Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

Caren Cleckley

Bedford Stuyvesant Outreach, Brooklyn, N.Y.

August 1998


How to Keep a Scientific Journal

Learning Objective: Students will be able to:

Record observations of a living organism over a period of time

Keep a daily journal

Record data and create charts/table from observation [Content Standard Unifying Concepts- Change, constancy, and measurement]

Draw conclusions from the data

Motivation: Each group will get a dish with meal worms (tenebrio) in it. [Teaching Standard A- Select content/adapt curriculum to student needs] Each group will get different instructions about recording their observations. Some groups will talk amongst themselves about their findings, while others will write their findings. Each group will then give a five minute talk on the observations. Discussion should follow concerning the amount of detail given within each group’s presentation.


Elicit from the students reasons for writing things down ie. accuracy, organization, for later interpretation/discussion.

Tell students that keeping a journal is one way scientists record their thoughts, record observations and interpret what they see.

Have students perform “What can a tenebrio teach us about biology?” from the New York State Biology Laboratory Syllabus.

Have students do research on meal worms.

Provide students with a notebook and the meal worms along with the necessary provisions to take home.

Students will keep a journal for the next six weeks recording their observations of their meal worms. [Teaching Standard D- Structure time for extended investigations]

Students will submit their journals at the end of this period, and release their beetles into the wild.



From notes taken in the journal, have students reach conclusions from their written observations about meal worms.


After grading journals, photocopies of various days’ observations will be analyzed by the students for accuracy, organization, etc.


Return to Biology Lesson Plans Menu