Sketchnotes experiment: Day 2 #edBlogaDay

Student Sketchnote
Student Sketchnote

Today we really dived into our gas laws unit. I started today’s lesson by reviewing some basic shapes to help with drawings when using sketchnotes. Mike Rohde outlines these in TheSketchnote Handbook. Almost anything can be drawn in sketchnotes using a rectangle, circle, triangle, line, and dot. We also looked at techniques for drawing people, faces, and type. We created an appendix in our sketchbooks for these techniques. There were a couple of questions about why we were learning art techniques in a science class, but overall, students were really positive.

Before I started the actual lecture on sketchnotes, I reminded students not to worry about the details or information they were really familiar with from the material. Instead, the big idea of sketchnotes is to focus on the big ideas.

When I began going through the lecture section of class, I went rather quickly. Some students were still in the habit of trying to get every word written down. I had to remind them again that they didn’t need to write everything down but rather focus on the big ideas. I was a little worried that perhaps they weren’t getting it, but I should not have been concerned!

I had a chance to go around and check out the student drawings while they were working some practice problems. I was really impressed with what I saw. Most students were really engaged with the information, and their notes looked amazing. I also noticed that some students said they would need to back and finish their notes later because they had details to add. Other students were using the notes handout I passed out near the end of class to supplement the notes they had taken and add in information they had missed. I hope this is a good sign that students will continue to interact with their notes long after class is over.

See the gallery below for all of the awesome student sketchnotes and check out the entire project gallery on Flickr.


By Janelle

Space geek, science nerd extraordinaire. That's me! Want to know more, visit the About page.


  1. As someone who initiates taking notes this way, it is really interesting to me that an entire class was instructed to do so. I can see how some students may have been out of their comfort zone as drawing and taking notes with very few written words can be intimidating. As mentioned, this different technique emphasizes embracing the big picture of the lesson instead of the details making up the concept. I could envision this strategy of notes very effective and beneficial to open up a new unit or chapter. By beginning with an overview and capturing the big picture, students will be able to comprehend and retain the importance of the lesson, which is most often not the small details which are stressed in many classrooms.

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