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

Now Accepting Submissions for Volume 1!

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 March 2018
Conduct peer review: within two weeks of receiving articles
Announcement of accepted articles: March/April 2018
Publication of volume 1: May/June 2018

How to Submit:

Step 1: Connect with the Findings Team
Let us know that you plan to submit student work. Send a short email to Meggie at that includes an approximate timeframe for submission (for example, "some time in the Fall") around how many articles your class will submit, and whether you would like to be connected with a group of teachers who are also working towards producing articles with their students.

Step 2: Conduct your investigation and write about your findings
See the Teacher Resources section below for support in designing and carrying out investigations and formal science writing.

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

Step 3: In class student review
Have students review their own work using the attached NGSS-aligned, student-friendly rubrics. Note: In order to make sure students meet the requirements for submission, it is recommended that students see these forms at the start of their project.

Step 4: Teacher review
Use the attached NGSS-aligned teacher rubric to score each article. If a student scores a 15 or higher, it may be recommended for submission. To recommend an article for submission, add the code TRR (teacher reviewed and recommended) at the end of the title when submitting the article.

Step 5: Peer review
Peer review is a required part of submitting to the student journal. First, students will post their own work to the Vital Signs project bank. ALL student articles may be posted, not just teacher recommendations. All articles should be labelled with Findings at the beginning of the title. Teacher recommended articles need to include the code “TRR” after the title.

Step-by-step instructions for posting articles to the project bank are included in the "How to Submit" student handout attached below.

Once articles are posted, the Vital Signs team will contact you with a list of articles from a different class for peer review. Divide these articles among your students. Give students the attached Peer Review Feedback form and have them use the provided rubrics to determine whether the article may be recommended for submission. Students will post their decision (recommended or not recommended) along with comments from the feedback form in the comments section of the article post. Please plan to complete peer review within two weeks of receiving your list of articles.

Step 6: Editorial board review
Any article that has been recommended by a teacher (indicated by TRR in the title) AND 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 provided rubrics 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 the early spring.

Teacher Resources:

Formal Science Writing
For support with formal science writing, see the resources linked below:
Science Article Overview and Checklist
Introduction to Science Articles
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)