In the first step students read a print book that introduces basic science concepts. We chose a print text because studies show that students of all ages absorb more when they’re reading on paper than when they read on screens.
Hildegunn Støle, Anne Mangen, Knut Schwippert, “Assessing children’s reading comprehension on paper and screen: A mode-effect study”, Computers & Education, 10.1016/j.compedu.2020.103861, (103861), (2020).
At the end of each reader, there is a page for asking questions. There are prompts throughout the Lab Notebook encouraging students to ask their own questions. Let them ask any question that pops into their mind and help them write it down if needed. Research shows that helping students find their voice through questioning leads directly to their academic achievement.
Make Just One Change by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, 2017 Harvard Education Press.
Next students test ideas with a hands-on experiment. The lab notebook walks them through an experiment where they construct scientific understanding through interactive processes of theory building, criticism, and refinement based on their own questions, hypotheses, and data analysis activities.
How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Brandsford, Brown and Cocking, National Research Council, National Academy Press 200.
Have students pick one of their favorite questions they asked. On their own, students are encouraged to try to answer this question. Research shows that students who physically experience scientific concepts (e.g. by answering their own questions) understand the concepts more deeply and score better on science tests.
Physical Experience Enhances Science Learning, Carly Kontra, Daniel J. Lyons, Susan M. Fischer. Psychological Science, April 24, 2015.
Ok — we made this word up, but it says it all. It’s no fun to keep all your discoveries to yourself, and this last step encourages kids to talk, tell, and dazzle (tazzle) others with what they’ve learned. Over the last decades, research has demonstrated that CL (collaborative learning) can promote academic and social educational outcomes.
Collaborative learning practices: teacher and student perceived obstacles to effective student collaboration. Ha Le, Jeroen Janssen and Theo Wubbels, Cambridge Journal of Education, Pages 103-122 | Received 28 Feb 2016, Accepted 18 Oct 2016, Published online: 13 Jan 2017.