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Free Tools for Teachers: Google Science Journal

Incorporate the Google Science Journal to flex students’ STEM skills wherever they’re using this free app that brings a science laboratory into their hands.

The Google Science Journal app enables students to both observe and collect data. Built-in sensors already existing in many mobile devices allow students to collect data, do scientific experiments, and see the results through the app’s graph. All of the information is automatically saved in this journal. When first introduced last year, the Google Science Journal was a good tool for scientific measurements of light, motion and sounds. Google has now advanced it to a true digital notebook and the Google Science Journal allows students to record measurements and make notes of their observations, then show the results with a photo.

Where to Start?

Each mobile device presents a slightly different screen for the Google Science Journal, but the toolbar allows students to create a new experiment and name it when they are ready to start. Tapping a purple circle at the bottom of the home screen opens a window and tapping the pencil icon allows the student to name their experiment. The screen has two parts — at the top all measurements, notes, and other information recorded, called the “experiment feed,” will appear; at the bottom students record their notes on the observations they have made. Tools provided on the app allow a photo to be taken, attachment of an image, use of a sensor, or addition of a note.

What Can It Do?

Google Science JournalYoung students had fun just watching the Google Science Journal app screen readings change in a test done by www.Teacherswithapps.com. Jayne Clare reported the students watched to see if the number went up or down when they were by a window or under the table. Sound sensors showed when they talked softly or really loud. Teachers can record how loud their class was when they stepped out of the room. New tools on the Google Science Journal include a magnetometer, a compass, and a linear accelerometer.

Experimental Suggestions

Google has added many new experiments to the app for teachers and students to do through the Google Science Journal. Students can go to an activity site called “Making Science” for a list of activities that use the different senors. Google has also partnered with universities and others such as Science Buddies, New York Hall of Science, and the California Academy of Sciences. Exploratorium, a San Francisco museum, has developed kits of learning activities which can be purchased for use with the Google Science Journal.

The Google Science Journal has become a tool to engage and interest students. It not only makes scientific experiments more exciting, but it allows them to be done anywhere, anytime. Start incorporating this free tool into your classroom today!

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Sue Hamilton

Sue is a Pennsylvania native and graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a B.S. degree in English. She worked as a radio newscaster and newspaper reporter before becoming a paralegal in a small civil law firm. Reading is her passion and Sue is an avid volunteer with her community library.

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