How to Make Science Journals With Kids

Young girl writing in journal while kneeling on grass.
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An intrepid researcher sets off into the rainforest with a journal tucked in their back pocket, while a chemist scribbles furiously on the pages of a notebook in their laboratory: These are scenes you can paint for your children or students to emphasize that written records are an essential part of the scientific method. All scientists -- from biologists to archaeologists -- keep detailed notes about their hypotheses, observations, data and conclusions. Unlike personal journals, scientific journals are written to be shared. Encourage the child to journal with enough detail that anyone could understand their notes.

Decorate the covers of a small notebook. Ask the child to draw pictures of their favorite aspects of science -- dinosaurs, astronauts and volcanoes are some ideas. Be sure they put their name and grade on the front cover for easy identification.

Apply peel-and-stick lamination paper to both covers of the journal to keep them dry. Instruct the child to keep the journal tucked in a sealable plastic bag when they aren't writing so it won't get wet. Waterproofing is especially important for outdoor field trips.

Write prompts or questions at the top of each page. Researchers usually head out to the field or step into the laboratory with a question in mind. Prompts such as "Count, describe and draw the number of different flowers in the schoolyard" or "Look at the fabric of your shirt closely and describe what you see" will give the child direction in their exploration of the world.

Carolyn Robbins began writing in 2006. Her work appears on various websites and covers various topics including neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Robbins graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and theology from Saint Vincent College.