Keeping a Scientific Journal

Doing science is exciting, fun, and full of big ideas! Why bother with writing when you could be mixing up chemicals, blasting rockets, or shattering laser beams?

Because all your “great ideas” are worth nothing if you can’t tell others about what you’re doing. Scientists write in journals to let others know the latest news with their experiments, announce their new discoveries, or to simply keep track of their progress.

Keeping a science journal doesn’t have to be flashy or fancy, just accurate. Science is already hard enough without the added chaos of not knowing what you did yesterday. I’m going to show you the three easy steps to keeping a journal.

You don’t have to write a novel – just keep track of what you’re doing along with any questions that come up. It’s a lot easier to do a couple pages a day for a month rather than trying to pound out a hundred pages in a day! This is something you’re going to use throughout the program doing just a little bit at a time, At the end of the month or year, you’ll be surprised to see how much science you’ve covered!
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78 Responses to “Keeping a Scientific Journal”
  1. Aurora says:

    I don’t have a blank worksheet download, because the size of the table is going to depend on what you’re measuring and which variables you’re changing and how many trials you’re doing. I would use a ruled sheet of paper and draw a box around it when you’re done so you have the perfect size table anytime you need it!

  2. Gi Jewett says:

    Do we have a blank worksheet to add our own finds, but with the same format from one the experiments?

  3. Aurora says:

    There are three of them on this page, but you have to be logged in first. Log out, then log back in. Does that fix it?

  4. Eileen Gregg says:

    I don,t see any videos

  5. Aurora says:

    You’ll find worksheets under the main experiment video in many of the lessons. πŸ™‚

  6. Darlene Janke says:

    I don’t know where to print off the lesson sheets

  7. Aurora says:

    I’ll have my team connect with you right away!

  8. Karilyn Crolius says:

    Hi! I don’t appear to have access to this section on “Keeping a Scientific Journal”. I subscribed to the 9-12 content. Please advise. Thank you.

  9. Melissa Caddell says:

    Hello! I am very new (trying out) supercharged science. I really love a lot of what I am seeing!

    A note on the science journal: when I took college classes in science (and later in lab situations), we ALWAYS wrote our lab journals in pen. It was to maintain integrity in our lab results so that we couldn’t erase and change an answer or result. It is my understanding that this is standard as scientific practice. If you make an error, you draw one clean line through it and then write what you meant. I’m surprised that you recommend writing in pencil, except for maybe the younger grades. But even then, I would still recommend a composition notebook (so that pages cannot be torn out) and pens. :/

  10. Katie Konnick says:

    I’m going into 7th grade, and I’m already learning things I didn’t know existed. I didn’t know astrophysics were a thing until pretty recently. I’ve always loved the idea that something or someone was watching me from another planet, but for now, the idea doesn’t seem plausible. Dad has been helping me with spotting different constellations, but I haven’t really been able to do much else. We just moved to a new house and are still unpacking.

  11. Aurora says:

    Oops! Sorry about that… there was an error in the video player filename so it didn’t come up. Fixed now!

  12. Jennifer Holland says:

    Where is the 1st video?

  13. Adilah Muhammad says:

    boo ya!!!!! its great!

  14. Aurora says:

    Yay! πŸ™‚

    Well, there’s a bridge you can build that uses only a sheet of paper, and then you test how many sheets a single sheet of paper can hold up. It’s called the Barrel Roof experiment.

  15. Aurora says:

    Yes in two places:

    1. under most of the videos in the program, there’s a link to download the worksheets and exercises for that particular experiment.
    2. at the end of each lesson there’s an entire page just for test/quiz questions. Those were the ones originally with the program before I added a whole bunch more experiments to each unit, which is why I suggested option #1 first… otherwise the tests and quizzes would be HUGE in some units. πŸ™‚ And not everyone does every experiment.

    If you really want an all-inclusive set of test questions with a lab practical, I created these on my DVD program, but those are just for the experiments on the DVD.

  16. Jessica Holwick says:

    I was wondering if you offer tests and quizzes?

  17. Yenny Tjan says:

    Thank you Aurora, it worked this time. The speakers were up last time, I was able to listen to the first two videos πŸ™‚

    Can you suggest any experiment to answer how much weight a piece of paper can carry? Will I be able to find it under Force section? Thank you.

  18. Aurora says:

    The audio is playing fine over here. Did you turn your speakers up? (Sorry to sound obvious…) What happens if you try a different computer?

  19. Yenny Tjan says:

    Hello, I could not hear the audio on the last video. The first two was fine. Please help. Thank you.

