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Scientific Interactive Notebook ← Back to All Pages

Mr. Richardson

Scientific Interactive Notebook

Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.  

~Edwin Powell Hubble, The Nature of Science, 1954

Our Interactive Science Notebooks will be an integral part of our science journey this year.   By using notebooks, students model one of the most vital and enduring functions of scientists in all disciplines - recording information, figures, and data. Scientists across the world record their observations, data, and conclusions, as well as comments on their research, readings and reflections. They rely on their notes, figures and diagrams when sharing their findings with colleagues and when preparing papers to share their work with the scientific community. The notebooks of famous scientists such as Galileo and Einstein have become part of the world's cultural heritage.


A second reason for maintaining a Science Interactive Notebook is that it provides the student with a ready reference for each unit as well as a resource to consult when reviewing materials at the end of the unit.  Keeping a notebook enhances students writing skills. It gives them practice in organizing material and in expressing themselves clearly. At the same time, notebook writing can encourage students to connect science with other areas of the curriculum. An Interactive Science Notebook also encourages creativity. Extensions in the notebook can include any of the following; poems; cartoon drawings; figure drawings; stories; songs; and notes from research on any given topic. Another advantage of the notebooks is that they get students more involved in science. Students assume ownership of their notebooks. Students are required to bring their notebooks with them to science class daily, to add work and review their notes. With each new entry, their sense of pride in what they have accomplished grows. Their confidence in science learning, as well as in their overall knowledge and skills, also grows. They are becoming life-long learners. Lastly, the science notebook offers the teacher a unique means of assessing student progress in the classroom. The notebook, beginning with the first lesson of the unit and continuing to its conclusion, is a tool that can be used to assess the growth in students understanding of science as well as in their ability to summarize and express their thoughts and feelings. So in actuality the notebook is a portfolio that students can share with their parents and for teachers to have a cumulative record of their learning.   

How does the notebook work?

  • Right Side “input” Pages: The right side is where common information is recorded that all students must know. This is where you will find information that will be on the test. The right side provides an opportunity for the teacher to model for students how to think graphically and how to organize information.
  • Left Side “output” Pages: The left side is where students interact with and interpret right side information into graphics, other writing forms, new ideas, and questions. The left side stresses that just copying lecture notes is not learning. Students must internalize and re-express the information in another format on the left side.

Page Set-Up

Left Page-Output

Student Involvement (Showing Understanding and Creativity)

The LEFT page demonstrates YOUR understanding of the information from the left side page. Clearly, just by writing down lecture notes does not mean you will have learned the information. You must actively do something with the information before you internalize it. Therefore, you will work with the concepts you LEARNED (on the RIGHT side), and REFLECT with the information in creative, unique, and individual ways (on the LEFT side). You can do this by using illustrations, diagrams, poetry, colors, cartoons, etc. You will also explore your opinions and clarify your values on controversial issues, wonder about “what if” hypothetical situations, and ask questions about new ideas. The LEFT side helps focus your attention and guides your learning of the science content and concepts.Always use color and organize information… It helps the brain learn!

Right Page-Input

Teacher Involvement (Given Information)

The RIGHT spiral page is used for recording class notes, discussion notes, and reading notes. Typically, all “testable” information is found here. The RIGHT side is also an excellent place for the teacher to model how to think graphically by using illustrated outlines, flow charts, and other graphic organizers.


  • Brainstorming
  • Concept Maps
  • Foldables
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Diagrams
  • Poems, Songs, Raps
  • Cartoons/Caricatures
  • Flashcard pockets
  • Metaphors
  • 3-2-1 Reviews
  • Worksheets
  • Self reflections
  • Lab Analysis and Conclusions
  • Outcome sentences:I learned…I wonder…The important thing about…I am surprised that…I rediscovered
  • Connections
  • Questions
  • Process Description
  • Notes from research on topic
  • Lab Reflections (how could I have done that differently?)
  • Mnemonic devices


  • Notes 
  • Vocabulary words
  • Lab procedures
  • Data from Experiments
  • Worksheet Assignment
  • Textbook Assignment
  • Small/Large Group Discussion

The Process

  • Remember ALL work pages ..
  1. are NUMBERED
  2. DATED
  3. are NEATLY SECURED (taped or glued)
  4. have a TITLE,
  5. LEFT SIDE has COLOR added to highlight important information or to add visual appeal.
  • Always take notes on the right hand pages. Left hand pages will be used for you to interact with and process the information you took notes on in the lesson.
  • The best part of processing is it allows students to tap into their CREATIVE side. One of the most important part about the “output” (PLACED ON THE LEFT SIDE)  is the use of COLOR which allows you to remember and make  your own connections
  • Keep a master Table of Contents with dates and page numbers.
  • If you are absent, you must get the left &right-side input
  • Use colored pens, gel pens, or colored pencils when doing the left side activities. Color helps the brain organize and remember information.

Why do we do it?

Science Interactive notebooks will be used in this class daily to help you understand and remember important scientific concepts.

  • Writing down notes does not mean that you have learned the information.
  • You must actively do something with the information before you really understand it.
  • You will organize as you learn. You will record ideas about every activity that you engage in during a unit.
  • It gives you permission to be playful and creative in your responses without “messing up” your notes. When you are creative, you will remember more.