20 Output Ideas to Make Your Science Notebooks Sensational!

At Scientific Minds, we love the way science notebooks are multipurpose! They are a study tool, a portfolio of a student’s work, a method of staying organized, an opportunity to be creative, and a place to record the scientific process. This post includes 20 creative output ideas for notebooking and a free editable, downloadable vocabulary fold-it.

One of the most popular notebooking models includes a page of teacher input paired with a page of student output. We can’t keep inputting information without allowing our students to process it. By following all newly introduced content with an opportunity for output, we know we’re providing the processing activities that are critical for learning.

The output pages in notebooks are the ideal place to provide activities that integrate creative expression. The more creative the output assignment, and the more it integrates the arts, the more it strengthens the learning process.

Research has shown that “arts-integrated instruction created greater intrinsic motivation, encouraged learning for understanding, turned what students perceived to be barriers into opportunities to be solved, and motivated students to continue.” DeMoss, K. & Morris, T. (2002).

Encourage your students to use colorful markers or pencils in their output assignments. Color expression and color coding can support the learning process. Doodles and sketches also lead to greater retention, so go ahead and encourage those doodles in the margin! At times you may allow your students to choose their output from a list of approved activities. Other times you will request a specific output.

Here is a list of 20 output activities. Some integrate more creative expression than others, but all provide an opportunity for students to process new material.

  • Concept maps/graphic organizers
  • Labeled illustrations
  • Creative writing, poems (see Creative Writing Prompts for Science)
  • Songs, raps
  • Charts and graphs
  • Fold-its (vocabulary fold-it)
  • Answers to questions
  • Comic strips
  • Reflective writing
  • Investigative conclusions
  • Completed sentence stems
  • A collage of pictures from magazines
  • Photographs taken by the student
  • A script for a skit or role play (One of our most effective and favorite teaching activities is called Role Playing Protein Synthesis. This activity is included in the Biology program).
  • An article written for a news publication
  • A sketch of a new invention
  • A Twitter post that explains a concept in 140 characters or less
  • A travel brochure (think the digestive system or Mars)
  • A hand-written text conversation where one person is explaining the concept to another
  • A script for a television commercial

Here is a downloadable vocabulary fold-it template. It is an excellent student output activity, and the fields are editable, so you can enter new vocabulary words each time you use it.

We hope you gained some great ideas for student output activities!

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