Science Interactive Notebooks are the cornerstone of my science curriculum and continue to be because of these Keys to a Successful Science Interactive Notebook that I keep in mind when designing new material for you.
1. Introduce topics by asking a guiding question.
A guiding question is essential in helping students focus on the topic of study and frame their new knowledge in a way that helps them solve a problem. I include my guiding questions on the top margin of each Teacher Output page (notes) as shown below.
2. Deliver information using a “chunking” strategy.
Chunking refers to an approach that breaks up long strings of information into units or “chunks” that are more manageable by reducing the cognitive load as the learner processes information making it easier to commit to memory.
3. Encourage students to use color to highlight key vocab and text.
Allowing students to use color when completing their notes stimulates the creative side of their brain and helps them visually separate and recall the information they are writing.
4. Apply new information immediately.
What makes an interactive notebook “interactive” is the teaching strategy of giving students an activity for them to complete in their notebooks that will actually make them USE and APPLY the information you just gave them immediately.
5. Use a variety of interactive activities in order to reach all the different learning styles.
One reason I see interactive notebooks fail is because students lose interest in them when they are given the same foldable or same flip book for every new topic introduced. I go to great lengths in making sure that my science interactive notebooks will offer original activities for students of all learning styles throughout the year.
6. Use quick assessments to check for understanding.
I have found that having students complete a mini-quiz the following day after notes helps refresh their memory and gives the teachers an opportunity to check for understanding.
7. Set aside some class time for students to work on interactive notebook activity.
Science interactive notebooks are the foundation for teaching new material, so it’s important when assigning an activity to set aside at least 15-20 minutes of class time for students to work so that the assignment is understood, students have access to materials needed to complete activity, and opportunity for questions/clarification are given.
8. Have students share notebooks with peers and parents.
My biggest fans of my Science Interactive Notebooks are parents. They are absolutely thrilled to see the creativity of their students work and students are proud to share them. I think it’s important that parents see them at least once a quarter. Here’s a Parent Letter you can use to explain what it is and allow them a place to leave comments for their child’s work.
If you’re new to Science Interactive Notebooks, make sure to download my Intro to Science Interactive Notebooks for FREE or feel free to ask questions in the comment section below.
If you’re looking for more Science Interactive Notebooks, check out my Triple Play Bundle that features my Earth & Space, Life and Physical Science Interactive Notebooks: