Why Science Notebooks?

Why a student scieda Vinci notebooknce notebook in middle or high school? Good question. Science is a process, a way of understanding the world and all of God’s creation. Science notebooks are a valuable tool used in the process of science that can serve many different purposes. Professional scientists always have their journal or notebook handy to write observations, jot down new ideas, organize data, and take notes as they research new topics. It is a detailed record of their ongoing involvement with scientific phenomenon and a personal account of their scientific thought process. Each scientist’s notebook is an individual work, unique to the scientist. It is the place where the scientist can continually develop and update his scientific reasoning and knowledge. In fact most famous scientists, like Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Graham Bell, kept science notebooks.

Scientists use notebooks to organize scientific knowledge and make it easier to work. Science notebooks in middle and high school will serve many of the same purposes as any professional’s notebook, and can be a useful tool for practicing study skills and learning strategies along the way.

Science notebooks provide the following:

  • a record of a student’s daily science work and a sense of accomplishment
  • a place for students to develop, track, and express their broadening understanding of the new science concepts they’re learning
  • place to practice various study strategies and learning tools as they prepare for college or an after high school career
  • a place to organize data and develop organization, table-making, and graphing skills
  • a complete collection of lab reports for the experiments conducted
  • a concise reference book should you decide to take an SAT II subject or CLEP exam (at the high school level)
  • a way to demonstrate a student’s progress in the study of science to evaluators or for college portfolios

Science notebooks aid students in establishing a daily routine that focuses on learning science by doing science. Organizational and communication skills are critical in any profession but are very important in science. Science notebooks help students develop skills in making tables, graphs, charts, and labeled drawings as ways of efficiently documenting, representing, and displaying data. The science notebook serves as a reference tool allowing students to look up previous discoveries and relationships and to structure the importance of the information.

Science notebooks also help students think critically about the concepts they’re discovering by encouraging them to explore ideas and think about how new concepts fit into what they already know. Science notebooks help students place new concepts in context so that new information makes more sense. Professional scientists are always writing down their thoughts as they are working through science experiments or problems. Their notebook is a place for them to mentally “mess around” with the information to see if they can come to any novel understanding. Likewise, science notebooks help students think and conduct themselves like professional scientists, recording their entire journey through a progression of science concepts. Looking back over their science notebook at the end of the year will give the student (and anyone looking through it) a good idea of just how far their understanding of God’s fascinating world has come.


  1. Catherine says:

    Hello, Is there a student notebook for Exploring Creation with Physics (Apologia)? I see them for Gen. Sci, Phys. Sci, Advanced Biology, etc., but can’t find one for Physics.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Catherine,

      The Exploring Creation with Physics text is being updated and I am writing the student notebook to accompany the new edition. It should be released next year. So the answer to your question is no, there is no student notebook for the 1st or 2nd edition of the physics text. There will be for the 3rd edition.

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