Interactive Science Notebooks

What is an Interactive Science Notebook?

An Interactive Science Notebook (ISN) will be that place that you demonstrate your learning, consolidate your understanding, and create your own study materials. It is a single notebook where you will conduct all of your classwork, labs, and most of your homework. You will be able to see your own progression over the course of this semester just by flipping through the pages of your ISN. Finally, your ISN will be where you express yourself through color, drawings, text features, creativity, analysis, and organization. You might be surprised how attached you get to your ISN!

Your ISN is only for Biology and MUST be brought to class everyday!

What is the structure of the ISN?

ISNs consist of two page spreads. On the right page (the “input” page), you will record most of your classwork in a structure that I dictate. This might look like data from a lab experiment, an article that you annotate, or a set of guided notes. On the left page (the “output” page) you will be responsible for taking all the of the input material and representing it to show me that you understand the “big picture.” For example, you may need to take a set of observations and create a model that describes the underlying process. You may also need to answer some big picture analysis question, write a lab conclusion, or design a procedure to a follow-up experiment.

Each unit will be organized the same way:

  1. The Unit Title Page (Right side, totally colored, think: book cover)

  2. The Unit Connection Page (Two page spread – major unit questions featured front and center. You will be returning to this page after each major lesson and ESPECIALLY during your unit projects)

  3. Lesson Pages (Two page spreads – right page is input, left page is output)

  4. Project pages (Two page spreads – right page is research notes, left page is big picture organization)

How will my ISN be graded?

You ISN will be graded in three ways: individual grades assigned to each major lab, completion grades given to homework assignments, and a holistic grade assigned to the overall notebook.

Individual lab grades will typically be on a Tiered Level system. This means that they will be graded for accuracy and content.

Homework will frequently be completed in the ISN and will be graded on an “all-or-nothing” completion basis.

The overall ISN will be graded holistically (that means: for the “big picture”) through the following rubric:

10 “Totally Awesome”

  • The writing goes beyond the basic requirements and shows in-depth understanding of concepts.
  • The work shows in-depth reflection throughout the learning process.
  • Your notebook has all the components expected, including date and labels on each page.
  • All pages are numbered properly with odd numbers on the right and even numbers on the left.
  • Right- and left- side work is correctly organized with all criteria.
  • The use of color and labeled diagrams enhance understanding.
  • The notebook is so tidy it’s almost “gross!”
9 “Awesome”

  • The writing follows the basic requirements, shows understanding of concepts, but does not go beyond.
  • The work shows in-depth reflection.
  • Your notebook has all the components expected, including date and labels on each page.
  • All pages are numbered properly with odd numbers on the right and even numbers on the left.
  • Right- and left- side work is correctly organized with all criteria.
  • The notebook has color, and the student uses labeled diagrams.
  • A “9” looks much like a “10,” but it lacks the “totally” in “awesome.”
8 “Pretty Darn Good”

  • The written work shows a basic understanding of concepts.
  • An honest reflection, but limited.
  • Your notebook has about 90% of the components expected, with dates and labels.
  • All pages are numbered properly with odd numbers on the right and even numbers on the left.
  • Right- and left-side work is correctly organized.
  • The notebook has some color and diagrams, with a few labels.
  • Some requirements are met, but your notebook lacks criteria in all areas.
7 “Kick it Up a Notch”

  • The written work shows a limited understanding of concepts.
  • Limited reflection overall.
  • Your notebook has about 80% of the components expected, with dates and labels.
  • Most pages are numbered.
  • Right- and left-side work is fairly organized, “just so-so.”
  • The notebook has very little color and hardly any diagrams.
  • Notebook requirements are rarely met.
6 “Better Get Moving”

  • The written work shows misconceptions and a lack of understanding.
  • “Reflection, what reflection?”
  • The pages in your notebook are unfinished.
  • You tried, but the dates and labels did not make it to the page.
  • There are inconsistencies in your right- and left-side entries.
  • The notebook is unorganized, and “the dog ate your pages.”
5 “What Were You Thinking?”

  • Hey, you turned in a notebook, but the pages are blank, or they include the class template only. “Maybe you wrote with invisible ink?”

What do I do if I lose my ISN?

Words of wisdom: Don’t lose your ISN. You are responsible for recreating all of the pages in the current unit that you lost. There will be class templates for each pages posted on the class website in the relevant Unit page, and you should absolutely arrange to come see me during lunch until you have recreated everything you lost. I recommend that you protect your ISN like you would protect your cell phone. 🙂

However, if you DO lose your ISN, here are the pages that start off the notebook, as well as the Unit Table of Contents.

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