1. Use a 8″ x 10″ sketchbook. I prefer the stitched variety over the spiral bound, and I look for ones that have a smoother paper rather than rough.
2. Use a light-colored paint pen (if the spine is black) to put your full name on the spine or cover.
3. Put a bit of contact information on the inside front cover: your name and email address, or phone number. Just in case…
4. Skip the first page or two. You may want to go back later to add a table of contents and/or a cover page.
5. Number each page on the top outer corner. To facilitate a table of contents.
6. Date each entry. Preferably abbreviating the month, rather than using a number, and using the whole year. (e.g. Sept. 2, 2011)
7. Be neat. I recommend tracing the lines of a piece of binder paper with a sharpie and putting it behind the page you are writing on. You can see through just enough to keep your lines straight.
8. Use an ink pen, rather than a pencil. Draw a thin line through anything you want to cross out, but don’t use correction fluid/tape.
9. Do not tear out pages.
What to Include In Your Science Notebook:
- Journal of readings (narrations)
- Record of labs
- Related picture or sketch
- Relevant quotes or Bible verses
Important Note: I have been told that if you are college bound in a science field, you should keep a separate notebook that is specifically for labs.
What to Information to Include in Your Lab Book:
- A title and date
- Why the experiment was initiated
- Hypotheses and goals
- Lab partners
- List of equipment used
- Details of products used
- Record of procedures
- How procedures were performed
- Drawings/sketches of experiment set-up
- Data you collect
- Daily entries for things you are watching
- Mistakes made or problems encountered
- What would you do differently next time
- Final thoughts
- Glue in things like printed graphs, datasheet templates, photographs, product labels, etc.
Remember to include units of measurement!
“Keeping a notebook gives you a forum to talk to yourself, to ask questions, to jot down important thoughts about the experimental design, and how your results might eventually be interpreted.” – Collin Purrington