Enhancing High School Chemistry Class with Doodle Notes

High school chemistry classes can often be challenging for students due to the complex nature of the subject. However, an innovative and effective teaching tool that benefits both teachers and students is the use of doodle notes. Doodle notes combine visual learning with traditional note-taking, making it a powerful method for comprehending and retaining complex information. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of using doodle notes in high school chemistry classes and offer tips on how to implement them effectively.

Benefits of Using Doodle Notes with Your Students

Visual Learning Aids Understanding: One of the primary advantages of using doodle notes in chemistry class is that they engage students’ visual learning skills. Complex chemical concepts, formulas, and equations can be better understood when they are visually represented. Doodle notes allow students to create diagrams, flowcharts, and illustrations that help them visualize abstract ideas. For example, drawing the structure of an atom or a chemical reaction pathway can make these concepts more accessible and memorable. Doodling while learning forms a connection between left brain and right brain communication and enhances learning. “Cross-Brain” learning has many benefits for the student, including:

  • Increased Memory and Focus
  • Attention and Better Retention of Material
  • Alertness, Concentration, Engagement, & Retention
  • Reduces Daydreaming So it seems those of us that were the doodlers in class had it right all along!

Encourages Active Participation: Doodle notes encourage students to actively engage with the material. Rather than merely copying text from a screen or a textbook, students are encouraged to summarize information in their own words and create visual representations of the content. This active involvement in note-taking promotes better comprehension and retention.

Personalization and Creativity: Doodle notes provide students with the opportunity to personalize their learning experience. Students can use colors, symbols, and creative designs to represent different concepts or highlight key points. This freedom to express themselves through doodling can make the learning process more enjoyable and memorable. Moreover, I’ve found that students often use their Doodle Notes as a reference later on!

Review and Study Aid: Doodle notes serve as excellent review and study aids. When it’s time to study for exams or quizzes, students can revisit their doodle notes. The visual cues and illustrations help them recall information more effectively than traditional text-based notes. Plus, the process of creating doodle notes initially helps with encoding information into long-term memory.

Tips for Implementing Doodle Notes in High School Chemistry: Now that we’ve explored the benefits, let’s discuss how to effectively implement doodle notes in your high school chemistry class:

  • Provide Structured Templates: Create or provide structured doodle note templates that guide students on how to organize their notes. Include sections for important concepts, visual representations, and summaries. Go through your lesson as normal—with normal note-taking (Cornell type notes, cloze notes, etc.) Then, have students “transcribe” their notes onto their doodle notes as you monitor for concept understanding.

  • Incorporate Interactive Activities: Integrate hands-on activities and experiments that complement the doodle note-taking process. For example, perform chemical reactions in the lab and then have students create doodle notes to summarize their findings.

  • Encourage Collaboration: Foster a collaborative learning environment where students can share their doodle notes with peers. This allows them to learn from each other and see different visual representations of the same concepts. Have students work in pairs where partners work together and discuss how to complete the notes. Conversation about how to go about completing their notes adds the verbal component of doodle notes. You will have to be a little flexible on this one—you may not always get what you are looking for.

  • Add a Verbal Component: According to research, the best way to get all of the benefits of doodle notes is to add a verbal component. You can achieve this by using the doodle notes as the student’s notes for your lesson. I don’t even call them “Doodle Notes”. I just hand out their “notes”. Use an Elmo or some other way of projecting your completed doodle notes—just for a few moments—you don’t want to restrict student’s creativity. For some students this will be like giving them permission to doodle! Then, project the blank doodle note that is handed out to students, and refer to it throughout the lesson. Then lecture, teach, demonstrate as normal, and fill in the notes as you go. Students will doodle on their notes, but will also be focused on what you are teaching.

  • Use Doodle Notes for Review: Doodle notes can also be used for review, a graphic organizer, or study guide prior to tests. Have students complete their doodle notes as a review, pulling together information from notes or texts into one place.

  • Assess Doodle Notes: Assess the quality of doodle notes periodically as part of the grading process. This encourages students to put effort into creating meaningful and accurate visual representations.

Regardless of how you implement doodle notes, ensure they are more than just a coloring activity. Give students time to complete the notes, and like any other lesson—wrap it up and finish the lesson. Many times students will come back to the next class showing off their doodle notes with pride in their awesome creation that they have completed! And, as an added benefit, they love referring to their notes—ready to pull them out when needed! And that’s a valuable one, as we are always trying to get students to refer to their notes!

Doodle notes can be a game-changer in high school chemistry classes. They harness the power of visual learning, promote active engagement, and allow students to personalize their learning experience. By implementing doodle notes effectively, educators can enhance the comprehension and retention of complex chemical concepts while making the learning process more enjoyable for their students. There is not a right or wrong way to use doodle notes. You may need to experiment in order to find what fits best for you.

Give doodle notes a try in your next chemistry lesson and witness the positive impact they can have on your classroom.
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