etc.
Here’s a nice periodic table for printing: http://education.jlab.org/itselemental/tableofelements.pdf
Test and Quizzes
Again, self explanatory
Making it their own
I try to give them leeway as to how they can decorate their notebooks (cover and section dividers), but I do like to use templates to help them get jumpstarted, when needed (especially for uncooperative souls).
If you use/are thinking of using the PASS Biology textbook, you might check in the science section of my blog to see if I have posted our assignment log entries or guided notes (not promising I’ll post it, but it is my intention to do so).
Other Section Ideas (which we don’t currently do)
Grade sheet – If you do grades, you might want to include a section for this as well; include a grade sheet where you record the grades, put this in a plastic page protector.
Current events – students read and reflect/respond to newspaper articles on the subjects they are studying and place them in this section of the notebook.
While we don’t do grades, I would like to eventually do science current events on a regular basis, in sha Allah.
Here are a few downloads of the items:
- Biology Notebook Table of Contents (a listing of the sections)
- Biology Course outline (list the unit/chapters covered)
- Unit Cover Page template (list what topics are covered in this unit/chapter
Assignment Log template
Section cover pages (Assignment log, notes, homework, reference, tests and quizzes, labs).
These are basic, I fancied them up by using a 2PEAS font (2Peas Flea Market Block Regular), but if you don’t have the font, it will look kind of plain as it is just text……..but it is in DOC format, so again, you can tweak.
One last word (ok, two): Science Notebooking
If you want to take your science notebooking to a more interactive level, you might try some of the ideas here at this Squidoo lens:
Although we are using a more basic form of notes (outline form), within it, I sprinkle the notes with activities that give them a chance to interact more with the information such as those found in the above lens or elements of lapbooks, but in notebook form.
If you are struggling to organize your science studies, I hope this information will help.