In the days when I grew up, I would have never imagined being able to collect data for science in real-time on a cell phone, but here we are in 2021, with so much technological capability. There have been many changes in science over the past decade including the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which promote more inquiry and investigation. As the standards for science have changed, so have the lessons taking place inside (and outside) of the classroom.
What is the Arduino Science Journal?
The Arduino Science Journal, formerly the Google Science Journal, is a science lab that you can fit into your pocket! This is an application that you can download and use on your smartphone which allows you to gather data in the world around you while creating experiments and organizing observations. There are various ways to add observations into your experiment including text notes, sensor recordings, and photographs.
The accompanying Science Journal website online offers different “Getting Started” activities which help students to learn how to navigate the site and utilize the tools that are available on the app. This includes how to set up experiments, as well as how to add additional external sensors to increase the ability to collect different types of data. There are also four different learning modules offered on the website: light, motion, sound, and electricity.
Each of these modules includes various activities and lesson plans that teachers can use and target different grade levels and age groups. Another feature on the website is a glossary with various terms to help students further understand the lessons and activities. One common thread between all the resources on the website is that the Arduino Science Journal app is utilized in them all!
Which Students is Arduino Science Journal Appropriate For?
The Arduino Science Journal can be used for any age of students, but the target ages are 10 to 18. This age range is your upper elementary school students in fifth grade to your seniors in high school. This app is aligned with the NGSS, so it can be used to support learning in the science classroom. The app can be used to support learning in a variety of subject areas such as physics, math, chemistry, biology, and engineering design.
Over the past year and a half, students, as well as educators, have become more technologically savvy, so this app gives all students the ability to study science in more depth and in the real world, whether it be for their own experiments and inquiries or for class assignments. Although it is recommended for an older grade band, it can still be utilized at any age.
What are the Benefits of an Arduino Science Journal?
One of the major benefits is that you can collect data and record observations in real time. As teachers, we are constantly letting students know how lessons are applicable to the real world. What better way to do so than actually studying real life happenings. Exploration and inquiry are encouraged versus direct instruction. A teacher lecturing students about a topic is far less interesting than figuring it out through personal investigation.
Student choice is important in activities and there is much of that within the Arduino Science Journal. Students are in control of the data they collect, the sensors utilized, and the way to document observations. The app is very user friendly and it is also compatible with Chromebooks which makes it even easier to use in class.
The fact that this can fit right into your pocket and is easy to transport is another benefit of the app. Instead of having to trek outside with a big clipboard, pencil, and tools, it is all with you in your pocket, making it easier for students to explore and gather information and data.
Ways to Use the Arduino Science Journal in Class
The first thing that pops into mind is the scientific method; as teachers, the scientific method has been taught for many years, and it can get very boring for the students. You can spice up your instruction and science activities by incorporating the use of Arduino Science Journal into your plans as students can collect data and view results in real-time, and then extend their learning by analyzing the results. The scientific method is woven throughout science, so developing a strong understanding of it is important in helping students to succeed.
Another way to utilize the Arduino Science Journal is to simply enhance your lesson with it! Since this app is housed on your cell phone, you can bring it with you everywhere and use the app to store and collect observations instead of paper or pencil and be more like a “real scientist.” This allows students to be creative and explore the world around them.
A great way to use this app in class is to have students compare their results with one another. When students take ownership of their learning and investigation, it makes it more appealing to them to discuss findings and results with their peers. This type of collaboration is great in preparing students for the real world and group projects with classmates and even co-workers.
The possibilities are endless, and the more you delve into using the Arduino Science Journal, the more knowledge you can pass onto your students about it. This is a great way to supplement your science instruction and get students excited about learning. The past year and a half has been so difficult, and so many students are thirsty to learn.
As Jonah Lehrer stated, “Every brilliant experiment, like every great work of art, starts with an act of imagination.” The Arduino Science Journal allows students to embrace their imagination and put their theories and hypotheses to the test!