  20. Aurora says:

    Yes, I totally understand. That’s why I am here to help! Just fire away any questions you have. πŸ™‚

  21. Rachel Schaus says:

    hi! I like science but sometimes it is cofusing.


  22. Aurora says:

    If you think that would be helpful, then yes. If you’re doing the HS section (like AP Physics) then YES!!!

  23. Carrie Grant says:

    Hi Aurora,
    I was wondering if i should also take notes for the lessons.

  24. Carrie Grant says:

    Ok, thanks!

  25. Aurora says:

    Nope… you can do the program as you see fit. There’s no “science journal police” that will visit you. πŸ™‚

    That said, it is an excellent idea to get into the habit of learning how to write down observations and formulate questions, which is one of the main goals of journaling. If writing or drawing isn’t your thing, you can do it on video or audio… just make it work for you so that you can learn how to communicate your great ideas with others in a way that they can understand so they can work with you!

  26. Aurora says:

    Hi Tristen! I am so happy you’re enjoying the classes! πŸ™‚ Keep in touch!

  27. Aurora says:

    Hi Talitha!

    Which materials are you looking for?

  28. Carrie Grant says:

    Hi Aurora,
    Is it absolutely necessary for me to keep a science journal?

  29. Talitha Mosley says:

    hi aurora, my name is Tristen and im 13 years old. I really like your class and you make it seem very easy

  30. Talitha Mosley says:

    Hi Aurora my name is Talitha and i really like this site iam 11 and where do you get the hard to find materiels

  31. Aurora says:

    I know it’s a little confusing! The experiments we put in the grade areas are as defined by what should be covered by a certain year of school according to the standards set aside, but every state and sometimes even district differ in what they think should be covered when, and since our program serves students worldwide, it’s a problem!

    So here’s what we’ve done: we’ve placed the experiments by grade level according to general state/national US standards, and not based on the skill level required to complete the experiment. This is just for folks that are following the state standards and need to cover specific topics each year, like public school teachers.

    If you already know which topic you want to study, then go straight to that topic itself (in the nav bar near the top) and you’ll get ALL the experiments in that topic level, not just the ones that state standards specify you should do. Note however that there are experiments that really aren’t for younger kids, so the ones that require a higher level of skill are marked with this “this experiment is for advanced students”.

    I hope this helps!

  32. Jessica Kemeny says:

    Hi, I was looking at what subjects you put under certain grades. I have a 13 year old daughter who would like to go in depth on biology of the human body, but it is listed under 5th grade. Is it recommended for her to just do the course, or do you have more advanced pieces she could work in?

  33. says:

    Hi, i’m 13 and i thought this was a great way to make your science notebook look neat and easy! THANKS!:)

  34. Aurora says:

    That’s so funny that you asked… did you know that the e-Science program started out as my own personal blog to keep track of all the experiments I had rattling around in my head so I wouldn’t forget any? πŸ™‚ I can’t believe how many I had stored in my head, and they aren’t all out yet!

  35. Aurora says:

    Interesting idea. I’ll pass it along to my team.

    In the meantime: when people talk about topographical stuff, they usually are referring to the history of a place as it’s changed over time, such as “The valley’s topology has been shaped by the glaciers.”

    Does that help?

  36. Christophe Landa says:

    Maybe you should have a page for random questions like what topological means.

    Thanks again,
    – Jasmine

  37. Christophe Landa says:

    I know this is way off topic and I should ask somewhere else but , How do you come up with all the experiments?!

    – Jasmine

  38. Marie Rossel says:


  39. Aurora says:

    Do you mean, where can you purchase them, or where are they located on a rocket itself? Here’s something that can help with the second question: solid rockets have their engines at the bottom (where the fire comes out). I’m putting together a dozen or so rocketry projects that will be available soon!

  40. Shelene Taylor says:

    were are the engenes of a rockets

  41. Angie McKelvey says:

    Thanks! I look forward to it!

  42. Aurora says:

    Yes, currently you do have to go back to the main Study Units page to access a different unit. The happy news is that we’ve just finished upgrading the site, so it should be a lot zippier for you!

  43. Angie McKelvey says:

    I mean like all the topic page for magnetism for example. Thanks.

  44. Aurora says:

    By “main area” do you mean the study units where they are all listed out, or do you mean the main topic page, like Magnetism for example, where then you have all the lesson information displayed within Magnetism?

  45. Angie McKelvey says:

    is there a way to get back to the main area of a unit instead of clicking on the study units and choosing your unit all over again to get to the main area?

  46. Jenny Maxwell says:

    Thank you.

