Science notebooks : improving students' conceptual understanding and scientific practices
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The objective of this study was to determine if using science notebooks improved students' understandings of science content. Secondary considerations included whether or not science notebooks versus commercial worksheets impacted students' scientific practices and communication skills. This study contained two treatment phases. In the first phase, students used commercial textbooks and worksheets in an Earth Science Unit. During the second phase of the study student science notebooks were introduced and replaced the commercial worksheets during a Physical Science Unit. At the beginning and end of both phases of the study, a student pre and post-test were administered in each content area. Throughout both phases, a variety of formative assessments such as lab reports, concept maps, assessment probes, and other assignments were implemented and evaluated. As a result of this study, it was concluded that student science notebooks did improve students' conceptual understandings. Formative and summative assessments indicated use of science notebooks led to quantifiable growth in conceptual understandings, scientific practices, and communications skills.