We will begin our journey through this year’s science class by covering procedures and information that we will be using throughout the year. This will include our science journals, the Scientific Method, and general lab and safety procedures. These lessons will lay the foundation for all of our labs, experiments, activities, and observations; so be sure to familiarize yourself with all of the material. Choose a lesson below to access the class notes, information and videos from class and lab activities, and any other handouts and materials from that lesson.
Lesson 1: Science Journals and Lab Notebooks Throughout the school year your science journal will be used to record all lab activities, notes, observations, and any other important information for our class. While class notes will make up a portion of journal entries; a good science journal will show your understanding of the material covered in class through your observations, explanations, and reflections. Remember that details are important! When preparing journal entries, make sure to include accurate descriptions of your observations, evidence-based explanations to support your ideas, data from experiments and lab activities, and reflective thinking about concepts covered in class. Don’t forget to review the science journal guidelines found in the lesson notes and follow them as you set up and work in your journal. Journals will be collected twice each grading period and scored based on the Journal Scoring Sheet. Use this form as a tool to self-assess your journal work before you turn it in to be graded. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are unsure about any of the grading criteria. Download PDF Notes
Lesson 2: The Scientific Method When making scientific observations and conducting experiments, it is important to have an organized process to follow. The scientific method gives us a logical and rational order of steps that we can use to make conclusions about the world around us. For our scientific method we will use a six-step process. When writing a lab report, the scientific method should be used to keep your information and data organized and consistent. The information contained in a good lab report should include enough detail that the reader could perform the same experiment and accurately compare observations. Download PDF Notes
Lesson 3: Lab Equipment and Lab Safety Throughout the school year, we will be using a variety lab equipment and other materials in our experiments and demonstrations. This will include glassware, measurement equipment, alcohol burners, chemicals, and many other items. We will be learning not only about specific uses for these items, but also how to use them correctly. We will also look at safety equipment that is available and discuss when and how it should be used. When using science equipment and materials, safety should always be the first priority. Safety rules and instructions will be discussed during this lesson, but should be practiced in class throughout the year. If there are ever questions about safe and correct use of any materials, you should always ask before you begin! Download PDF Notes
Resources and Other Documentation
Science Journal Legend The Science Journal Legend form should be on the inside front cover of science journals. Each of the five circles on this form should be colored using its corresponding color of highlighter. Each of the five colors represents one of the five areas of scientific skills that our students should be using in their journal work. As journals are graded, I will use the appropriate color highlighter to mark instances where these categories are demonstrated: yellow for using basic scientific processes, orange for demonstrating conceptual understanding, blue for handling data, orange for drawings and illustrations, and pink for personal elements. In addition to class notes, a good science journal will include all of these components.
Science Journal Table of Contents The first two pages of the science journal should be reserved for a table of contents. Use these forms to keep track of activities and notes from science class. The table of contents should be kept up to date throughout the school year and should reference all lessons and important activities. A good table of contents will not only make a journal easier to grade; it will also allow you to easily find specific labs, demonstrations, or lesson notes whenever they are needed. Additional table of contents forms will be available in class or may be printed from the website.
Science Journal Score Sheet The Science Journal Score Sheet form should be on the inside back cover of science journals. This form will be used each time your science journal is graded. The score sheet shows the 20 criteria on which journal work is assessed. Remember, your science journal is not just a place for notes; it is where you show your understanding of the material that we cover in class. Each criteria will be scored on a scale of 0 to 5 points, with excellent work needed in all 20 areas to earn a perfect score. Use the score sheet as a tool to self-assess your journal work prior to journal submissions. If you see that any of the scoring criteria are not met, be sure to make corrections or additions prior to submitting your journal to be graded. As always, be sure to ask for help if there are any criteria that you do not understand or are unsure how to improve upon.