To Each Its Own
Students draw and describe one item from a set of similar objects (such as leaves or shells), then play a matching game in which they pair the objects to the notes their classmates made. This introductory activity gives students practice creating accurate, data-rich journal entries through the lens of a game. It is a great confidence builder for students who might be insecure about writing or drawing—they are (pleasantly) surprised when they see a classmate successfully use their notes to match their leaf or rock to their journal entry. This approach reframes drawing and journaling as tools used to communicate information rather than as means of producing something that “looks good.” The discussion afterward helps students notice different approaches to recording observations and information. In the process, students learn new strategies for journaling and practice producing scientific text.