I am a STEM teacher at heart. Kids leave my classroom loving all things Science, Tech, Engineering and Math. A colleague of mine suggested we introduce some Interactive Notebooks into our Science curriculum so I happily jumped aboard. Until I saw the resources... and cringed.
Interactive Notebooks are great. They are also incredibly time consuming. For grammar instruction, the time in is arguably worth it. The cut and paste activities add a little spice into a subject that is by nature boring. (I am sorry grammar lovers, but it's true!)
STEM lessons scream hands on. To spend an entire lesson cutting and pasting vocabulary words into a journal is a missed opportunity to spark love for learning. While there is absolutely a time and place for the Interactive Notebook resource, please don't let that time and place be Science!
Instead do this:
1. Spend time doing hands on activities
Science is all about systems and process. A student won't truly understand any of this unless they get hands on with the material. The web is exploding with great STEM resources both free and paid. The activities don't have to be elaborate. They can be a quick and simple 20 minute thing or can spam over a week. Either way, the time spent is much more valuable than cutting and pasting words into a notebook.
2. Draw it out
Students should be taking time to diagram things on their own. Instead of cutting and pasting that diagram of flower parts, have your students draw it and label it themselves. This is something a real scientist would do in their real journal anyway. Get your kids used to this.
Talk about a perfect time for a two-fer. Squeeze in some Language Arts time into your science curriculum by having your students journal about their experience. Have them record their observations and thoughts on the lesson you completed. When doing an experiment, follow the Scientific Process. Start by having the class make observations about the topic you are studying. Guide them to form a question to answer. Come up with a good hypothesis to the question. Figure out a process that will guide your experiment. Record any observations and data during the experiment. Analyze the results. And finally have your students write about the outcome.
Interactive Journals are great. But in science, are they really interactive if all you are doing is cutting, pasting and coloring?