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Science Notebooking in Kindergarten

By Ann Zelaya

Science Notebooking can seem a little daunting for the beginning of Kindergarten. I have a lesson that I use in August to practice the concept of observation and notebooking. The lesson is: “Play Dough Color Mix – Yellow, Red, and Blue.”

Each student receives a baggie with two chunks of play dough. I distribute them so each table group has different color combinations. I have them take the dough out of the bag, observe the dough and describe it to a talking buddy. Then I have them draw a model of one dough chunk on the left of the paper and the other on the right. I teach them to label the models by copying the color word for each piece.  Then the fun part, time to mix the dough chunks together. In the middle of the paper I have them draw the new color mixture and again label the color word. I model for them how I can show the movement of mixing by drawing straight and circular lines with arrows. Finally we meet together on the rug and they share their results with their peers. I ask for volunteers to share with the whole class and always get lots of eager speakers.

My students have shown that this lesson does transfer to observing and notebooking other objects. My next lesson is typically an observation of a marshmallow. When they are working on this activity I get questions like “Can I write the word white?” or “Can I write the word circle?” I say, “ Yes, that is labeling your model of a marshmallow observation.”

Beginning science notebooks in kindergarten might seem daunting, but it is worth the effort. I hope this “Classroom Move” is helpful. What moves do you have?

Ann Zelaya is a kindergarten teacher at Sunny Sands Elementary School in Palm Springs Unified School District and a teacher leader in the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative.

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