Findings from the Field: A Middle School Journal of Science Research

Findings from the Field is a journal of scientific research produced exclusively by Middle School students. Help us to get this journal off the ground by submitting to the first issue! Participation will elevate student learning through writing about investigations, engage students in a community of student scientists through peer review, and provide an authentic audience for students’ work.

Timeline for Volume 1:

Submit articles for peer review: September 2017 through beginning of May 2018
Conduct peer review: within two weeks of receiving articles
Announcement of accepted articles: late May/early June 2018
Publication of volume 1: June 2018

How to Submit:

Step 1: Conduct an investigation and write about your findings
See the Teacher Resources section below for support in designing and carrying out investigations and formal science writing.

Recommended: Provide students with the article rubric from the beginning to help guide their work. Choose from the student and teacher versions.

Note: Investigations do NOT need to be connected to Vital Signs. Send in your research on any Ecology or Environmental Science topics!

Step 2: Submit articles via the Vital Signs Project Bank
Students will submit their articles by posting to the Project Bank. Review these step-by-step instructions and this video on how to post to the project bank.

Label articles with "Findings" at the beginning of the title.

Step 3: Peer review
Peer review is a required part of submitting to the student journal. Once you have posted your articles, the Vital Signs team will contact you with a list of articles from a different class for peer review. Please plan to complete peer review within two weeks of receiving articles.

  1. Divide the articles among your students.
  2. Students will use the article rubric (student or teacher version) to determine whether the article may be recommended for submission. Recommended: have students use the Peer Review Feedback Form to organize their thoughts and make a determination.
  3. Students will log in to Vital Signs and post their decision (recommended or not recommended) along with an explanation of the decision in the comments section of the article post. Students will need to be logged in to leave their comment.

Step 4: Editorial board review
Any article that has been recommended by a student (indicated in the comment section beneath the posting) will go to the editorial board for review. The editorial board will use the same article rubric to score the articles. Top scoring pieces will be included in Volume 1 of Findings from the Field. Teachers will be notified by the editorial board in late May.

Teacher Resources:

Formal Science Writing
For support with formal science writing, see the resources linked below:
Science Article Outline and Checklist
Overview of a Science Article Minilesson
Writing and Revising an Introduction
Writing and Revising Methods
Writing and Revising Results
Writing and Revising Conclusions and Discussion

If completing a full article is not practical given time limitations, see the Abbreviated Article Format.

Conducting Investigations
Not sure where to start? The units listed below are designed to support authentic investigations that would produce great material for a research article:
Vital Signs Independent Ecology Investigation
Vital Signs Invasive Species and Biodiversity Investigation

Need inspiration or a model for your students?
Check out Volume 0, including articles produced by three pilot classrooms:
Findings from the Field Volume 0

Questions? Reach out to Meggie at

Project Information
Grade Level: 
Middle school (grades 6-8)