  47. Aurora says:

    Yes it does – otherwise how do you know what you are going to test? Keep in mind that not every experiment needs a hypothesis… it’s only the ones that you are trying to figure out answers to a particular question that a hypothesis will help learn your mind and get it focused on exactly what you want to know.

  48. Jenny Maxwell says:

    Hi Aurora!

    I just watched the Scientific Journal video and I was wondering if writing down a hypothesis would help at all?
    Thanks, Lukita (11)

  49. Aurora says:

    Basically, an independent variable is the one you change in your experiment to test the effects. A dependent variable is the one being tested in a scientific experiment.

    The dependent variable is ‘dependent’ on the independent variable. As you change the independent variable, you watch for changes in the dependent variable.

    For example, in the solar race car, we want to find out what what angle the solar cell should be positioned at in order to get the maximum speed for our race car. We change the angle (the independent variable) and record the different speeds that the car moves at. We do the experiment at the same time of day and under the same conditions so it minimizes any errors that might show up.

    Hope this helps!


  50. SB says:

    How do you get a student to truly learn the difference between the independent and dependent variable in any experiment the run across?

  51. Louise Bingham says:

    already did the plasma grape experiment i have always loved robots built lots over the years some pointless some useful so any new ideas for a robot would be great thanks

  52. Aurora says:

    I have TONS… most of which are on the e-Science program! What do YOU like? Robots? Lasers? Rockets? I am sure we can find something for you that will spark your interest… the Plasma Grape is always a good one to start with.

  53. Louise Bingham says:

    Hello Aurora –
    I was wondering what you favorite experiment was?
    That might be suitable for a 13 year old boy.

    Dylan Bingham
    son of louise Bingham

  54. JK says:

    Hi Aurora,
    First I have to say that the way you have laid out this program is incredibly impressive. The most effective thing you have done is to continue building upon previous lessons so that the children do not simply forget what they learned previously. I cannot thank you enough for this. Your study units are wonderful, comprehensive, entertaining, and easy to grasp. I am so frustrated with my fellow home school families who just skip science altogether or do random units on plants and animals. I am raising the last two of five children. They have all been public schooled until two years ago. Science taught in school is boring and random. If schools used your program kids would be engaged and actually learn how the world around them works. How everything is connected. Not only that but we combine History with Science because you have included so many great scientists in your lessons. While studying ancient times we read a book on Archimedes, and we read the story of Isaac Newton because it matched up with Units 1-3. We will continue reading about great scientists as they are mentioned.


  55. Aurora says:

    When I teach science camp, I have 6 year old kids that recorded in their journals – pictures, mostly, drawings, and a few key words. Of course, it’s not as detailed as the upper level students, but it starts them in the habit of writing and recording, and also hones their observational skills. If it stresses your kids out too much, skip it for now or find another way to make it fun and engaging. It’s a great place to start putting down their questions so they can work on finding answers as well.

  56. Heather Hitchcock says:


    I read your response about making the journaling more of a scrapbook venture than a tedious chore. But I’m curious if there is there an age/grade range you recommend starting the science journal? Do you think early elementary kids should start from the get-go, even if it’s just with pasting pictures or drawings, or a parent taking down their narration of the experiment? Or is it better to wait until upper elementary when they can create the journal more independently?

  57. Aurora says:

    Make sure you’re logged in – the videos will pop up as soon as you are. Maybe something goofy happened when you closed the tab?

  58. Marissa Jones says:

    We were watching the science journal videos, the tab was closed out accidentally and now only the lesson comes up with no videos? Where did they go?

  59. Aurora says:

    You can if you like. If not a conclusion, then a recommendation, ah-ha! moment, something you learned, or a question you had answered is a nice way to wrap things up.

  60. Nazliatul Aniza Nordin says:

    Hi Aurora!
    I’m wondering whether you need to record a conclusion for every science experiment recorded in the journal.
    -Dayini, age 12 πŸ™‚

  61. Aurora says:

    Look in Unit 7: Lesson 1

  62. Billy Campbell says:

    What is boson, Aurora? I can’t find an explanation anywhere. πŸ™‚

  63. Laura Stephenson says:

    Thanks Aurora!

    Thank you very much! I have another question for you. What is your favorite thing to do an experiment about? πŸ™‚

    Hannah — Age 10 πŸ˜‰

  64. Aurora says:

    This is from Wiki:

    Topology (from the Greek Ο„ΟŒΟ€ΞΏΟ‚, β€œplace”, and Ξ»ΟŒΞ³ΞΏΟ‚, β€œstudy”) is a major area of mathematics concerned with properties that are preserved under continuous deformations of objects, such as deformations that involve stretching, but no tearing or gluing. It emerged through the development of concepts from geometry and set theory, such as space, dimension, and transformation.

