Using Discovery Charts and Journals
Discovery Charts: During science experiences, children often collaborate with each other informally However, sometimes you'll want to structure this interaction by using Discovery Charts - lists of "What We Know." Creasing Discovery Charts with children communicates: What we are doing is important enough to write down and remember.
You can use Discovery Charts as a way to begin talking about a topic and to asses s children's current level of understanding and interest. As children explore and experiment, do back to your chart to add new information and correct misconceptions. For instance, you may have written that magnets pick up metal and later learn that there are some metals that magnets don't pick up. When that happens, help children become aware of the discrepancy and rewrite their statement together in a new color.
It's also insightful and great fun to save and reread your charts later in the year, long after work on a topic has been completed. A review like this conveys the value of the information, allows children to reflect on accomplishments, and gives them opportunities to add insights they may have learned since.
Discovery Journals: These booklets give children a place to document their thoughts, record their explorations, and communicate with others. They also provide a permanent, meaningful record that can be shared with families. Older children often work best in individual journals. But with young children, you'll want to keep a class Discovery Journal - one that you add to as a group and that children can also contribute to individually. Entries may consist of drawings with a brief caption or a few dictated comments, group graphs and charts, photographs, and other forms of communication children come up with themselves. Make a separate Discovery Journal for each topic you explore together, asking children to contribute not only to the inside but also to the design of the covers.