Inside: Science journaling, for those science junkies who teach or just love anything related to science is a rewarding activity. It’s great for adults but it is also a rewarding activity for kids. Both adults and kids can improve their science literacy skills by actively recording their ideas and thoughts about the world around them. *This post contains affiliate links. If you click I might make some coffee money but at no extra cost to you.
Science journaling, for those science junkies who teach or just love anything related to science is a rewarding activity. Its great for adults but it is also a rewarding activity for kids. Science journaling is a great way to get kids to think scientifically. Having a place to write down questions they have; abstract concepts they get exposed to in school or their reading and recording what they find in nature is a perfect way to improve their science literacy. Journaling is a powerful self-help tool that is gaining popularity. You can purchase a variety of journals online from stores such as Amazon as well as in bookshops. Coaches and therapists also use journaling to help clients. It is also incredibly easy to journal on your own in just a plain notebook. However, all journaling has one thing in common and that is writing.
So how can you journal if you hate writing?
Draw Pictures when Science Journaling
From simple to elaborate, any kind of picture that expresses your emotions and situation will help. Science journaling lends itself well to drawn pictures. Bring your journal on your walk. Draw that unusual butterfly you’ve never seen before. After you’ve drawn the picture you can label and annotate it. Back at home, you can use that picture to identify the creature using on line resources or field book. If you leave a blank page opposite your drawing then you can come back and review it at a later date and jot down any additional thoughts, emotions and responses. Quite often this simple method will actually get you writing quickly.
Why not try using different types of pens or pencils to make your journaling more interesting and exciting? Pencil sketches make great science diagrams for labelling. Drawings of animals seen on a nature walk will likely need some color for later identification. Amazon has some no bleed pen options and sketching pencils to add pizzazz and color to your journal.
Doodling in Your Science Journal
Stuck about what to write? Doodling gets your mind off of writing but gets you creating. Draw whatever comes to mind. Doodling is also a great way to add creative short forms into your writing process. Arrows point to important facts. Balloons can surround cool quotes you’ve discovered or important thoughts you’ve had that you want to highlight. Doodling is not just for bored school kids anymore. Think of it as creative and useful graffiti on your pages.
Iphones and android phones take amazing pictures these days. Many printers can provide some pretty amazing photos on demand. There are a huge variety of options including printers with paper/ink combos costing about .50c per photo. Adding photos with the details of when and where and time they were taken is easily accomplished.
If you love instant cameras, there are some great options as well. Check out this page from Amazon that gives some great recommendations. Some of them include a spot to add picture details. And the pictures are..well..instant. Take care with this option, however, if you choose it. Instant film does not come cheap.
If you are journaling about a problem, then you might consider using a diagram such as a mind map or decision tree. Diagrams are powerful because they are visual and help you to see patterns and connections more easily. They are a great way to exercise scientific thinking. If you are trying to make a decision, then you can illustrate the different outcomes and results to help you formulate the best decision. Adding in color not only makes them more attractive but can highlight connections.
Use Science Journaling Prompts
Using a simple prompt such as a word or question can help break the blank page syndrome and inspire you to unburden yourself onto the empty page in front of you. It’s important that you don’t feel that you have to write a lot or even in full sentences. The journal and act of journaling has to relate to your needs at that moment in time and this will vary day to day.
You could consider purchasing a journal designed for the specific use you need. There are lots of weight loss, gratitude, happiness and other journals available. I even found a journal for bee keepers. All of these can be adapted for a science angle. Many of these will include prompts and recording methods that don’t require lots of writing.
Create a Collage
Get some magazines or newspapers and cut out words, phrases, paragraphs or even articles that relate to your situation or emotions at that particular point. Add in pictures that you find that could demonstrate how you are feeling or want to feel. Again you can annotate it to make it truly personal. Leave a blank page so that you can revisit and review it at a later time and add in additional journaling.
For some easy ways to start journaling, print out one from my resource library.
While writing using a pen and paper is probably the most powerful method of journaling you can also use dictation software such as Dragon. You’ll need the software and a computer with a microphone to use this method. It may be easier to start your journaling journey by speaking to the computer and imagining you are talking to a friend or just yourself. The software will ‘write’ what you say and you can save the document so that you can review it later.
You may decide to keep your journal electronically in which case you can review it and add in later thoughts and feelings by typing or dictating through the speech recognition software. Or you may decide to print it out and keep it in a binder. If you do print it out, then you have the opportunity to embellish it or make additional notes on the hard copy.
Birding and Wildlife Science Journaling
You can add the observations you make about birds or animals you find on your walks to online data bases. Actual photographs are often useful in this case. As well, most of these sites want the date and places you saw the creature. Journaling is perfect for keeping track of that information. By the way, you can find the bird watching record sheet below in my free Resource Library. You can join my resource library free here.
Journaling does not have to be undertaken every day for a set period of time if that does not suit you. Many people journal every day for 20 minutes as that is the method that suits them best. However, it may be that once a week is enough.
Alternatively, you may decide that you will journal when you feel you need it. Some days it may be that you choose to use a prompt or picture to kick-start your writing. Other days you may find that the words flow and you can write without stopping.
The important points to remember are that the journal is a personal document designed to help you and that it is designed to be used and revised. It’s a living document and there is no right or wrong way to create or use it.