Every science experiment must have a laboratory notebook. At our science fairs, it can be anything from a stapled set of papers to a formal bound journal (such as a composition notebook). This web page will discuss the ideal laboratory notebook. Please come as close as you can.
A Laboratory Notebook is NOT a fancy report. If you choose to document your experiment with a report, that is okay, but it is not the same as your laboratory notebook. A laboratory notebook is something you write in as you do the experiment. It is a place to record everything you do and think as you do the project.
The information for your display at the science fair will come from your notes in your laboratory notebook.
Some general rules (remember this is the perfect example):
- The laboratory notebook should be a bound book, like a composition notebook.
- Pages should NEVER be torn out. If a page or text is a mistake draw a single diagonal line through it, and continue on the next page.
- Writing should be done in pen.
- Mistakes should have a single line drawn through them. They should not be covered with white-out, or black marker.
- Each page should be numbered.
- Each page or section of the page should have the date when the work on that page was done.
- You should initial the bottom of each page or section of the page. If you are a team, then whoever worked on the content for that page or section should initial it. Even though one of you may have actually written the page, if both of you did the work, then both of you should initial the section or page.
- Write down everything in the laboratory notebook; things you think as well as things you do.
- Do not put your names, your teacher's names, nor your school names on the laboratory notebook. You can write this information inside the back cover, and put an index card over it.