    People that study topology in math study how things stretch and deform, which is used in astrophysics when describing how space-time curves. It’s really weird stuff!

  65. Laura Stephenson says:

    Hey Aurora,

    I have a question for you. What does topological mean? I’m doing an experiment on the Mobius Strip, and I came across that word, topological. I want to put it into my own words. Sorry this is SO off the subject, but do you think you could please help me? Thanks! πŸ˜‰

    Hannah πŸ™‚

  66. Aurora says:

    There’s a number of great dinosaur experiments that you can do, actually! When I was working on the geology and earth science unit for e-Science, I found a ton of cool geology/fossil experiments. Since e-Science does not cover evolution or creation, this unit had to be cut at the end (I tried to keep the experiments that didn’t discuss either one, but then was left with only a small handful of experiments). You can try “Dig It” by Hixson for some cool and inexpensive ideas.

  67. Jennifer Duffey says:

    Hi, my son is 7 and he LOVES dinosaurs, the only trouble is that you can’t really do experiments with dinosaurs. What do you recommend for the dinosaur lovers out there? Should I try and steer him towards experiments? Or perhaps he should keep a scientific journal of dinosaurs, how would you recommend doing that? I don’t know weather to do what he likes or try and show him other things. A little of both is probably better. I would love any advice on fitting dinosaurs into science!


  68. Aurora says:

    Sounds like an odd setting on your computer. Those are PDF files, and you need Adobe Acrobat Reader (available free from the internet) in order to view the files.

  69. Lorie Cripps says:

    Hi Aurora,

    I am having problems pulling up the lesson plans, the syllabus, notes, etc. Every time I click on the blue highlight the Windows Media Center will pop up. Is this correct? If so, how do I navigate through this website? It is not showing me any information to print out.

  70. Lynn Woitalla says:


    I use Firefox on Windows (not technically savvy enough for Linux!) and the links work fine. It must be the Linux/Firefox combo that has an issue.

    I’m going to see if IE is faster for the videos. On Firefox I let the videos run through first and then watch them after they have streamed.

  71. Kevin Bradway says:

    Mozilla support: I have noticed that I have to be in IE to get the printer frendly links on your web site. I prefer Linux to windoz and specifically use Firefox. I also notice it is a lot faster on downloading and loading the videos from your site.

    Are you going to fully support Mozilla in the future?

    Kevin B

  72. Aurora says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    You’re right – documentation for some kids is a chore, while others love it. But it doesn’t have to be anything strict or rigid like filling in the blanks on endless scores of worksheets. You can start your kid off by just doing the experiments to get them excited about doing science at all… and then hand them a notebook to draw their experiments in and paste pictures you’ve taken of them doing the actual experiments. This way, they can explain to others what they were up to. If they ask questions you can’t answer, add those to the journal also and bring it with you to the library when you look stuff up.

    By making it a ‘working book’, it’s much more interesting and engaging to them. I paste in smaller/skinnier parts of the experiment alongside, like a circuit I made, a special light bulb I used, a sensor I created, even a paper airplane that worked really well – just taped right into the book so I have it for future reference. It’s more of a scrapbook for science, I guess, but it works for me! Especially with electricity, it’s handy to have a diagrams (or photo of one) of a circuit so I can peek back at it when I do more advanced stuff. For example, the wiring up of a DPDT switch gets used in the ROV project, laser light show, and other robotic projects.

    When they’re in high school, you can add the more detailed stuff outlined here. As long as your writing is concise and accurate, it doesn’t have to be a mile long – most college lab reports are under 10 pages from start to finish. Most scientists keep separate journals for their great ideas and experiments they’ve done so they can refer to them later and build on their ideas. If your kid’s not a writer, then consider a audio recorder or video camera for capturing the information to ease them into the idea of documenting their progress.

    Does that help? Happy experimenting!

  73. Kathleen Pokorny says:

    Hi Aurora –

    I have a 13 year old who will be in 8th grade. When/how much should he be doing in a science notebook at this point? What do you think of beginning the journals after several months of doing experiments?

    My first priority for my kids is that they have fun in science, so I don’t want to turn it into a chore unnecessarily. But I also want them to learn what they should. I do not need to meet any state legal requirement now, but might want something in the future for sceince documentation as we anticipate college for our kids. On the other hand, I don’t want to keep too many things for a transcript.

    Reading your essays on the science notebook brought back memories of various high school and college chemistry and physics classes. I remember them being somewhat a chore at the time, but now I think of them as having been fun after all.


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