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Outline Format For Notes

As an example, let's take a look at Chapter 21, page 714 of the Prentice Hall Earth Explorer's Earth Science textbook (after that I also show an example of outlining a website so keep reading). If we remember to make all the big, blue headings Roman Numerals, the Green subheadings the Letters, and the black paragraphs with purple headings the numbers, then here is what it will look like:

  1. Tools of Modern Astronomy
    1. Electromagnetic Radiation
      1. Patterns in the sky are called constellations. Stars in constellations form shapes that we give names and patterns to.
      2. Types of Electromagnetic Radiation
        1. The light we see is called visible light and light is a form of electromagnetic radiation. That is energy that can travel through space in the form of waves.
        2. Many objects other than light also give off radiation.
      3. The Electromagnetic Spectrum
        1. The distance between the crest of one wave and the crest of another wave is called wavelength. Visible light has short wavelengths, but some electromagnetic waves have even shorter wavelengths and some have longer wavelengths.
        2. Shining white light through a prism shows the spread of all the colors that is called a spectrum. The electromagnetic spectrum includes radio waves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays.
    2. Telescopes
      1. "Most telescopes collect and focus different types of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light." (p. 716)
      2. Visible Light Telescopes
        1. Refracting telescopes uses convex lenses. Convex lenses are curved in the middle so the middle is thicker.
      3. Radio Telescopes
        1. Radio telescopes detect radio waves from objects in space. They have curved, reflecting surfaces which focus radio waves the way a mirror in a reflecting telescope focuses light.
      4. Other Telescopes
        1. There are telescopes that detect infrared radiation, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays.
    3. Observatories
      1. Observatories contain one or more telescopes.
    4. Satellites
      1. Placing telescopes on satellites because the earth's atmosphere blocks much of the radiation used by telescopes. The Hubble Space Telescope is an example.
    5. Spectrographs
      1. "A spectrograph breaks the light from an object into colors and photographs the resulting spectrum." "Astronomers use Spectrographs to get information about starts, including their chemical compositions and temperatures." (p. 719)
      2. Chemical Compositions
        1. Since elements absorb light at different wavelengths, the placements of those lines on the spectrum acts like a fingerprint for elements. That is how astronomers can tell what elements certain stars are composed of.
      3. Temperatures
        1. Most stars have similar chemical compositions but their temperatures differ. Because of this, their spectrums are different depending on the temperature.
  2. Characteristics of Stars
    1. Distance to Stars
      1. I'll summarize galaxy and universe here, from page 723, as well as the info under Distance to Stars. Then I will proceed exactly like I did above for the section. Section 3 will be Roman Numeral III and so on.
      2. This is how an outline looks for notes.


To outline a website takes a little more creativity because websites are not always as neatly separated as textbooks. As an example, let's take the following webpage on identifying rocks. The roman numeral, usually just one, will be the title of the page. It's up to you whether you want to make a second page number two or start over with one. Where there are no subheadings, I just title the paragraph before I begin summarizing it.
  1. Identifying Rocks
    1. Clues
      1. Minerals in rocks provide one clue to the type of rock it is. Other clues are needed to identify the rock.
    2. Identifying Igneous
      1. The position of the minerals is important. In igneous rocks, the minerals are arranged like a jigsaw puzzle.
      2. The specific minerals can also help identify igneous rocks.
      3. The size of the minerals can also help identify certain igneous rocks.
    3. Identifying Sedimentary
      1. Because sedimentary rocks are pieces of sediments cemented together, the minerals do not fit like a jigsaw puzzle.
      2. The biggest clue is if the rock has fossils. Then it has to be sedimentary.
    4. Identifying Metamorphic
      1. In metamorphic rocks, the minerals are arranged in bands and layers. That is from the amazing heat and pressure.
      2. Metamorphic rocks will not have fossils.
    5. Main Ideas
      1. Minerals are important in identifying rocks.