Creating the Science Journal

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SWBAT set up and organize a working science journal.

Big Idea

Creating a living document that will share a year's worth of learning takes time.

The Hook....

5 minutes

This lesson is not an inquiry based lesson, but a lesson in setting up a working journal that will be used all year to include inquiry lessons to correlate with thematic science units.

I begin the lesson by reminding the students about Leonardo Da Vinci and the importance of his work in his journals.  Explaining that many of the ideas that he had are now working inventions that have made major difference in the lives of people today. Reminding them that as a class we decided to create our own science journals.  I want my students to remember that their valuable thoughts can be shared, SP8 is all about sharing and communicating information or design ideas in science. 

"Before we begin this process, I want to share a little story with you. This is a true story about my daughter and her science journal.  When my daughter was in Junior High, she had a science teacher that she loved!!! In his class, she also created a science journal similar to what we are going to create this year.  I was so excited for her to create this journal.  I knew how cool it would be when she was finished and how much she was going to learn from it.  I was right about that journal.  At the end of her school year, I asked her if she would allow me to have that journal for my class so I could share it with you guys.  

You know, she would not let me have it.  She told me she wasn't ready to part with it.  So I decided I would ask her again at another time.  Well, I asked her when she was in ninth grade, tenth grade and eleventh grade.  I decided she was not going to part with it, ever.  So I didn't ask her when she graduated from High School.  But after her graduation, she came to me and said, 'Here, mom. You can have my journal now.  I am ready to let you have it.  But you need to know how special this journal is. That is why I haven't been able to give it to you until now.  I learned all my best stuff in this journal.'  

I knew when she was creating this journal in her class how important her journal was and I know even more now.  Because she wouldn't give it to me until all those years later.  I think at the end of this year, your journal will be as important to you as her's was to her. Just like DaVinci." 

"Today ladies and gentlemen, we are going to begin working on the beginning of our own journals.  You will need a glue stick, your crayons and scissors.  Please get those out of your desk so you will be prepared." 

Ownership of the Journal

15 minutes

This entire lesson uses a Power Point to focus the direction and offer visual cues for Special Needs students and English Language Learners.  Using a Power Point offers graphics that make my directions come to life.  

I have the slide show up on my laptop, connected to the projection device and ready to go before the lesson begins. 

The first slide of the Setting Up Our Journals Power Point focuses on the owner of the journal. I explain to my students, that I want them to design their front cover with drawings that represent who they are and their personality. I open my journal and share with them my journal cover page. 

I allow the children about 15 minutes to begin working and completing their cover page. While the children are working on their artwork, I put a CD of classical music in to play quietly and softly in the background.  I call this our Smart Music.  (If students are not able to finish their pages during the time allotment, I allow them to revisit the page anytime we have free moments in the class).

"Boys and girls I am putting some beautiful music on to inspire your work.  Did you know that scientists have actually done research that shows that your brain really love to be stimulated with music like this? We are going to use this a lot this school year.  I always begin with a CD that has a mixture of classical music.  Each theme that I will teach in the school year will have specific composers that correlate with the learning theme.  For this unit, it is just a mixture.  

The beginning of the Journal

10 minutes

Slide number two looks at what a scientist does, what they wear, and what they look like. Which is a bit of a review, because I taught the 

I get all the students attention, when all children are quietly facing me and showing that they are actively prepared to listen, I begin.  

"Boys and girls we have spent a couple days now talking about a famous scientists and what good scientists do in their jobs to make them successful.  Today, we are going to talk about a few more things that really make it important for a scientist to do their job well.  But first, let me ask a few questions.  What does a scientist look like in today's world? Do they look like Leonardo did? Give me a thumbs up if you think this is true?"

I wait for responses.  And then ask the next question, "What do you think scientists need to wear? Do they need the objects you see up on the screen?"  Again, I ask for a thumbs up or down and continue.  "What about the tools a scientist must use? Do the pictures up here, look like everything a scientist might need?"  

The biggest question is saved for last, "Are scientists only men or women?" This question has more meaning to the little girls in my class.  Much has been written and shared in the education world that girls seem to not have the same passion and love of science.  It is important to me that I be the one who helps them to see that science has the ability to open doors for them.  

The next slide in the Power Point focuses on the children seeing themselves as scientists.  I take a digital photo of the scientist anchor chart that was created back in lesson 1 and reduce it to smaller pictures; scientists multiples I have cut them up and have them ready for the children to to glue onto page two of their journals.   I model in my journal that I would like the students to write... This is a scientist, I am a scientist.  

While the children are writing these sentences into their books, I explain to them that I am going to take a picture of each of them in a lab coat with crazy science glasses and a mustache.  When everyone has had their picture taken, I will print them.   The children will glue them into their notebooks next to the sentence that says, "I am a scientist."  The picture of the anchor chart will be glued next to the sentence that says, "This is a scientist."  

As I am taking the children's pictures, and they have completed the task of writing and gluing I tell them to continue working on their cover pages.  This ensures that the children have plenty of time to complete both tasks and I can still take the individual pictures of the children.  

I will print the pictures after school and have them ready in the morning for the children to add to their notebooks. 

Adding New Tabs

10 minutes

This section demonstrates and sets the routines for how we will add new section dividers each time we have a new section in the journal.  

I teach my students to be conservative with their glue.  Each of my table teams have two large glue bottles for the four partners to share and use.  The glue bottles have duct tape on them to match the colors of the team.  I find that the more organized and color coded I am with materials, the less confusion there is in the classroom during teaching time.  

I also make an intentional effort to teach my students how to use a glue bottle and be aware of the amount of glue they are using.  In order to make sure I teach this well and explicitly, I use another power point: Using a glue bottle is clear and concise for the children to understand.  I believe it is very important for all the students to see the visuals along with the verbal directions.  Regardless of language barriers, learning styles, or levels of learning, the power point is direct in making sure the children understand how to use the glue bottle correctly.  

I also want the children to follow the pattern of how we will be adding the tabs to their science journals.  

"By the end of the year, your books will be so full of tabs.  You will be so proud of them. They will show all the learning you will complete this year. So we need to be very exact in how we put these tabs and covers into our journals." 

Slides 18 and 19 are covers that will be used for the Insects and Apple units.


5 minutes

Because we are not finished with this lesson and will finish it tomorrow, I want to know if the children are on track with our understanding of why we are creating these journals; I pose this question....

I will use a Formative Assessment strategy from Page Keeley's book Science Formative Assessment, it is called Directed Paraphrasing. It is a good way to evaluate whether the students are assimilating the learning that has been going on, without having to do a paper pencil activity.  I have the children do this again in their groups.  Asking them to work together in their teams, ensures that they will all offer something to the conversation, and allow me to know if they have capturing the concept of the journals.

"Ladies and gentleman, we are going to put our journals away for today.  When you have all your materials put away, I would like you to put your heads together and take a few moments to discuss why we are creating these journals. Team leaders you will need to be prepared to share out your teams ideas when you hear the bell ring."  

The procedure of sharing out information remains the same as previous lessons.  Each team leader speaks and paraphrases what their team has discussed.  I am listening to hear any language that was used during the lesson.....scientists, tools, men and women, I am a scientist.  Any vocabulary that shows that the conversation of the lesson are becoming part of the students speaking vocabulary.