A Word to the Teacher
Learning to keep a science notebook is developmental for both students and
classroom teachers.
The process of notebooking:
Creates a space for students to reflect about experiences and encourages insight
into activities
Allows students opportunities to create
Encourages students to process what they are learning
Allows for the free flow of
students’ ideas and feelings
Gives a broader perspective over time and encourages students to reread and
identify recurring themes
Provides students with a safe format to communicate in a healthy and
constructive way
Involves student expression and exploration of thought
Venn Diagrams and T-Charts
Having students identify similarities and differences among concepts being learned
enhances their understanding of and ability to use knowledge (Marzano et al.,
2001). The use of a simple T-chart to have students organize their initial thinking
while identifying the similarities and differences can be useful. A more sophisticated
graphic called a Venn diagram has students display the similarities between
elements in the intersection between two overlapping circles. The differences are
placed in the parts of each circle that do not intersect.
Physical Models, Simulations, and Drawings
In general, physical models are concrete representations of knowledge, while
simulations are representations of a process. Drawings may represent knowledge,
process, or both. Models, simulations, and drawings are powerful ways to generate
nonlinguistic representations in the mind. Each time students engage in transferring
information into a new f
ormat that makes their thinking visible to others, their
understanding increases.
Digital Cameras in the Science Classroom
Digital cameras can serve several purposes in the science classroom. To help
students build vocabulary skills, have students take photographs to represent
science terms being studied. Or introduce photos to students, asking them to
identify science terms represented in images. Digital cameras can be used as data
collection devices and as tools for creating digital collections of items such as leaves
or insects.
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