Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

Really Cool Lab Notebooks

Posted on: May 25, 2009

Carbonless Lab NotebookI received an email from a rep from Bedford, Freeman, & Worth Publishing ( with their latest textbooks and a lab notebook that has carbonless copies.  I was intrigued since I’ve not been happy with my use of notebooks (see my post on Pulley Lab).  I really like the idea of the students using lab notebooks, and I do more than enough experiments to make it worth keeping one, but carrying 100 of them home to grade … it just doesn’t happen.

To make my life easier, I’ve created a bunch of mini-labs where they get a handout, answer questions and hand it in by the next day.  This has worked well from a grading point of view, but the students haven’t had to keep a lab notebook anymore, and so I’ve lost the college-level work I’m aiming for.

I think these carbonless copy notebooks may be the answer.  We are going to try them next year.  The students will be required to purchase them at the school store.  They are not inexpensive, the cost to the school is between $9 and $11 each.

Anyone using these?

You can find the link for the publisher here:


11 Responses to "Really Cool Lab Notebooks"

I showed my classes the lab notebooks for next year. The students all thought they were cool and complained that next year’s classes are getting better stuff than them. Kids say the dumbest things. I’m just thrilled about not carting home 100 notebooks.

Is it wrong to be excited about next year when there is only about a week of school left and the whole summer of camp?

I used them for several years when I taught Introductory Physical Science (IPS) in middle school. Worked like a charm. My wife would give one to a student helper to take notes for handicapped students. The student took notes as usual and gave the copy to the handicapped student

Mr. Frankilin,

I would love to hear what your standards were for the IPS lab notebook. Did you create a rubric for the lab notebook or some other explanation for your students and if so, would you be willing to share it?

Update – I’ve now been using these for almost half a year and I love them and so do the kids. They are getting used to the copy pages. The best part is not dealing with notebooks, it lets me give them more labs than before. A surprise benefit is when I had a student tell me he handed in the report and I didn’t have it. I was able to grab his notebook and grade the original. Another told me she handed it in, but it was still incomplete in her notebook. We use them in all four grades and will definitely be using them again next year.

I haveused Hayden McNeil carbonless notebook in my classes as well but I have recently found a less expensive source. Barbakam lab notebooks. Their prices are lower than Hayden McNeil and their notebooks seem a little better quality (laminated covers, nicer carbonless paper).
Their website is They have online store, I now ask my students to purchase the notebooks before the semester. They also accept purchase orders like Hayden McNeil.

Thanks. That is a huge price difference, we pay about $13 for the notebooks, Barbakam has them for around $8. I already sent them an email asking for samples. If they are the same quality, I can’t see a reason not to switch. One of my students with organizational issues lost three lab notebooks. He ended up spending over $50 for the four notebooks he purchased (all within a period of about two weeks).


It is always good to compare – I hope you have a current edition of a Hayden-McNeil notebook. The paper used in both notebooks is the same – it is from Gladfelter Manufacturing in Ohio. In the interest of full disclosure, I actually work with Hayden-McNeil and worked with Agnes Klich-Smith, the president and founder of Barbakam. . If you order in full case allotments, Hayden-McNeil does offer a discount. The returns policy is 100% within one year – no permission required. Barbakam charges a 10% restocking fee and significantly higher shipping. Also, returns must take place within ninety days. I think you should factor those things as well. We’d love to retain you as a customer. We absolutely ship same day – and we do compete. We offer free periodic table charts with aqueous coating for students upon request as well as wall charts. I’m also not sure where the $13 per notebook comes from. Our spiral bound 100-set notebook is $11.95 each net and discounts start from there. Other notebooks are anywhere from $6.95 each net to $10.95 each net, again prior to discount.

I’m happy to answer any questions should you have any. Thanks for reading.

To be fair, the $13 is the cost to our students. After evaluating the notebooks last year, I handed the job of ordering over to our administration. I did not get involved in the cost of shipping or per unit cost after initial evaluation. It’s safe to assume we cover our costs plus shipping in the $13; how much profit is in there I can not say. Since I was not part of the actual purchase, I am ignorant of any discount offered. I am glad Mary brought this up because I would hate to switch based solely on price only to find out my information was incorrect.

I must add that I have been extremely pleased with the lab notebooks. The entire science department has been using the Hayden-McNeil books since September of this year and we all love them, as do the students. I can’t imagine going back to the old style… ever.

I have used notebooks by both companies and I must say I think Barbakam notebooks are better. If the shipping cost is an issue, you could request a shipping quote from both companies and compare. Every penny counts in todays economy. Our students are always greatful when we save them a few dollars.

My name is Agnes Smith, I am the president of Barbakam. I and I would like to correct a few facts about my company’s products and services. Barbakam’s return policy is one year and there is no restocking fee. I ran quotes today on the website of the company Mary Decker works for and our Barbakam website to compare shipping costs and the price per unit on an entire order. Following is what I and anyone else would find doing the same direct comparison online: if, for example a client in San Francisco (random zip code 94103) orders 30 Spiral Bound 50-page Chemistry Notebooks from our Hayden McNeil, their online store calculates a total of $298.50 plus $ 19.59 UPS shipping, which adds up to $318.09 ($10.60 price per unit), Barbakam’s online store at calculates a total for 30 Spiral Bound 50-page Chemistry Notebooks of $225 plus $ 13.69 USPS (the least expensive option), which adds up to $238.69 ($7.95 price per unit). Our clients can choose between UPS and USPS for shipping their orders and we have been offering these two options for years. Additionally, clients who order online at our website also accumulate reward points which can be turned into further discounts on future orders. For bookstores and schools that place orders with purchase orders, we offer 90 days delayed payment.

I certainly agree that “it is always good to compare”, I hope that after correcting a few facts about my company, customers will have a little clearer picture about Barbakam products and services . I hope Mary Decker will agree with me that even though we are competitors, we have one goal in mind – to deliver an affordable product consumers will love.

Thank you

I’m honored that both companies find this an honest enough forum to post their comments and I want to thank both of them. I really hope this post has brought both companies a lot more business, they both have excellent products and I would recommend them without hesitation. I will never go back to a regular lab notebook again.

The choice of which product we will be using next year is out of my hands and in the hands of my department head and our purchasing people. In fact, if I know (which I may not), I do not plan on posting it.

Teachers, I recommend you get a sample, show them to your students and fellow teachers and make a science department decision. Regardless of your choice, you will be so much happier.

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