Scientific Discovery with Science Journal by Google
News on August 05 2019
Take full advantage of the sophisticated sensors found in mobile devices — paired with the free app Science Journal by Google — and take scientific investigation outside the classroom. Between the portability of mobile devices, and the ease of use of this app, students will gain a sense of freedom to explore the world around them. Why do different sources of light cast different shadows? How much G-force do you experience on your favorite ride? How loud is a busy street versus your classroom? These are just some of the questions your students can investigate using Science Journal.
Students can use the Science Journal app on mobile devices like iPads, smartphones, and even most Chromebooks. Such devices have a number of internal sensors like the following:
External sensors can also be connected wirelessly using Bluetooth.
Using the Science Journal app
Science Journal has a wide range of experiments that are preloaded in the app and therefore can be accessed from anywhere. To navigate to the experiments and activities while in the app, simply click on the hamburger menu (that looks like three horizontal lines) on the left hand side and locate the option for Experiments.
The experiments will open in a browser tab. They are classified by level, equipment needed, author, duration, and features such as if they can be done in the classroom, outside or at home. Simply click on the Browse button and select the filters which are most appropriate for your class.
After finding an experiment, guide your students to the appropriate page and instruct them to click on the plus sign in the app to begin setting up their investigation. The sensor button is where students will go to collect data using the applicable internal or external sensors. Students will select which sensors they will need and then begin recording their data.
To capture data, students simply open a new trial and click the record button. It is also possible to set “triggers” to either alert, make a note, or start/stop recording once a data threshold has been met. Find this option when you click the three-dot menu that’s to the right of the sensor name.
While recording data, students can also add written observations and photos to the app. This can help them better identify certain phenomena during the data collection process. All experiment data can be saved in Google Drive and can therefore easily integrate with Google Classroom.
A great tool for inquiry-based learning
One pedagogical benefit of using Science Journal is the freedom that the inquiry-based learning framework allows your students. The process of rolling it out is as easy as having students download the app and sign in. Going through the Getting Started with Science Journal tutorial will ensure that everyone is correctly collecting their data.
As with all other Google apps, there is a forum where you can search FAQs and see how other teachers are using Science Journal. After they get their bearings, the straightforward layout of the experiments will encourage your students to make discoveries on their own. So, give Science Journal a try and see your students’ creativity sparked as they explore the world around them!