Recording observations are something I usually stress when we talk about Interactive STEM Notebooks, but getting students to collect that qualitative data is really important regardless if you use them in your classroom or not. When students are starting out with design challenges and don’t really have a handle on what they should be testing and measuring, so getting them to capture their observations is key. Observations are a great way to ease students into collecting data because making an observation is easy, You just write down what you see.
We all know that if we told students to do just that (“Just write down what you see.”), that some/most of those “observations” would be pretty interesting and likely not related to the project at hand. So, providing a guide to help students understand what makes a good observation (and a not so good observation) helps them see the difference.