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Science Notebooks in the Science Classroom -
In 2005, the North Cascades and Olympic Science Partnership (NCOSP), a National Science Foundation funded Math and Science Partnership project, convened a group of education leaders from across Washington State. Peggy Willcuts, Science Specialist, PNNL, co-facilitated the development of support documents for the use of science notebooks in the classroom as well as the development of the website. See Science Notebooks in K12 Classrooms.

Scientists at PNNL use a form of a science notebook called a 'Laboratory Record Book' or 'LRB'. Here you will find pictures of actual LRB pages showing the complexity of the work of three different types of scientists (Computational Chemist, Materials Scientist, and Ecologist).

FAQs and Examples of Scientists' Notebooks

Video Clips - Question and Answer Sessions

Often it is helpful to the classroom teacher to see examples of student work in the content areas in which they are working as well as at the grade level they teach. On the science notebooks website there are examples of student work that can be searched by grade level or by publisher and unit title. A Mini Science Notebook that has examples of several different student work pieces demonstrates the variety of entry types a teacher could share with their students.

Record BooksThe Laboratory Record Book assists their scientists with keeping good records.

Science notebooks are a place where students formulate and record their questions, make predictions, record data, procedures, and results, compose reflections, and communicate findings.  Through eight distinct Entry Types, a teacher can provide a varied set of tools for students' to demonstrate their developing understanding.

Three templates or writing frames that were developed by Betsy Rupp Fulwiler are in use across much of the state.  The first is the Observations Organizer,  English or Spanish, which allows children's writing to be scaffolded when making observations.  The second is the Box and T-Chart where written information about similarities and differences are captured.  Finally, the Compare and Contrast Writing Frame, English or Spanish, summarizes a student's thinking as they compare two objects and is a natural outgrowth of the Box and T-Chart.  For further information, please see Betsy's two recent publications.

  • Rupp Fulwiler, Betsy.  (2007).  Writing in Science:  How to Scaffold Instruction to Support Learning.  Portsmouth, NH :Heinemann.
  • Rupp Fulwiler, Betsy.  (2011).  Writing in Science in Action:  Strategies, Tools, and Classroom Video.  Portsmouth, NH :Heinemann.

PNNL has been assisting teachers in our region to create ways to assess the science notebook both for its content of science and its ability to communicate student understanding of how a science notebooks is kept. Here you will find several samples of rubrics for a variety of grade levels.

Sample Rubrics for a Variety of Grade Levels

Science is the perfect partner with reading, writing, communicating, and mathematics as you are not able to engage in the endeavor of science without all of these skills in place. This also makes it the logical place to practice and apply content and skills learned in other subject areas in support of the Common Core State Standards.

The Science & Technology for Concepts program, written and developed originally by the National Science Resources Center, now known as the Smithsonian Science Education Center and marketed through Carolina Biological Supply Company is used throughout the SE LASER Alliance. This elementary program has opportunities to connect the lessons in the hands-on units with STC Children's Books to support text features of the program.

The middle school programs used in our region are a combination of Science and Technology for Middle School (STC/MS™), Science Education for Public Understanding (SEPUP), and Full Options Science Systems (FOSS) also have reading and writing components directly embedded in the work students do.