Science Interactive Notebooks

Reflection: What are a few reasons for asking students to use science notebooks in the classroom?

Scientists use notebooks to record ideas and understandings. The practice of using science notebooks engages students in thinking about real-world situations and scientific ideas introduced in lessons and activities.

Review science notebook pages from several scientists through the following link:

How do the science notebooks provide a "window" into the thinking of scientists? How might the notebooks serve as a primary source for the scientists?

What Information is Included in the Science Notebook?

Writing is a key element of the work scientists do as they share ideas, findings, and challenge each other’s work. In the classroom, we want to emulate the science notebook experience by having students write questions, gather data from various sources (including experiments, investigations, and primary and secondary sources), and examine that data by linking, questioning, and analyzing ideas.

Describe the student thinking you would like to find in student science notebooks if the notebook provided a “window” into students' thinking?

Read the following:

Types of Science Notebook Entries


and Drawings


with Reasoning



Science Notebooks and the ELA Curriculum Frameworks

Teaching and learning with science notebooks addresses several of the ELA Curriculum Frameworks. Review the following standards for your grade level and consider how science notebooks will support student writing.
  • W1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9
  • WHST 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9
  • RI 1, 2, 3, 4, 9
  • RST 1, 2, 3, 4, 9
  • L6
How could you have students develop argumentative and/or informational writing using their science notebooks as a resource for ideas, evidence, and data?

Analyzing student work from science notebooks provides two windows into a student’s understanding.
  • Window One—student thinking: What is the student’s prior knowledge of the content? How did the student’s understanding develop through the instruction? Which content is still difficult for students to understand? Feedback on this type of writing is formative and encourages students to continue thinking.
  • Window Two—informational and/or argumentative student writing: This product, written and edited for public presentation, is graded and considered a summative assessment.

The ELA Curriculum Frameworks may be addressed in the notebook activities and in students’ final argumentative and/or informational writing, and in other types of science writing.

Examples of Science Notebooks:

Teacher Resources for Notebooks

Different Types of Science Notebooks


Science Interactive Notebooks in Action